CISA adds new faces to its top leadership team’s cybersecurity division

In today's Federal Newscast: GSA is making it easier for agencies to find Native American companies to contract with, thanks to a new online tool. CISA adds new...

  • The Pentagon is taking steps to tighten access to classified information after highly sensitive data leaks. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is directing military components to ensure they are tracking all personnel who have access to classified information, while also protecting classified facilities with electronic detection technologies. The directive comes after a Pentagon review concluded the Defense Department needs to increase oversight and accountability for how it protects secrets in the wake of the Discord leaks, allegedly by 21-year-old Air National Guardsman Jack Teixeira. Austin is also directing DoD officials to develop a plan for establishing a joint-management office for insider threats and cyber capabilities.
  • As the federal buying season gets underway, the General Services Administration is making it easier for agencies to find Native American companies to contract with. A new tool in its GSA Advantage and e-Buy platforms lets agencies search by product or service and by Native American, Alaskan Native, Native Hawaiian or Tribally owned organization. GSA said the goal of the new tool is to broaden access to products and services provided by Native American-owned entities and to identify current 8(a) status. Native communities also can use this tool to identify other Native American-owned businesses to support intertribal commerce.
  • A collaboration between U.S. Cyber Command and industry, that defends against cyber attacks, will expand its private-sector partnerships. "Under Advisement" is an unclassified program that allows commercial and government partners to collaborate and share technical information on foreign threats. The group is made up of technical experts from the military, and federal employees who are in daily contact with industry through secure chat applications and an invite-only industry forum.
  • The Office of Personnel Management wants agencies to take it up a notch to support federal employees’ mental health and wellness. Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) have traditional offerings to help feds through personal and work-related issues. But OPM is encouraging agencies to offer even more resources, such as fitness classes, health and wellness seminars, suicide prevention trainings and peer support programs. And helping feds' mental health has a ripple effect, too. Jorday Taswell, a personnel research psychologist at OPM said, “These employee wellness services can really help an employee to hone in on those areas and provide them with additional support, which can in turn lead to greater productivity, and help agency employees meet the mission of their agency.”
  • Federal agencies are putting out the ‘help wanted’ sign for private-sector technologists. Several good-government groups are joining up with federal, state and local government agencies to host a virtual forum and job fair next week. The Tech to Gov event is focused on recruiting in-demand tech experts to come work at several agencies, including the IRS, the Agriculture Department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The job fair is being held next Thursday July 13, and is focused on recruiting specifically in the southern U.S. The event builds off a nationwide job fair in January, where more than 50 federal, state and local government agencies participated.
  • The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency has added some new leaders to its cybersecurity division. Andrew Scott will serve as associate director for China Operations. Scott has served in the Central Intelligence Agency and in the White House, most recently as special assistant to the president and senior director for cyber policy. CISA is also bringing David Caroll onboard to serve as associate director for mission engineering. Caroll is a Navy reservist who has worked in a variety of private sector jobs, most recently within Google’s Cloud Engineering unit.
  • Some agencies are putting the brakes on generative AI tools, like ChatGPT. But the National Institute of Standards and Technology is launching a public working group to explore the use of this technology in government. The working group will help NIST develop guidance to address some of the special risks associated with generative AI tools. It will also look at some of the unique opportunities of using generative AI tools within the federal government. Generative AI tools produce content that ranges from text and code, to images, videos and music.
  • Federal interns can look out for plenty of upcoming events from the Office of Personnel Management. Today, OPM is hosting a virtual networking event to create connections among interns working this summer with different agencies. And later this month, OPM will host resiliency workshops and a memo-writing class, along with a national intern day at the end of July with Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. It is all part of OPM's newly launched intern experience program, which is part of more long-term efforts to improve early-career federal hiring.
    (Intern cohort virtual networking event - Office of Personnel Management )

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