IRS spends about $2B to rebuild workforce, modernize legacy IT systems

In today's Federal Newscast: GSA is taking another step to measure how technology vendors are protecting their supply chains. The Navy moves to shutdown a facil...

  • The General Services Administration is taking another step to measure how technology vendors are protecting their supply chains. Help is coming for agencies to improve how they evaluate and characterize the level of threat to the integrity, trustworthiness and authenticity of a product, service or supplier on the GSA schedules. The Federal Acquisition Service's Office of the IT Category is developing a new questionnaire to ensure vendors are abiding by the requirements of NIST 800-161. GSA wants feedback on this updated supplier assurance questionnaire, which aims to gather pertinent information to help agencies make cybersecurity supply chain risk assessment decisions. Comments on the request for information are due by November 10.
  • The Postal Service tells Congress most rural carriers are no longer waiting on back pay. USPS said more than 50,000 rural letter carriers have been made whole, after a payroll error led to missing and partial paychecks last month. USPS told lawmakers that with “limited exceptions,” it paid carriers what they owed within one or two pay periods. But affected employees told Federal News Network that USPS still hasn’t paid them the correct amounts and that not receiving their paycheck on time led to overdraft fees from their bank. USPS offered impacted employees money orders worth 65% of their gross pay that they would have to pay back once they received their actual paychecks.
    (USPS employees - Federal News network)
  • An envisioned semiconductor research hub is a step closer to becoming a reality. A new board of trustees is set to begin laying the groundwork for the Commerce Department’s National Semiconductor Technology Center (NSTC). The board members include retired Intel CEO Craig Barrett, former Apple executive Robin Abrams and former Under Secretary of Homeland Security for Science and Technology Reggie Brothers. The NSTC will be the core research and development component for Commerce’s CHIPS for America program. The new board members will now begin creating a nonprofit entity to run the center and hire executive leadership.
  • The Navy has taken a big step toward shutting down the facility that has been leaking fuel into water supplies in Hawaii. Officials plan to start removing all of the fuel from the Red Hill bunker today. It will be slowly drained into tanker ships docked at Pearl Harbor over the next three months. But officials said it will take until next spring to remove all the residual fuel from the tanks — each of them are 250 feet tall and 100 feet wide. The Defense Department agreed to decommission Red Hill after a string of legal fights with Hawaii officials over drinking water problems. In the most recent incident, two years ago, more than 6,000 people got sick when jet fuel leaked into their drinking water supply.
  • The IRS has spent about $2 billion in multi-year funds to rebuild its workforce and modernize its legacy IT systems. That is 2.5% percent of the $80 billion it originally received under the Inflation Reduction Act. The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration said the IRS is trying to get to 105,000 employees by 2025. The agency will grow its workforce by about a third, if it meets those hiring goals. But the watchdog said that might be a challenge, since about 26,000 IRS employees are expected to retire or leave the agency in the same period.
    (Snapshot: The IRS’s Inflation Reduction Act Spending Through June 30, 2023 - Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration)
  • A 10-agency assessment of how the government is managing records created by using social media platforms found an inconsistent application of policy and guidelines. The National Archives and Records Administration sought to measure how agencies were complying with a 2014 bulletin and ended up making 12 recommendations. The suggestions focused on a dozen areas including social media training, agency documentation, and permanent and temporary disposition of records. The overarching finding from NARA is agencies should consider dedicating more resources to technology systems that automate records retention of social media records.
  • Financial regulators need to do a better job at making sure staff keep up with the latest technological skills and expertise, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office. Financial institutions are increasingly making use of financial technology (fintech). But GAO found the agencies that oversee the industry don’t have good data on workforce skills related to the fast-moving technology. Those agencies include the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Federal Reserve and the National Credit Union Administration.
  • Telework-eligible employees at the Defense Logistics Agency must be at their assigned worksite at least 60% of their approved work schedule, starting in early November for supervisors and in January for non-supervisors. Additionally, Mondays and Fridays are the only approved regular and recurring telework days. DLA Vice Director Brad Bunn said the change is meant to help mission performance, workforce development and culture. Bunn said with 30% of the agency's workforce having turned over since the start of the pandemic, it's important for new employees to receive in-person mentoring and coaching to help DLA overcome current and future challenges.
  • The Department of the Navy program executive offices (PEO) are gearing up for a busy fiscal 2024, including new efforts to improve employees' workplace experiences. For example, a prototype at PEO-Manpower, Logistics and Business Systems would give the office real-time feedback on applications, letting code be adjusted quickly. PEO Integrated Warfare Systems is utilizing infrastructure as a service to virtualize legacy infrastructure. Several other PEOs are looking at tech horizons to make agile technology updates at scale and to upskill their workforces, while turning to industry to help modernize the department.
    (PEOs make improvements across the Navy - PEO Panel at AFCEA Naval IT Day 2023)

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