Agencies have implemented a vast majority of the recommendations from the Government Accountability Office on how to improve the management of software and reduce duplication across IT investments. A new report from GAO found that out of 392 recommendations made to 33 agencies around federal IT in 2021, agencies had implemented 346 of them. That's 88%. But GAO said recommendations around agency CIOs and IT budgets remain a struggle for many agencies to implement. The report is a result of the Modernizing Government Technology Act, which requires that every two years, GAO review how agencies are managing federal IT procurement and reducing duplicative investments.
Congress is scrutinizing plans for a new FBI headquarters while the current HQ is falling apart. The FBI’s J. Edgar Hoover building is showing its age, as it sports nets around its perimeter keep chunks of concrete from falling off and hitting pedestrians. But parts of the building are also dropping onto employee workspaces and equipment. Nick Dimos, assistant director of the FBI’s Finance and Facilities Division, said the agency has spent $75 million since 2011 to avoid a “catastrophic” breakdown of its water systems. "Pipe bursts and plumbing challenges are commonplace, leading to the damage of FBI space, IT and records,” he said.
Agency leaders are sharing strategies for how to get more feedback from employees. The higher the response rate for the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey, the more accurate picture chief human capital officers get into what their workforce needs. But for many agencies, it is challenging to get more responses. For 2023, FEVS got a 39% response rate across government. But the Department of Housing and Urban Development is one agency well above that average, with 71% of HUD's employees responding to FEVS this year. “One of the areas that we really focus on is the ‘I believe’ — that I believe the results of this survey really are going to make a difference,” Lori Michalski, HUD's chief human capital officer, said.
The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency is continuing its push for commercial services. NGA plans to release a request for proposals for commercial GEOINT data services in January. The agency will make multiple awards. That is according to Vice Adm. Frank Whitworth, the director of NGA. “I wish I could tell you the amount, but let's just say it's significant,” Whitworth said Tuesday during the Defense Department Intelligence Information System (DoDIIS) conference in Portland, Oregon. He said the contracts will provide NGA with commercial object detection, as well as analytics and automation.
A new cyber leader is headed to the White House. The Senate on Tuesday voted 59 to 40 to confirm Harry Coker as the next national cyber director. Coker will serve as principal adviser to President Joe Biden on cybersecurity policy and strategy. The first national cyber director, Chris Inglis, retired earlier this year. Kemba Walden then served as acting national cyber director until mid-November. Coker is a retired Navy officer and former intelligence community official. He served as executive director of the National Security Agency between 2017 and 2019.
Military service will count toward veterans’ family and medical leave eligibility requirements when entering the federal workforce. Reps. Don Beyer (D-Va.), Chrissy Houlahan (D-Pa.) and Don Bacon’s (R-Neb.) amendment expanding access to family and medical leave made it to the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal 2024. Certain military service now meets the definition of service under the Family and Medical Leave Act and will count toward satisfaction of the 12-month probationary period. While the federal government has taken steps to improve paid family leave policies, transitioning to a civilian job in the government has been a challenge for service members.
Two members of Congress are hoping to help ease staffing shortages at the Federal Bureau of Prisons. A bipartisan bill, introduced last week in the House, would grant the Bureau of Prisons direct-hire authority until all prison facilities reach 96% staff capacity. Even if the bill is enacted, it would likely still be a long road to get there. Currently, BOP faces a 40% shortage of correctional officers nationwide.
Federal agencies see 1,200 use cases for artificial intelligence in government, but agencies are putting less than one in five of those ideas into practice. The Office of Personnel Management is using AI to match federal job seekers with recommendations for positions. And the Department of Health and Human Services is using AI chatbots to triage help-desk requests. NASA identified the most AI use cases of any agency, followed by the Commerce Department.
A new report provides both individual developers and large companies with software supply chain security best practices. U.S. security agencies and industry partners’ new guidance focuses on the management of open-source software and software bills of materials (SBOMs). The report dives into recommended best practices for describing, assessing and measuring security practices throughout the software lifecycle. The guidance builds on a June 2023 memo from the Office of Management and Budget that focuses on bolstering supply chain security, including open-source software and SBOMs.