Key tech, cyber official leaves OMB for GSA

  • A key technology and cyber official is heading to the General Services Administration from the Office of Management and Budget. Eric Mill, who spent the last almost three years as a senior adviser to the federal chief information officer, will become the executive director for cloud strategy in GSA's Technology Transformation Service. In his new role, Mill will lead the agency’s cloud security strategy and help lead the implementation of governmentwide technology initiatives. This is Mill's second stint at GSA. Previously, he spent almost five years as a senior adviser at 18F and with TTS and as the deputy director of Login.gov.
  • The IT shop at the Department of Veterans Affairs is getting employees to stick around longer. The VA hired about a thousand new IT and cybersecurity employees last year. It also reduced its attrition for its tech workforce by nearly 10%. The VA can pay these employees more than most federal agencies can, because of a Special Salary Rate it implemented last summer. But it is also letting employees shift to a four-day workweek. Nathan Tierney is VA’s deputy chief information officer and its chief people officer. He said the department’s "people-first strategy" is paying off. “If we can improve that employee experience, it ultimately leads to better support for the veterans with whom we serve,” Tierney said.
  • After bringing in about 5,000 new recruits, IRS leaders are looking ahead to still thousands of more hires. The agency's human resources office plans to pull out all the stops to make it happen, using direct-hire authority options, hosting and attending recruitment fairs, updating IRS’ social media and communications strategies and much more. It is all part of the IRS' plans to use roughly $60 billion in funding, in part to revamp the agency's workforce. “This incredible workforce that has been with us for many years during very lean times, they need help. I want to tell them: Reinforcements are coming," said Traci DiMartini, the IRS' human capital officer.
  • The Department of Homeland Security is pushing to meet some big customer experience goals. DHS cut the amount of time the public spends filling out official forms and other paperwork by 20 million hours last year, and it is aiming to cut another 10 million hours in fiscal 2024. Dana Chisnell is executive director for customer experience at DHS. “One of the conditions was that each of the forms that came through that initiative must be usability tested,” Chisnell said during a Dec. 19 webinar hosted by the Human Centered Design Center of Excellence. Usability testing refers to formal methods for observing how real users attempt to complete tasks using a form or website. DHS is requiring all of its public information collection requests to go through usability testing before being approved.
  • After months of uncertainty, the military's Joint Staff has a Senate-confirmed chief information officer. As part of numerous confirmations in the Senate recently, David Isaacson was promoted to the rank of lieutenant general and appointed to serve as the Joint Staff CIO. Isaacson previously served as the Joint Staff's director of manpower and personnel. He will replace Lt. Gen. Mary O'Brien, who retired six months ago, and was a leading figure in the Defense Department’s Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2) initiative. Isaacson also served as the chief of staff of the United States Cyber Command and the Army's director of architecture, operations, networks and space.
  • The Transportation Security Administration plans to build on several technology initiatives in 2024. TSA's annual high-impact service provider plan shows the agency will expand its mobile drivers license pilot program from seven to nine states this year. And TSA will also double the number of airports that use facial recognition for Precheck, from five to 10 locations. The agency also plans to roll out a new round-the-clock virtual assistant to help answer customer inquiries.
    (TSA HISP plan for 2024 - Performance.Gov )
  • The Defense Department is looking for a digital platform that will provide a secure and easy way to manage contract files. The Chief Digital and Artificial Intelligence Office wants to find a system that is user-friendly, can be seamlessly integrated with DoD’s existing systems and can be accessed from anywhere at any time. The platform should be able to track contract workflow progress, changes made to contract files and ensure confidentiality of contract documents. The open call may result in project contract awards fulfilled through other transactions for prototype projects. Responses to the open call are due by January 15.
  • Former Postal Service employees still have to heed the agency’s ethics rules. USPS is reminding retirees and former employees they cannot use confidential or non-public USPS information at a new job outside the agency. In some cases, former employees in new, non-postal positions are prohibited from meeting with USPS on certain matters or for a certain period of time. Some former USPS executives have to wait a year before they can communicate with USPS on behalf of a new employer.
  • The Office of Management and Budget is looking to highlight the work of some individual federal employees across government. Feds can nominate their colleagues who they think have made an impact at their agency. Those selected will be featured on Performance.gov. The call for nominations aligns with the first strategy of the President's Management Agenda: strengthening and empowering the federal workforce. Those interested in nominating a fed must fill out a short online survey.

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