Hand-to-phone combat: DoD marches toward social media to battle recruiting crisis

New marketing campaign aims to attract AI, cyber and STEM job seekers.

  • Turning to social media to attract the next generation of talent, the Defense Department is rolling out a new marketing campaign amid a recruiting crisis. The Defense Civilian Personnel Advisory Services recently launched its first social media campaign, called the "discover your future at DoD." It targets young job seekers looking to pursue careers in AI, cyber and STEM, among other career fields. The campaign will run through April on Instagram, LinkedIn, Spotify and Reddit.
  • Federal employee advocates are urging for more guardrails when it comes to agency relocations. Non-profit organization Democracy Forward is petitioning the Office of Personnel Management to create stricter guidelines around any potential agency relocations. The organization said better guardrails would ensure stability, expertise and institutional knowledge at agencies. The petition is a direct response to a handful of agency relocations during the Trump administration that led to major staff attrition. The National Treasury Employees Union has also thrown its weight behind the proposal. The federal union said it would be especially important for any agency to engage with its own workforce before initiating a relocation.
  • When will the Pentagon’s Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification requirements finally come into play? The Pentagon will likely push hard to publish a final CMMC rule this fall, meaning the requirements would start hitting contracts no earlier than next March. That is according to estimates from the Cyber Accreditation Body, a nonprofit that partners with the Defense Department on the CMMC assessment program. The comment period for the proposed CMMC rule closed in February. Once finalized, the rules will require many defense contractors to get their cybersecurity practices certified.
  • The Department of Veteran Affairs is scheduling more medical appointments with veterans at a majority of its facilities. The VA has seen 25,000 more patients so far this fiscal year compared to the same period last year. More than 80% of VA medical centers have done the same. Under Secretary for Health Shereef Elnahal said the VA is looking at ways to keep this growth in appointments sustainable, while managing clinician burnout. “Hopefully a lot of that will stay in place. We have to be mindful of overall staffing, our authorities and our ability to pay things like overtime, and so not all of it will be sustained,” Elnahal said.
  • The number of Thrift Savings Plan participants receiving a full match is once again on the rise. The TSP set yet another record, as now more than 87% of Federal Employee Retirement System participants in the TSP are getting a 5% monthly contribution from the government added to their retirement accounts. TSP officials have credited the increase largely to a recent switch of the automatic enrollment rate from 3% up to 5%. The TSP board said it is looking for ways to encourage even more participants to bump up their contributions to at least 5%.
    (TSP highlights, March 2024 - Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board)
  • Lawmakers are advancing legislation that aims to bolster the security of government facilities. The Senate earlier this month passed the Improving Federal Building Security Act, which would require agencies to respond to recommendations issued by the Federal Protective Service. Agencies would also have to explain why they are rejecting any recommendations. The Government Accountability Office found that agency security offices, between 2017 and 2021, ignored 57% of the facility security recommendations made by the Federal Protective Service.
  • More funding is going into efforts to electrify the federal vehicle fleet. The General Services Administration is putting an additional $25 million into installing electric vehicle charging stations at federal buildings across the country. The funds will go toward installing nearly 800 chargers at more than 30 facilities. The federal government recently ordered more than 58,000 zero-emission vehicles and more than 25,000 charging ports. The Biden administration is calling on agencies to buy only zero-emission vehicles by 2035.
  • The Defense Department's Chief Digital and Artificial Intelligence Office has wrapped up the ninth iteration of its Global Information Dominance Experiment (GIDE 9), which brings together the service branches, combatant commands, the Joint Staff, and allies and partners to deliver capabilities for the Combined Joint All-Domain Command and Control initiative (JADC2) . Organizers said GIDE 9 successfully demonstrated a vendor-agnostic data integration layer for the first time and that the team was also able to experiment with generative AI tools during the exercise.

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