New chief diversity and inclusion officer headed to State Dept

Zakiya Carr Johnson is a former White House official and former director of State's Race, Ethnicity and Social Inclusion Unit.

  • The State Department has named a new chief diversity and inclusion officer (CDIO), filling a position that has been vacant for 10 months. The job is going to Zakiya Carr Johnson, a former White House official and former director of the department’s Race, Ethnicity and Social Inclusion Unit. Secretary of State Antony Blinken created the CDIO position at the start of his tenure. He said the job is critical to attracting and retaining State Department employees.
  • A Homeland Security board has some major security concerns about one of the government’s biggest technology suppliers. The Cyber Safety Review Board said Microsoft’s security culture needs an overhaul. The board’s latest report found the tech giant had inadequate security practices when suspected Chinese hackers broke into the email accounts of multiple high-level government officials. The report recommends the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency regularly review the security practices of all cloud service providers. And it recommends the government periodically re-evaluate the security of cloud services widely used across agencies.
  • More than a quarter of federal employees are feeling burnout, according to a recent study. A recent Gallup survey of federal employees finds 26% of them feel burned out “very often” or “always” at work. Rob DeSimone, the associate principal of workplace initiatives at Gallup, said that level of burnout can lead to high attrition rates. “When people are burned out, they're much, much more likely to leave their agency," DeSimone said. Gallup identifies five root causes of burnout. Those include unfair treatment at work, unmanageable workloads, unclear communication from managers, lack of manager support and unreasonable time pressure.
  • Health care employees at the Defense Health Agency are getting closer to seeing union representation. After winning a union election in 2022, the American Federation of Government Employees said it is still working through some key steps to set up the new council for DHA. That council will represent up to 45,000 agency workers. The employees are mostly transfers from the Army, Navy and Air Force who were reshuffled into the new agency. Once everything is finalized, DHA will have a national-level collective bargaining agreement along with some smaller chapters to address local issues.
    (Forming DHA council to represent DoD health care workers - American Federation of Government Employees)
  • The office of the Defense Department’s chief information officer will automate the review of zero trust implementation plans. Last year, the DoD CIO’s office received 39 zero trust implementation plans from the military services, defense agencies and combatant commands. It took four months and 35 full-time employees to review the plans. Randy Resnick, the director of the Zero Trust Architecture Program Management Office, said the process needs to be automated this year. The DoD CIO’s office mandated all defense components to submit updated zero trust implementation plans every October.
  • The Pentagon’s first-of-its-kind Commercial Space Integration Strategy synchronizes the department’s efforts to integrate commercial space technologies into its operations. The long-awaited strategy, released by Assistant Secretary of Defense for Space Policy John Plumb, signals the Defense Department's willingness to take military action to protect commercial satellites. The document also calls for integration of commercial space technologies before conflict arises. The new strategy is aligned with the Space Force commercial space strategy, which is set to be released this week.
  • A new bill in the Senate would extend the Department of Homeland Security’s use of a special procurement tool. The BEST Technology for the Homeland Act would extend DHS’ other transaction authority through fiscal 2031. It is currently set to expire at the end of this September. Other transaction agreements are considered more flexible than traditional contracts. The lawmakers behind the legislation want to see DHS use OTAs to acquire more innovative technologies.
  • What is the best way candidates can prepare for a federal interview? The Office of Personnel Management is offering some guidance. OPM will share tips and an in-depth, inside look during a webinar on April 10. The free session is targeting federal job applicants and anyone else who might be interested in joining the federal workforce. During the webinar, experts at OPM will cover different types of federal interviews, common questions and other advice for preparing.
    (Federal interview process webinar - Office of Personnel Management)

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