NARA’s looming digitization deadline for agencies means the end of paper

The National Archives and Records Administration is preparing agencies for the paper cut.

  • The National Archives and Records Administration is preparing agencies for a looming digitization deadline. Starting on July 1, NARA will stop accepting paper records from agencies. Now, the Archives has a new website detailing the metadata requirements for a wide variety of electronic records. The goal is to ensure agencies are formatting their electronic records correctly ahead of the July 1 deadline. NARA said metadata is a key piece of preserving and providing access to the federal government's records.
  • A new request for proposal from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has raised alarm bells among services contractors. The RFP seeks to recompete a 10-year contract to operate call centers, now in its third year. CMS wants to force bidders to establish union contracts with labor harmony agreements that bar strikes. The contract is now held by Maximus, which has 10,000 employees operating CMS call centers. Industry sources said the contract garners a 95% positive customer satisfaction rating and has had no labor issues. Professional Services Council CEO David Berteau said the labor requirement is unprecedented in such contracts and may violate the National Labor Relations Act. Proposals are due by the end of June.
    (HHS request for proposal has industry up in arms - The Federal Drive with Tom Temin)
  • One of the DoD’s top IT acquisition executives is departing federal service after a long career. Ruth Youngs Lew, the Navy’s program executive officer for digital and enterprise services, said she is retiring at the end of this week. She has led PEO Digital for the past seven years. Before that, as part of a 30-year career, she was the CIO for the Navy’s Pacific Fleet.
    (Retirement after 31 years - Ruth Youngs Lew via LinkedIn)
  • The Office of Personnel Management is working to address a recent spike in fraudulent activity. Several hundred federal employees in OPM’s flexible spending account program, FSAFEDS, are seeing fraudulent charges on their accounts. Scammers have used employees’ personal information to create fake accounts, or make false reimbursement claims. OPM, along with the program’s vendor HealthEquity, are working to secure impacted accounts and implement additional anti-fraud controls. OPM will also reimburse in full any affected employees.
  • Veterans are giving record-high trust scores to the Department of Veterans Affairs, reaching an an all-time high of more than 80%. That is based on feedback from more than 38,000 veterans who received VA services between January and March this year. VA’s current trust scores are 25% higher than when it first conducted its veteran trust survey in 2016. VA Secretary Denis McDonough said the department’s workforce is committed to delivering a high level of care to veterans across all service areas. “We strive to be an agency that fits our programs into veterans’ lives," McDonough said.
  • The State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research plans to invest more in open-source data. INR’s new open-source intelligence strategy calls for the bureau to meet the rising demand for OSINT from State Department employees across the world. “When it comes to the future of OSINT, the stakes could not be higher," Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence and Research Brett Holmgren said in an interview. Holmgren also said INR needs to harness a growing body of open information about world events. And he thinks generative AI could help the bureau sift through all that data to deliver more unclassified intelligence assessments.
  • A massive bipartisan bill is looking to make a lot of changes at the Department of Veterans Affairs. But veteran service organizations said they are concerned the bill does not have enough support to make it through Congress. Top lawmakers from the House and Senate VA Committees are backing the Senator Elizabeth Dole 21st Century Veterans Healthcare and Benefits Improvement Act. But veteran groups said the bill failed to reach a House floor vote before Memorial Day, falling short of expectations. Among its changes, the sweeping bill would give the VA additional pay flexibilities for its workforce. It would also set new requirements for VA to resume the rollout of its new Electronic Health Record.
  • The Pentagon’s Chief Digital and Artificial Intelligence Office (CDAO) is getting four new leaders to help accelerate innovation across the department. Garrett Berntsen will join the organization as the deputy CDAO for mission analytics. Berntsen previously served as the State Department’s first deputy chief data and AI officer, where he stood up the State Department’s Center for Analytics. Eugene Kuznetsov will join the CDAO as the deputy for enterprise platforms and services. Jock Padgett will step into his role as the deputy CDAO for advanced C2 acceleration. Christopher Skaluba will be the CDAO’s executive director.
  • As Election Day approaches, agencies should make sure that any job appointments or awards they give out are free from political influence. In a recent reminder, the Office of Personnel Management details how and where agencies should pay attention to keep within the guidelines. For one, agencies need to get OPM approval before moving a political appointee to a non-political position. It is a practice commonly known as “burrowing.” Agencies also cannot hand out pay bonuses or extra time off to politically appointed senior officials until after January 20, 2025.
  • The Defense Innovation Unit is seeking a cross-domain cloud-based information technology capability to make sense of big data for biodefense purposes. The system will be focused on automating anticipatory analysis for biological and health-related issues while also providing situational awareness for all levels of command. The DIU wants this system to be enabled by artificial intelligence and machine learning. The new technical solutions will work seamlessly with various DoD systems and capabilities, including the Combined Joint All Domain Command and Control initiative. Responses are due by June 7.

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