VA earns top honor for medical research

The database Nature Index named the VA one of the Top 10 rising research institutions in North America.

  • The Department of Veterans Affairs has earned a top honor for medical research. The database Nature Index named the VA as one of the top 10 rising research institutions in North America. Time Magazine recently put two VA researchers on its top 100 list, for their breakthroughs studying Long COVID and health equity. Past VA-backed research led to the develop of CAT scans and the first liver transplant.
  • Agencies are getting some help to achieve a key piece of a zero trust cyber architecture. With a deadline looming to encrypt all network traffic across their enterprise, civilian agencies now have a new resource guide to help them achieve that goal. In the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency's new Encrypted Domain Name System (DNS Implementation Guidance), agencies can use a checklist, implementation recommendations and technical references to meet OMB's deadline by the end of fiscal 2024. CISA said the document outlines possible ways to meet the requirements based on the current agency and vendor landscapes as well as the current functionality available in CISA’s Protective DNS. The Office of Management and Budget detailed the requirement to encrypt network traffic in the January 2022 zero trust memo.
  • President Joe Biden has nominated Maj. Gen. Thomas Hensley to lead the Air Force’s information warfare command. If confirmed, Maj. Gen. Hensley will take over for Lt. Gen. Kevin Kennedy. Kennedy has been in this role since 2022. Known as Air Forces Cyber, 16th Air Force provides cyber, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, electronic warfare and information operations capabilities to the service. Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall announced sweeping changes to the service’s structure earlier this year. Air Forces Cyber will be elevated as a standalone component as part of Secretary Kendall’s reoptimization plan.
  • For the first time in four years, federal employee engagement is on the rise. More than two-thirds of agencies either maintained or increased their satisfaction scores in the 2023 Best Places to Work rankings. By comparison, last year's Best Places to Work results had only a quarter of agencies increasing in their overall scores. The Partnership for Public Service released its latest annual list and analysis early Monday morning. One powerful factor affecting agencies’ engagement scores was telework. The Partnership reported that employees who teleworked full-time were more satisfied in their jobs and with their agencies, compared to those feds working on-site at headquarters or in field offices.
  • The U.S. Digital Service and the Office of Personnel Management are ready to take the first step to changing the way agencies hire technology experts. USDS and OPM awarded the first of what is expected to be several awards under the “Tech Hiring Professional Training and Development Program." Consulting firm Mediabarn beat out 59 other competitors to win Phase 3 and $500,000. The company will create a four-month training program for about 30 federal hiring professionals to test out their approach to improve the processes around recruiting, hiring and candidate management. USDS and OPM are looking for agencies to participate in the first cohort to pilot Mediabarn's approach this fall.
  • The departments of Labor and Treasury are creating a new data-sharing partnership to support fraud prevention in states. The agencies will provide access to the Do Not Pay Working System through the Unemployment Insurance Integrity Data Hub. The Do Not Pay Working System provides eligibility verification at no cost to agencies and federally funded state programs. This data sharing partnership is part of how Labor is trying to address concerns by the agency's inspector general, who estimated the Unemployment Insurance program handed out more than $190 billion in improper payments over the last four years.
  • House lawmakers want the Defense Department to establish a Quantum Computing Center of Excellence. The House Armed Services Committee’s draft 2025 defense policy bill would require the Defense Secretary to create the center at one of DoD’s laboratories that have experience in quantum computing and related technologies. The center would focus on transitioning quantum computing technology from the research phase into operational use. It would also help facilitate quantum workforce development for the Defense Department.
  • The Office of Personnel Management is looking to a hire a senior technology leader. On Friday, OPM posted a new job opening on for a chief artificial intelligence officer (CAIO). The person who takes the position will be tasked with leading the secure development and use of AI at OPM. The new CAIO will be in charge of managing the use of AI both internally and externally. OPM is taking applications for the senior-level open role until June 4.
    (Chief AI officer job posting - Office of Personnel Management)

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