Public’s trust in government continues decline, survey says

The Partnership for Public Service found that in just one year, trust has dropped 10%.

  • Another survey is indicating that the public’s trust in government is continuing to decline, at less than 25% That’s down more than 10% since about a year ago, the Partnership for Public Service found in its latest survey. Those who believe the federal government is transparent has dropped from 21% to 15%. But there is one positive from the latest survey results, the Partnership said. A majority of the public agrees that an apolitical civil service is critical, and feds should be hired based on merit, not partisan loyalty. The survey results come in light of discussion over the possible return of Schedule F, which tried to make some career federal employees easier to fire at will during the Trump administration.
    (The state of public trust in government 2024 - Partnership for Public Service)
  • The State Department will fill more of its leadership positions with career employees, if a new bill makes it through Congress. The State Department Integrity and Transparency Act requires no fewer than 75% of the department’s assistant secretaries come from its Senior Foreign Service or Senior Executive Service. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) is leading the bill, with backing from Sens. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.). They said other agencies like the Defense Department and the CIA are already following this model for filling leadership positions. The bill would also require the department to submit a report to Congress on the qualifications of nominees for assistant secretary positions. The department is already required to do that for ambassador nominees.
  • The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) is pushing the technology industry to adopt stronger security practices. CISA’s “secure by design” pledge has grown to 140 companies. Released by the agency in May, the pledge includes voluntary cybersecurity commitments, including expanding the use of multifactor authentication and reducing the reliance on default passwords. CISA Senior Adviser Lauren Zabierek said the goal is to get big-tech companies to be accountable for key cybersecurity practices. “We really think that this is such a key moment, because these companies are publicly taking ownership of their customers’ security outcomes,” Zabierek said.
  • The Department of the Air Force has launched a new generative AI tool that will assist airmen, guardians and civilian employees with coding and administrative tasks. The new tool is part of the Dark Saber software platform, an ecosystem where airmen experiment, develop and deploy their own applications and capabilities. The platform will allow the service to better understand practical applications of generative AI, run experiments, take note of problems and gather feedback from airmen and guardians. The service has not committed to any single model or technology vendor since it is too early in the process. The service will leverage this generative AI effort to inform future policy, acquisition and investment decisions.
  • The Defense Innovation Unit has tapped Maj. Gen. Steve Butow, the California Air National Guard commander, as the organization’s military deputy. Butow will be the second general or flag officer to hold the position. He joined the organization in 2015 as the West Coast military lead. Butow will now lead a team of service members in active and reserve components, along with their civilian colleagues, as the organization works to accelerate the adoption of commercial technology across the Defense Department. Maj. Gen. Butow will retain his position as the California Air National Guard commander.
  • The Department of Homeland Security is aiming to reduce its time-to-hire by 10%. But right now, inconsistencies in DHS’ data on time-to-hire make it difficult to accurately record the information. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) recommends that DHS be transparent about any data limitations. And moving forward, DHS plans to update its data collection system by this July. DHS is also looking to change its hiring platform by the end of the year. If DHS makes good on those plans, GAO said it should improve both time-to-hire and the challenges in data reporting.
  • The Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency (DCSA) said a new security rating scorecard will help improve the industrial security process. The scorecard is intended to streamline and simplify the security rating process. That is part of DCSA’s mission to ensure private companies can safeguard classified information. The new rating process was developed in conjunction with an industry working group. It will go into effect starting Oct. 1.
  • A bipartisan bill would require federal agencies to assess the risks of using artificial intelligence tools before deploying them. It is called the PREPARED for AI Act and would require government contracts to include, among other things, safety and security terms for data ownership, civil rights, privacy, and incident reporting. The bill would also require agencies to test and monitor potential risks before, during, and after they buy these tools. Sens. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) are leading the bill, which they say builds on efforts that started under the Advancing American AI Act, which became law in 2022.

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