Satisfaction with TSP at all-time high, Accenture survey shows

It is a significant improvement since a tumultuous launch of a new TSP online platform back in 2022.

  • Satisfaction with the Thrift Savings Plan is at an all-time high, as 93% of TSP participants said they are satisfied with the program, according to the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board. It is a record high since the TSP moved its recordkeeping contract over to Accenture Federal Services. It is also a significant improvement since a tumultuous launch of a new TSP online platform back in 2022. The participant satisfaction scores are based on surveys conducted by Accenture.
    (June 2024 participant activity report - Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board)
  • The Defense Department is trying to right the ship on the next-generation background investigation system. The Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency has an 18-month roadmap to get the National Background Investigation Services program back on track. The software program is years behind schedule and more than $600 million over budget. DCSA Director David Cattler told the House Oversight Committee that he will build a culture of accountability around the NBIS program.“Simply and directly: the delay in fielding NBIS is unacceptable to everyone,” Cattler said during yesterday’s hearing.
  • The Defense Information Systems Agency has identified an opportunity to get out from under an ever growing mound of technical debt. DISA asked for $2 billion for operations and maintenance of technology systems in fiscal 2025. Lt. Gen. Robert Skinner, the director of DISA, said the agency has a lot of motivation to get off legacy network protocols called TDM to reduce that O&M budget. “Two things are happening. Commercial industry is driving us to get off it quicker because what they are telling us is either they will shut it off because they don’t have the capacity or capability to do it, or you will be paying 300, 400, 500% more than what you are paying today,” Skinner said.
  • A new National Guard initiative uses artificial intelligence to predict wildfire hotspots. The initiative called Project Theia is the latest example of how the National Guard is turning to emerging technology to improve its natural disaster responses. The new system standardizes data from a wide range of military air and ground assets and creates a common operating picture. The tool allows the Guard to have a clear depiction of disaster areas and to better track fires. Kenneth McNeill, the National Guard Bureau’s chief information officer, said they want to expand the capability.
  • The defense appropriations bill House members are voting on this week would crack the door ever-so-slightly more open to an experimental budget authority that lets DoD spend money on software development, without worrying about “colors” of money. The bill would let U.S. Cyber Command add part of its Cyber Operations Technology Support spending to DoD’s Software and Digital Technology Pilot programs, sometimes called BA-8. Since the first pilots were approved in 2020, Defense officials have argued the approach is a boon to modern software development, since program offices don’t have to split their funding between R&D, operations and procurement accounts that are often irrelevant to software. Congress has been unwilling to expand the program more broadly until DoD shows clear evidence that the new model produces better results than the traditional one.
    (H.R. 8774 - U.S. House of Representatives )
  • A two-year program to close the early career technology talent gap in government is graduating its first set of students. The U.S. Digital Corps is placing software engineers, product managers, data scientists, designers and cybersecurity experts in career positions across 15 agencies. The General Services Administration, which runs the program, brought in 40 early career technologists in June 2022 as part of this inaugural class. The Digital Corps kicked off its second cohort last July and is preparing for its third cohort of fellows in August, which will see an increase of fellows, including 50 artificial intelligence and AI-enabling fellows hired in support of the AI Talent Surge.
  • A top House lawmaker will soon introduce legislation to build a stronger pipeline of cyber talent. Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mark Green (R-Tenn.) said addressing the national cyber workforce shortage is his top priority this year. During a hearing on the workforce gap Wednesday, lawmakers called for federal agencies to bolster their support for cybersecurity training and education. The CyberSeek Initiative estimates that there are nearly 500,000 open cyber jobs nationwide.
  • Agencies are expected to start internal planning now, ahead of the upcoming 2024 Combined Federal Campaign. The annual campaign collects donations from federal employees to contribute to charities nationally and around the world. This year’s CFC isn’t underway just yet, but the Office of Personnel Management is asking agencies ahead of time to appoint emerging leaders on staff to run their donation drives internally. Agencies should make their selections no later than July 31. The 2024 campaign will begin later this fall.
    (The CFC needs your leadership and teamwork - Office of Personnel Management)
  • The Air Force’s inaugural cohort of warrant officers in IT and cyber career fields is set to graduate this fall. The service wants to expand the program into what Air Force officials call “street to seat,” which will allow the service to bring civilians into these specialized roles quicker. Similarly, the Space Force is also looking at direct commissioning capability from industry, specifically for cyber-related positions, which will provide greater flexibility in hiring. The Air Force announced its plan to bring back warrant officers earlier this year as part of the service’s sweeping plan to “reoptimize for great power competition.”

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