Longtime NSA leader retires; GSA names new head of transformation

The National Security Agency’s retention rates of its employees are heads and tails above nearly every other agency and private sector organization, but that doesn’t mean people don’t leave.

And NSA is losing a longtime fed to retirement. Debora Plunkett, NSA’s first senior adviser for equality, retired in January after more than 31 years in government.

According to her LinkedIn page, Plunkett continues to teach cybersecurity at the University of Maryland.

The director of equality was a new role for Plunkett and the agency. Adm. Mike Rogers, NSA director, named her to the position in September 2014, where she focused on developing and overseeing a model to ensure equality in the agency.

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“My focus is on looking at everything from the point at which someone has the potential to become an NSA employee to the point at which they come and decide to leave and everything that might happen in between to focus on maximizing their potential,” Plunkett told Federal News Radio in August. “We also are taking advantage of what we can gain from having a diversity of experiences, views and opinions that come from your ethnicity, your culture, your gender, your race and your orientation.”

Before moving into the new role, Plunkett served as NSA’s director of information assurance, where she led efforts to protect and defend U.S. national security systems.

During her career, she also served as a director on the National Security Council at the White House, where she led the development and coordination of national policy on critical infrastructure protection and cybersecurity issues.

The General Services Administration is giving the charge of transforming its multiple award schedules program to a new leader. Judith Zawatsky is joining the Federal Acquisition Service in a newly created role of MAS Transformation Program Manager, FAS Commissioner Tom Sharpe announced in a Jan. 28 blog post.

Zawatsky is taking a hiatus from her current position as acting deputy assistant commissioner for the Integrated Award Environment (IAE).

“Her duties will include leading the MAS Governance Council, a decision-making body comprised of FAS executives and acquisition professionals tasked with developing a strategic, comprehensive approach to the MAS program,” Sharpe wrote.

GSA has been trying to transform the schedules contract for much of the past five years. Back in 2011, for example, FAS hired 200 people across the country to improve customer service and contracting efforts.

GSA wrote in a 2014 blog post that it wants the schedules to be more flexible for agency buyers, reduce price variability across similar products or services and better understand what agencies are buying through data collection and analysis.

Zawatsky will lead an effort to create “a plain language road map” for non-traditional or new companies to win a schedules contract more easily. She also will oversee the implementation of the Formatted Product Tool (FPT), which GSA expects to automate price comparisons for like items, remove burdensome processes for both vendors and federal buyers, and improve the shopping experience on GSA Advantage!.

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