Countdown: cyber legislation, private security contractors

Friday - 10/29/2010, 4:47pm EDT

Federal News Countdown

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On this week's Federal News Countdown:
--Rob Burton, Partner at Venable and former OFPP Deputy Administrator
--Jason Miller, Executive Editor, Federal News Radio

Now, on with the Countdown!

Rob Burton's stories

#3. Average time to hire a new fed cut by 70 days
From FederalNewsRadio.com:

"The average time it takes to hire a new federal employee is down to 110 days from 180 days, but that is still too long for the Office of Personnel Management.

"Nancy Kichak, OPM's assistant director for employee services, said the goal is 80 days and there are several steps the agency is taking to get the average time down further.

"She said many of these changes can be found easily on the USAJobs.gov website.

"But the change that could have a bigger impact is coming in January.

"Kichak said OPM will launch the first of many assessment tools, called USAssess, in early 2011."


#2. Cyber workforce cannot be a zero sum game
From FederalNewsRadio.com:

"To fill key cybersecurity positions, agencies and industry are trading employees like professional sports teams trade players.

"But over time the idea of stealing each other's workforce doesn't address the short or long-term needs for a skilled cyber workforce.

"'It's a good thing to have that interchange between government and industry, but in the end it's a zero sum game,' said Phil Reitinger, the Homeland Security Department's the under secretary of the National Programs and Protections Directorate (NPPD). 'There aren't enough to go around. We have 220 people now, but we will need a heck of a lot more people in the future, and we know others like DoD are hiring. We just don't have enough of those people yet. So we absolutely have to build that end-to-end ecosystem.'

"Reitinger pointed to a recent example of this interchange. DHS brought in Bobbie Stempfley to be the director of the DHS National Cyber Security Division, while Mischel Kwon left DHS to work for RSA, the security division of EMC."


#1. Karzai renews opposition to security firms after meeting
From The Washington Post:

"The confrontation between President Hamid Karzai and the NATO coalition over the fate of private security companies accelerated Monday as Karzai lashed out again about the damaging role the guards play in Afghanistan.

"Karzai has come under intense pressure to back down from his intention to bar private guards from protecting development projects in Afghanistan, including a call from U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, as U.S. officials have warned that the ban could shut down billions of dollars in programs and put thousands of Afghans out of work.

"Behind the scenes, foreign diplomats have been working furiously to forge some face-saving compromise that would allow Karzai to phase out the private security companies over time while not jeopardizing a key component of NATO's counterinsurgency strategy."


Jason Miller's stories

#3. Average time to hire a new fed cut by 70 days
From FederalNewsRadio.com:

"The average time it takes to hire a new federal employee is down to 110 days from 180 days, but that is still too long for the Office of Personnel Management.

"Nancy Kichak, OPM's assistant director for employee services, said the goal is 80 days and there are several steps the agency is taking to get the average time down further.

"She said many of these changes can be found easily on the USAJobs.gov website.

"But the change that could have a bigger impact is coming in January.

"Kichak said OPM will launch the first of many assessment tools, called USAssess, in early 2011."


#2. DOD names new CIO...other changes to DoD CIO office
From FederalNewsRadio.com:

"In a town that has become accustom to long and tangled appointments, this one may go down in the books, but it is officially official this morning: Defense Secretary Robert Gates named Teri Takai to be the Defense Department's chief information officer, ostensibly replacing John Grimes, who retired in April 2009. Takai will start her new job on Nov. 7.

"Takai is widely respected in the state CIO community having served most recently as the CIO for the state of California, where she carried out an enormous consolidation of the state's data centers. Before that, Takai was the Michigan CIO.

"She was first rumored for the DOD CIO post back in February and then officially nominated in March, but that nomination was waylayed - and eventually withdrawn - as Defense officials reinvented the position.


#1. Fate of cyber bills hangs on lame-duck session
From FederalNewsRadio.com:

"As National Cybersecurity Awareness Month comes to a close, the talk on Capitol Hill is once again turning to the consideration and passage of comprehensive legislation to beef up cybersecurity. With Congress slated to return for a lame duck session two weeks after next Tuesday's elections, what are the chances for a cybersecurity bill to be approved before the books close on the 111th Congress in December?