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- The Cyber Imperative
- Cyber Solutions for 2013 and Beyond
- Expert Voices
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Agencies across government are leveraging digital technologies to both embark on new initiatives and enhance existing ones. The growing adoption of mobile devices, cloud computing technologies and wireless capabilities allows agencies to conduct unique outreach efforts and makes the agencies, themselves, more flexible workplaces. Agency technology officials discussed both issues as part of the Federal News Radio special report, A New Era in Technology.
Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) has issued a subpoena for records from the Office of Personnel Management, seeking more details on the agency's process for conducting background investigations. OPM's Federal Investigative Services division, which conducts 90 percent of the federal government's background investigations, has come under intense scrutiny since it was revealed earlier this year that the same contractor -- United States Investigation Services (USIS) -- performed background checks of both National Security agency leaker Edward Snowden and Navy Yard gunman Aaron Alexis.
Collaboration is the name of the game when it comes to many of the Homeland Security Department's cybersecurity efforts. Doug Maughan, director of DHS' Cybersecurity Division in the department's Science and Technology Directorate, discussed the department's cyber partnerships as part of the Federal News Radio special report, A New Era in Technology.
For Casey Coleman, CIO of the General Services Administration, IT consolidations have netted big savings and allowed the agency to move in a more strategic direction. Meanwhile, Joe Klimavicz, the CIO of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, says wider adoption of shared services can help agencies cut back on operations-and-maintenance IT spending to free up more cash for mission-specific tech initiatives.
The Office of Personnel Management is helping agencies come up with ways to recruit new federal hires from the pipeline of national-service programs, such as the Peace Corps and AmeriCorps. In July, President Barack Obama called for expanding national volunteer opportunities by finding ways to connect the broad network of national and community-service organizations with federal agencies and their missions. As part of that effort, OPM was tasked with coming up with recruiting strategies agencies can use to recruit new hires with past experience in national-service programs.
The troubled HealthCare.gov website has been the subject of at least one attempted but unsuccessful cyber attack, according to one of the of the Homeland Security Department's top cyber officials. Lawmakers at a House Homeland Security Committee hearing said the consolidation of personal information and the glitch-prone website are cause for concern.
A new bill introduced by a trio of Republican senators would end the defined benefit portion of FERS coverage for new federal employees hired within six months of the bill's passage. Sponsors of the bill say the Public-Private Employee Retirement Parity Act would align federal retirement benefits more closely with those earned in the private sector.
A new Congressional Budget Office analysis of proposed deficit-reduction efforts contained half a dozen proposals affecting federal employees, including reducing annual pay raises, requiring federal employees to contribute more toward their pensions and reducing the size of the federal workforce through attrition. All told, such proposals would reduce federal outlays or increase revenues by $308 billion, according to CBO estimates.
Just a week into the job and confronted with signs of the sagging morale of the federal workforce, new Office of Personnel Management Director Katherine Archuleta said she wants to take steps to make sure federal employees feel engaged in their work. Tuesday's annual public meeting of the Chief Human Capital Officers Council focused on ways to improve employee engagement and morale. OPM released its annual Employee Viewpoint Survey last week, revealing continuing declines in federal employees' overall job satisfaction and a sharp drop in satisfaction with their pay.
The oldest federal employees are also the most satisfied and engaged workers, according to the Office of Personnel Management's annual Employee Viewpoint Survey. According to the survey, the pre-Baby Boom generation of federal workers is more likely to believe they are recognized for their service, believe they have sufficient resources and are satisfied with training opportunities. Knowing how satisfaction and engagement shake out across age barriers can be helpful as managers attempt to build back up the battered morale of the federal workforce, OPM said.