Technocrat | March 1, 2019: You’re Hired!

It’s no secret the federal government has a hard time recruiting and retaining professionals in information technology. Federal workers earn 32 percent less compared with those who work in the private sector and, on top of that, the hiring process is infamously slow.

The fact that the government’s workforce is aging (and soon retiring) isn’t helping either. Employees 55 and older outnumber those under 30 by approximately 5 to 1, according to Office of Personnel Management data.

In hopes of improving the current situation, the White House is asking industry for guidance on how agencies should adapt to a more technology-driven workplace. The initiative, which launched on Feb. 26, is led by a cross-agency working group focused on “reskilling.” BGOV’s Chris Cornillie explains more in this week’s exclusive story.

The General Services Administration is one agency that prides itself on being able to attract techies. What’s the secret? Innovation, according to the agency. GSA says its leading initiatives — such as cloud computing and shared services — help lure tech workers from private companies.

In other news, the Trump administration just released its first — but fourth for the U.S. government — National Action Plan for Open Government. The required biennial document received some criticism for not addressing certain aspects of government transparency that the three previous plans did.

Speaking of transparency, the Federal Trade Commission is making an effort to ensure “free and fair competition” among tech companies. The FTC has formed a 17-lawyer tech-savvy task force dedicated to watching for anti-competitive practices.

Don’t miss other important news in federal IT. Keep reading!

DataWorks Summit: Ideas. Insights. Innovation.

DataWorks Summit Washington, DC promises to be the most valuable big data community event for the public sector of the year. We’ve selected 10 breakout sessions that will show you the latest in technology and how others are applying it to achieve mission critical breakthroughs. As an attendee, you’ll hear relevant stories from the Joint Improvised-Threat Defeat Organization, Johns Hopkins University, University of Southern California, DOE Joint Genome Institute, The Ohio State University, and more. Register today.

Get Smart

“The federal government’s difficulties recruiting and retaining employees in high-demand fields, such as information technology, are well documented. Similarly, agencies have struggled to reward and develop high-performing employees or affect their organizational culture.”

—Chris Cornillie, federal market analyst with Bloomberg Government

Read more in this week’s exclusive from Bloomberg Government.

In the Cloud

JEDI Cloud Contract Faces Delays

Oracle’s lawsuit challenging the Defense Department’s $10 billion cloud computing contract and an internal investigation over potential conflicts of interest may delay the deadline for the award. It’s the first time the agency has admitted the contract is facing obstacles. Read more.

Inside the Pentagon’s DEOS Contract

As the JEDI saga continues, the Pentagon and the General Services Administration are preparing to award another multibillion-dollar cloud contract. Officials are reviewing industry feedback to a draft solicitation for the Defense Enterprise Office Solutions contract, or DEOS. Read more.

Beyond Legacy

Tech Transformation Is Happening

The Federal Acquisition Service is one agency that has several major transformational technology efforts in the pipeline this year. FAS is moving to a contract-writing system and has a proof-of-concept pilot of an e-commerce portal planned for the end of 2019. Read more.

Army Looks to Enterprise-as-a-Service

The Army wants to shift from a “government-owned, government-operated” model to “contractor-owned, contractor-operated [on a] government-owned site,” a spokesperson said. It will share more details about plans to roll out enterprise-as-a-service in March. Read more.

Explore How the Government is Leveraging Innovation.

Join BGOV for a free webinar taking an in-depth look at emerging digital strategies in the federal government’s modernization journey. Hear the challenges and opportunities agencies are facing, discover the latest data and spending trends, and learn how you can benchmark your success in the government technology space.

Click here to view our speaker lineup, agenda- and to register.

This free 60-minute webinar will cover:

  • Agencies’ progress in achieving their digital services goals
  • Analysis on the opportunities available in this space
  • How the administration is pivoting its approach to digital services
  • Government reforms that could possibly affect opportunities
  • Congress’s role in promoting digital transformation

Strategy & Leadership

Federal IT Isn’t Behind at These Agencies

The federal government isn’t always lagging on IT, and some agencies have innovative initiatives to prove it. Examples include: The IRS’s recent move to provide wireless, cashless payment options; and the FBI’s solutions center, similar to an in-house Apple store. Read more.

DOD Needs Staff to Hire Cyber Specialists

While the Defense Department finally has the authority and the strategy to speed up its hiring process, the agency still lacks a dedicated staff to recruit and employ information security specialists across the military, Pentagon leaders said. Read more.

Next Tech

Defense Budget Could Fund Space, AI Projects

The Pentagon’s next budget request may include money to create the Space Force, a new military branch to defend U.S. interests in space, as well the funding needed to jump-start an artificial intelligence center and related projects across the department. Read more.

VA, Army Enable Video-Based Health Care

Telemedicine is not a new concept for federal agencies, but the technology is becoming more mobile and more accepted by providers and patients in remote areas. Over the next 10 years, virtual medical visits are forecast to outnumber in-person visits. Read more.

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