Creative Solutions to Close the Cybersecurity Skills Gap

In the last 12 months, more than 769,000 cybersecurity jobs were posted in the United States. Unfortunately, there are not enough trained cyber professionals to meet this need across government and private industry, but the roles need to be filled. A report issued by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) in late 2021 named the cybersecurity skills gap as a leading cause of risk for Federal agencies. To meet this need and risk head-on, the government is coming up with creative ways to fill cyber positions.

Funding Scholarships

The DoD had been looking to set up military-style academies focused on cyber education; however, the direction has shifted in the latest National Defense Authorization Act. The latest proposal recommends establishing a DOD Cyber and Digital Service Academy within existing universities and colleges. This means that students studying certain cyber and digital service disciplines could receive up to five years of tuition and room and board. In exchange, recipients would agree to work for the DoD for the same number of years that they received the scholarship. This is not unprecedented. The National Science Foundation's CyberCorps Scholarship for Service Program has been in place since 2000. It has placed over 4,500 people in government organizations including DoD, the National Security Agency and state and local governments in return for their scholarship. Continue reading

Ensuring Equity in Disaster Response

Equity is highlighted in priority two of the President's Management Agenda (PMA), Delivering Excellent, Equitable, and Secure Federal Services and Customer Experience, and is a theme throughout all PMA priorities. Disaster response is possibly the most critical place to ensure equity. While a disaster does level the playing field in some ways-no matter how much money you have it won't stop a tornado from hitting your house-the recovery from disasters is not as fairly distributed.

A 2021 report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that disaster response is "uneven" across the country. The research found that small towns, rural and tribal areas, and underserved and disadvantaged communities have a hard time accessing federal disaster recovery assistance programs. Those that did access funds had difficulty achieving a full recovery with structures still damaged years later. A key to solving this gap? Data. Continue reading

Facing the Future of Biometrics

With many of us using our faces to "open" our phones, biometric technology has become an everyday consumer technology. Capitalizing on the comfort and ease of use of facial recognition, government agencies are looking to incorporate it (and other biometric methods) into their modern cybersecurity plans and approaches but are realizing implementation in a government setting raises a host of complications.

Interest in facial recognition is strong

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report in August of 2021 that detailed current and planned use of facial recognition technology by federal agencies. In a survey of 24 departments and agencies it found that 18 reported using the technology and 10 reported plans to expand their use of it. Continue reading

Looking Past the Cloud and Into Space

While the focus of government modernization has been transitioning government into the Cloud, NASA and Space Force have their sights set even further. Both organizations are focused on bringing "new knowledge and opportunities back to Earth."

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Show Me the Data!

Data is critical to that mission. Using data, NASA leaders have set a goal to accelerate the time it takes to release innovations to the market by 25%. This data use challenge is common across government, and becomes even more complex when you have to get data from where it is to where it's needed and that movement involves data coming from space.

Being a new agency, Space Force is able to implement many digital born systems, but working with legacy data and systems is a constant challenge that requires innovative thinking. Critical to this is understanding a technology's application to a specific mission and effectively communicating its impact to leaders to help reduce barriers to changing "how it's always been done."

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Auditors OK DoD Conference Policy

Originally posted on FederalTimes.comby Nichole Blake Johnson

The Pentagon's conference spending policy generally aligns with government wide standards, and in some instances, exceeds them, a review has determined.

The Office of Management and Budget's 2012 policy is the benchmark.

DoD requires senior-level review and and pre-approval of all conference-related costs, while OMB requires senior-level review of conferences only when the estimated costs exceed $100,000, according to the Government Accountability Office report. DoD also aligns with OMB policy by publicly reporting annual conference costs. In addition, the department requires quarterly internal reporting of conference costs.

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