Improving customer service (or in the case of the government, citizen service) has been a focus of the Federal government for the past several administrations, most recently being named a key goal of the Biden-Harris President's Management Agenda (PMA). Despite this focus, citizen satisfaction with government service has remained low, but a 2022 report shows that the tide may be turning.
Diversity, equity, and inclusion are key focus areas of the Biden administration's President's Management Agenda (PMA). Additionally, the administration issued an executive order in June 2021 directing agencies across government to implement more diversity training, rethink the use of salary history as a basis for pay determinations, and supply gender non-conforming and nonbinary and transgender employees with credentials that reflect their current names, pictures and pronouns. Finally, in November 2021 the administration offered a strategic plan to help guide agencies in diversity efforts, asking for the submission of agency-specific Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) plans by March 2023.
This focus is starting to show results. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) released a first-ever report on the diversity of the federal workforce. It looked at hiring and retention across agencies and gave a snapshot of the administration's efforts to remove barriers for applicants from underrepresented communities. The report finds small but encouraging gains in racial diversity between 2017 and 2021 with Black employees rising from 18.15 percent to 18.19 percent of the federal workforce. Latinx made a much larger jump rising from 8.75 percent to 9.95 percent. Women's representation grew from 43.38 percent of the workforce in 2017 to 44.44 percent in 2021. Future reporting will look at nonbinary workers.Continue reading →
The National Defense Strategy (NDS) sets the strategic direction for our military to meet the security threats of tomorrow. Overall, the Defense Strategy focuses on China and Russia as the primary adversaries, but it also emphasizes the importance of global cooperation among allies as well as adversaries to meet threats that are bigger than any one country including climate change, food insecurity, and pandemics. The defense strategy lays out three primary tactics for advancing U.S. and global security.
The practice of integrated deterrence involves working closely across all branches of the military, warfighting domains, and even across other federal entities to ensure national security. It expands responsibility for deterring adversaries beyond the Department of Defense (DoD), involving the intelligence community, health agencies, environmental agencies, and more.Continue reading →
Agile is not a technology but rather an approach. As such, the barriers to adoption are not technical, they are cultural. Moving to Agile requires a complete shift in thinking from waterfall development. No longer is it feasible to set requirements at the beginning of the project and then design to those specifications, not launching until the whole system is complete. Rather, Agile works more in line with the pace of today, emphasizing constant communication to introduce change into the development process and encouraging small elements of the end solution to be released throughout the project lifecycle. Use of Agile in government has come a long way, but there is still room for improvement in how agencies meet digital goals and expectations.Continue reading →
The Technology Modernization Fund (TMF) was created by the Modernizing Government Technology Act of 2017 to more quickly fund needed modernization projects across government. With TMF, agencies can apply for funding to complete modernization activities without having to wait for the budget cycle to begin work on critical digital initiatives. Funding is incremental to ensure projects are working as expected.
Agencies must repay the investment either using the cost savings achieved with the tech implementation or through future budget allocations. The model is working. Of the 11 initial projects to receive TMF funding, two agencies have already reimbursed the fund, and five others have completed their projects and are in the process of reimbursement.