Quick Hits for Oct. 18

*** Federal hiring authorities have been a hot topic since 18F and other agencies began using Schedule A to bring digital experts into government for two-year terms. Deputy Federal CIO Margie Graves, however, is skeptical that rule changes alone will do much to grow the talent pipeline.

The fact that "we're trying to change some of the hiring authorities" is a sign of how seriously the administration takes workforce issues, Graves said during an Oct. 17 panel at ACT-IAC's ELC conference. "But we've done that before," she noted, and the effect was minimal.

"It's truly changing the mindset of how we execute our HR processes in the agencies," she said. "If you don't change that, along with the authorities, then it becomes something that sits on a shelf and gathers dust."

*** The Department of Homeland Security and the Food and Drug Administration have struck an agreement to improve communication and coordination around cybersecurity for medical devices. The two agencies already work together to connect device manufacturers with vulnerability researchers who have discovered flaws in their products, and the new agreement is intended to boost overall information sharing efforts between the two agencies to enhance technical capabilities and allow for greater collaboration in the future.

Under the terms of the agreement, DHS will continue to coordinate efforts around medical device vulnerabilities through the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center, while the FDA will advise DHS about the health risks posed to patients when a vulnerability is identified in a device.

*** The General Services Administration launched a pilot program to publicly release post-award data from its eBuy portal through FedBizOpps, making the data available to vendors who may not participate in the federal marketplace. Participants on eBuy must have an account to use the system, while FedbizOpps is more widely accessible to the public.

The year-long pilot, set to run through Oct. 9, 2019, will collect and analyze data from contracting officers in GSA's Office of Internal Acquisition and its FAS Region 7 Southwest Supply and Acquisition Center. The groups were chosen, GSA said in an Oct. 17 statement, because they are the most active on eBuy. During the pilot, the test groups will upload the award notice of each individual eBuy award, including a copy of the RFQ, on FedBizOpps for public viewing.

"Making this data public will be especially helpful for small businesses who often aren't able to dedicate resources to navigate the government contracting process," GSA Administrator Emily Murphy said in a statement.

*** The government is continuing its push for input on developing a new federal data strategy with an eye to making government data a national resource. The Department of Commerce, the Office of the Federal CIO, theSmall Business Administration and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy want a new federal data strategy in place by spring 2019 and are teaming up on a "year-one action plan to deliver a more consistent approach to federal data stewardship, access, and use." In an Oct. 17 Federal Register notice , the data strategy team said it is seeking stakeholder input on a framework for classifying data stewardship practices. The data strategy website includes a draft list of 47 practices, each of which aligns to and operationalizes one of five high-level data management principles. The principles include managing data as a strategic asset, protecting data, promoting efficient use of data, building a culture that values data and valuing input from stakeholders and partners. A previous request for comments attracted 237 responses, which were used to generate and refine the list of data practices. Comments on this phase of the data strategy are due Nov. 16.

NEXT STORY: FCW Insider: Oct. 17

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