News in Brief

Streamlined-hiring bill, overarching cyber defense and local IT budgets

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Senate passes bill to streamline federal hiring

Legislation that seeks to simplify some parts of the federal hiring process was passed by the Senate on a voice vote on Sept. 17.

The bill would allow agencies to qualify job candidates for federal service based on an assessment of their applications so that other agencies could tap into a pool of eligible candidates rather than starting from square one when reviewing people who have previously applied for federal jobs.

Under current law, agencies can't share information on applicants.

"It's the kind of common-sense legislation that folks expect from their elected leaders, and that's why it passed the Senate unanimously," said the bill's sponsor, Montana Democrat Jon Tester, who urged the House to take up the legislation.

The bill was backed by the Partnership for Public Service, the Federal Managers Association and the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association.

Cyber Command envisions all-encompassing cyber defense

U.S. Cyber Command officials would like to build an overarching, electronic system to find vulnerabilities in the military's computer networks, weapons systems and installations so they can be prioritized and corrected, according to news reports.

Lt. Gen. Kevin McLaughlin, the command's deputy commander, told Reuters that defense officials should reach agreement on the framework within months and turn the system into an automated scorecard in the coming years. He made his remarks after a speech at the Billington Cybersecurity Summit in Maryland on Sept. 17.

He said the effort grew out of a report released earlier this year in which the Pentagon's chief weapons tester, Michael Gilmore, warned that nearly every major U.S. weapons system was vulnerable to cyberattacks.

According to McLaughlin, Cyber Command staff would do the initial data entry by hand, with the goal of creating a fully automated system that would help defense officials instantaneously detect and respond to any attacks.

Local IT budgets on the rise, but staffing concerns loom large

IT budgets are on the rise for many cities and counties, but technology executives in those local governments still have concerns about investment levels in certain key areas -- and in their ability to retain top talent.

Those trends are among the findings in a new survey by the Public Technology Institute and Deltek. Read more about the survey in GCN.

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