What's coming from FedRAMP, 18F and USAJobs

Shutterstock image: meet and greet silhouettes.

At a recent gathering of contracting professionals, the discussion ranged well beyond acquisition. Federal officials held forth on millenials in the workforce, improvements to the government's main recruiting site, and the possibility of revamping FedRAMP.

When the General Services Administration developed the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program four years ago to vet the security of cloud products and services, the cloud landscape was much smaller.  While dozens of different services and providers are now FedRAMP-certified, there have been complaints that the process creates bottlenecks and yields fewer benefits than originally promised.

Phaedra Chrousos, associate administrator of the Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies/18F at the General Services Administration, addressed rumors that FedRAMP would be rebranded.

GSA has no plans to rebrand FedRAMP, but officials are working with U.S. CIO Tony Scott to make sure the program is keeping up with the times, Chrousos said after her keynote speech at the National Contract Management Association's Dec. 15 symposium.

"It's three years in," she said." The world changes quickly, and we should reimagine [FedRAMP]."

Chrousos added that her team has mapped customer experiences with FedRAMP and is now addressing the pain points by automating the process and shortening some of the paper-based requirements.

As for whether FedRAMP needs more support from Congress, she said the Federal Acquisition Regulation is flexible enough that everything GSA is testing falls within existing FAR guidelines.

Chrousos, who also serves as GSA's chief customer officer, described herself as a friendly bureaucrat who protects a team of innovators. She added that GSA is using 18F to experiment with new processes.

"Our ecosystem is a mini-version of a large CIO shop," she said. "We have all the technologists and data scientists and engineers you have in your agencies, and they ... have the time and permission to test out new companies."

On the recruitment front, Chrousos said having 18F work on the USAJobs site is "on our wish list." She added that the Office of Personnel Management's Innovation Lab has already been making improvements to the website.

"They're taking a very incremental look," she said. "You might only see small changes, but they are working toward a bigger vision from what I understand."

A more efficient and mobile USAJobs would benefit the fastest-growing portion of the workforce: millennials. More than one in three workers were born after 1981, and this year millennials surpassed Generation X to become the biggest part of the American workforce, according to the Pew Research Center.

"I love the energy they give off," Maj. Gen. Casey Blake, the Air Force's deputy assistant secretary for contracting, said at the Dec. 15 event. With millennials expected to change jobs six to 10 times in their careers, he said, agencies must emphasize leadership if they want to keep these workers around.

"These folks are not going to work for really bad bosses," Blake said. However, an inspiring boss who also acts as a mentor can harness a millennial's energy.

"Sometimes there's a tendency to be a little impulsive," Blake said of the younger workforce. "That's not a bad thing, but I remind them, 'your development is a process not an event.'" And he added that it takes more than two years to develop the "scar tissue" necessary to make tough decisions.

Steve Sarris, director of contracts at Ball Aerospace and Technologies, said agencies can keep millennials engaged by emphasizing collaboration and showing them how all the parts fit together to make a whole. That diversity across all the contracting disciplines can be motivating.

"[Millennials] can have an effect on the bottom line," Sarris said. "I think that's where you can capture their loyalty."

About the Author

Bianca Spinosa is an Editorial Fellow at FCW.

Spinosa covers a variety of federal technology news for FCW including workforce development, women in tech, and the intersection of start-ups and agencies. Prior to joining FCW, she was a TV journalist for more than six years, reporting local news in Virginia, Kentucky, and North Carolina. Spinosa is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Writing at George Mason University, where she also teaches composition. She earned her B.A. from the University of Virginia.

Click here for previous articles by Spinosa, or connect with her on Twitter: @BSpinosa.


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