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Cybersecurity training opportunities during COVID-19

Despite the disruption to the federal workforce during the pandemic, some are positioning it as a time to boost training on cybersecurity fundamentals. The massive transition to telework provides agencies the rare chance to transform how employees learn using the NICE Cybersecurity Workforce Framework, said Rodney Petersen, NICE director within the National Institutes of Standards and Technology. Agencies can take the opportunity to audit their employees' cyber skills and determine where there are gaps that remote learning can fill. “The discussions I’m hearing at the moment are less about the training needs and more about how the entire learning ecosystem could be fundamentally changed,” Petersen said. “And cybersecurity could become the pilot for how that is implemented and rethought in this current environment.” Dave Nyczepir reports.

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'Not business as usual' for government's tech workers

Technology officials working in state and local governments say that while their core mission remains the support of agency operations, the pandemic is confronting them with new tasks and challenges they hadn’t previously considered. “This is not business as usual for us,” said Connecticut Chief Information Officer Mark Raymond, who told StateScoop that his office is currently outfitting unoccupied dorm rooms and state facilities with IT infrastructure in case those buildings have to be used as makeshift health care facilities. Raymond said he's also had to help businesses determine if they're "essential" and can remain open under a statewide stay-at-home order, and figure out how state commissions can hold virtual meetings that are still open to the public. Colin Wood has more.

Agencies turn to bots in cornavirus response

Federal agencies are also turning to bots to help with response efforts during the pandemic. The General Services Administration is one such agency that was able to quickly hand over important work to a bot to automate otherwise manual workflows. The project by the agency's RPA team allowed it to speed up collection of coronavirus infection count data in counties where it manages federal buildings — one of about 20 new automations across the government tied to the response. Elsewhere, the Department of Homeland Security has built about 500 bots in 36 hours to perform coronavirus-related data analysis. And agencies from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to the Food and Drug Administration are working with RPA developers like UiPath to supplement teleworkers focused on mission-critical work. Dave Nyczepir has the scoop on RPA.

Agencies OK to hire with digital tools

Federal agencies need to continue hiring and onboarding new employees, despite being limited from doing so in-person. So, OPM issued new guidance this week allowing to expand how they execute the oath of office for new employees using remote or virtual options like Skype or FaceTime. It is up to the agency CIOs to determine which tool best fits their workforce, Rigas wrote. And once employees are officially hired, there’s also the process of onboarding and training that typically takes place in-person. As long as the coronavirus pandemic continues to impact agencies’ in-person operations, OPM says they should also conduct the onboarding process using “remote electronic capabilities.” Billy Mitchell on OPM's virtual hiring guidance.

Digital medical licenses could help doctors practice across state lines

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services earlier this month waived restrictions against physicians taking their medical licenses across state borders as the COVID-19 illness spreads. But states will still need to verify the credentials of visiting doctors. Merit, a software company that digitizes professional licensing, said it is giving state governments free access to a new platform that connect states’ medical-license databases so doctors can get to work more quickly if they are dispatched to another part of the country during the health crisis. "Normally, you will apply for a license in a new state you have to go through all sorts of background checks,” said former Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer, who is also a surgeon currently on call at three Kansas City hospitals. “But you have to meet the standards of that state, and that normally takes a few weeks. Being able to go on the internet and verifying the documents is a game-changer.” Benjamin Freed has more.

Job of the Day

Director of Technology |ICIG, ODNI

The Director of Technology is a new position within the ICIG. The incumbent will have substantial responsibilities related to the ICIG's technical strategy, business application development, and use and oversight of new and emerging technologies. See this job and more.

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