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Our Director Director's Blog

Welcome! We are committed to recruiting and retaining a world-class workforce for the American people.

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Infographic which reads: Beat the Heat, stay cool - stay hydrated, stay informed

Summer is a great time for beach getaways, barbecues in the backyard, and other outdoor activities that we long for during the cold, winter months.

But it’s also a time when severe heat and humidity – like we’ve seen during this summer season – make it necessary for us all to take precautions to protect ourselves and our family’s health and well-being.

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) have teamed up to remind all of us, including agencies and employees across government about what they can do to protect all Federal workers during potentially dangerous heat waves.

Regardless of where we work, we can all follow some basic common-sense practices as outlined on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website: Stay in air-conditioned buildings as much as possible; wear lightweight, light-colored clothing; drink more water than usual, and check for extreme heat alerts.

It’s also important to remember that for Federal employees, OPM’s workplace flexibilities that may be used to reduce health risks during such extreme heat periods. If your supervisor approves, telework-ready employees may telework from home on a day when air quality conditions are poor. If your agency policies allow, an employee working a flexible work schedule may elect to adjust when they come to work and when they leave in order to avoid commuting during the hottest period of the day. Employees can also ask for annual leave, earned compensatory time or credit hours on a day when severe heat and humidity are threatening their health and welfare.

OPM has issued a memorandum to Chief Human Capital Officers across government outlining these flexibilities and including some Federal Government websites that offer more tips on how to handle severe heat and humidity conditions.

I know that all Federal employees are dedicated and committed to doing all they can to serve the American people. At the same time, we all must be mindful of protecting our health during severe weather events - whether cold and storm during winter or the kind of high temperatures and humidity we’ve been experiencing this summer.


As a part of a system-wide upgrade to the Federal Flexible Spending Account Program (FSAFEDS) website, the site will be in transition from July 30 through September 1. During this period, there will be a blackout on participants being able to request reimbursements from their FSA.

The blackout is necessary to allow WageWorks, which was recently awarded a new contract, to set up an enhanced process to file claims and use the FSAFEDS website.

OPM regrets that the blackout may cause inconvenience for some FSAFEDS participants and we understand their concern. However, given the broad scope of the transition, the sensitive nature of the data involved, and the significant security requirements, a claims blackout period of four weeks is necessary. When the upgrades are complete, we are confident that FSAFEDS will be equipped to deliver enhanced service to participants.

In preparation for the transition period, OPM has given FSAFEDS participants several months’ notice through outreach including letters and emails. To minimize the inconvenience, we have scheduled the blackout in late summer, when claim volumes are typically lowest.

For specific information on the transition period, we recommend that participants visit www.fsafeds.com, which includes a FAQ. Participants may also contact the FSAFEDS Program Office at FSA@opm.gov.

In addition, there is still time for participants to file claims for reimbursement before the blackout period begins on July 30.

FSAFEDS allows participants to save money for health care expenses with a Health Care or Limited Expense Health Care FSA. Think of it as a pre-tax savings account that helps you pay for items that typically aren’t covered by a Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) plan, the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program, or other health insurance coverage. FSAFEDS also offers another account called Dependent Care FSA. This account allows employees to set aside money for day care expenses for young children and elder care expenses.

We thank everyone for their support of FSAFEDS and for your patience while we go through this transition.


Today the Administration is directing a series of actions to identify, recruit, develop, retain, and expand the pipeline of the best, brightest, and most diverse cybersecurity talent for Federal service and for our nation.

Every day, Federal departments and agencies face sophisticated and persistent cyber threats that pose strategic, economic, and security challenges to our Nation. Addressing these cyber threats has required a bold reassessment of the way we approach security in the digital age and a significant investment in critical security tools and our cybersecurity workforce. And these threats demand that we continue to enhance the security of the Federal digital infrastructure and improve the ability to detect and respond to cyber incidents as they occur. That is why, in 2009, President Obama initiated a comprehensive strategy to confront this ever-evolving challenge. The strategy brings all levels of government together with private industry, academia, international partners, and the public, to raise the level of cybersecurity in both the public and private sectors; deter and disrupt adversary activities in cyberspace; improve capabilities for incident response and resilience; and enact legislation to both incentivize and remove legal barriers to cybersecurity threat information-sharing among private entities and between the private sector and the Government. While we have made significant progress, we must do more.

The Challenge

The Federal cybersecurity workforce has the challenging mission of protecting government information technology (IT) systems, networks, and data from sophisticated adversaries; safeguarding sensitive data; supporting our Nation’s financial, energy, healthcare, transportation, and other critical systems; and securing our critical infrastructure and intelligence systems. However, the supply of cybersecurity talent to meet the increasing demand of the Federal Government is simply not sufficient. As part of a broad-sweeping review of Federal cybersecurity policies, plans, and procedures, the Cybersecurity Sprint launched by the Office of Management and Budget last year revealed two key observations about the Federal cybersecurity workforce:

  1. Federal agencies’ lack of cybersecurity and IT talent is a major resource constraint that impacts their ability to protect information and assets; and,
  2. A number of existing Federal initiatives address this challenge, but implementation and awareness of these programs are inconsistent.

Moreover, this shortfall affects not only the Federal government, but the private sector as well. Recent industry reports project this shortfall will expand rapidly over the coming years unless private sector companies and the Federal Government act to expand the cybersecurity workforce pipeline to meet the increasing demand.

The Opportunity

To address these and other cybersecurity challenges, earlier this year the President directed his Administration to implement the Cybersecurity National Action Plan (CNAP) – a capstone of more than seven years of determined effort – which takes near- term actions and puts in place a long-term strategy that builds on other cybersecurity efforts while calling for innovation and investments in cybersecurity education and training to strengthen the cybersecurity talent pipeline. As directed by the CNAP and the President’s 2017 Budget, today we are releasing the first-ever Federal Cybersecurity Workforce Strategy to grow the pipeline of highly skilled cybersecurity talent entering federal service, and retain and better invest in the talent already in public service. And it sets forth a vision where private sector cybersecurity leaders would see a tour of duty in Federal service as an essential stop in their career arc.

The Strategy establishes four key initiatives:

Expand the Cybersecurity Workforce through Education and Training. The Cybersecurity Workforce Strategy supports the CNAP initiatives that propose investing $62 million in Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 funding to expand cybersecurity education across the Nation. This funding will lay the foundation needed to ultimately address the shortage of cybersecurity talent across the country. These initiatives include offering competitive scholarships and covering full tuition for college and university students through the CyberCorps®: Scholarship for Service program; collaborating with academic institutions to develop guidance for cybersecurity core curriculum and allow colleges and universities to expand their course offerings; and providing program development grants to academic institutions to hire or retain professors, adopt a cybersecurity core curriculum and strengthen their overall cybersecurity education programs.

  • Recruit the Nation’s Best Cyber Talent for Federal Service. The Workforce Strategy initiates efforts to implement a government-wide recruitment strategy that includes enhanced outreach efforts to diverse cyber talent — including women, minorities, and veterans— from apprenticeship programs, colleges, universities, and private industry, as part of a comprehensive plan. Over the coming months we will partner with agencies to find ways to streamline hiring practices consistent with current statutes and leverage existing hiring authorities, as appropriate, to quickly bring on new talent. We will explore opportunities to establish a cybersecurity cadre within the Presidential Management Fellows program that leverages the recent success of the Presidential Innovation Fellows program and other dynamic approaches for bringing top technologists and innovators into government service. Additionally, we will explore opportunities to expand the use of new or revised pay authorities that can serve as a model for future government-wide efforts.

  • Retain and Develop Highly Skilled Talent. To improve employee retention and development efforts, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) will work with Federal agencies to develop cybersecurity career paths, badging and credentialing programs, rotational assignments, and foster opportunities for employees to obtain new skills and become subject matter experts in their field. Additionally, the Workforce Strategy directs the development of a government-wide cybersecurity orientation program for new cybersecurity professionals to improve information sharing and employees’ knowledge of upcoming developmental and training opportunities. The Workforce Strategy also looks to increase the use of special pay authorities, and improve training and development opportunities for cyber and non-cyber employees.

  • Identify Cybersecurity Workforce Needs. Cybersecurity is a dynamic and crosscutting field, and effective workforce planning requires a clear understanding of the gaps between the workforce of today and the needs of tomorrow. The Workforce Strategy directs agencies to adopt a new approach to identifying their cybersecurity workforce gaps by using the National Cybersecurity Workforce Framework developed by National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) partner agencies, which identifies 31 discrete specialty areas within cybersecurity workforce. Agencies are now able to better identify, recruit, assess, and hire the best candidates with specific cyber-related skills and abilities, and we are already making progress in this effort. The Federal Government has already hired 3,000 new cybersecurity and IT professionals in the first 6 months of this fiscal year. However, there is clearly more work to do, and we are committed to a plan by which agencies would hire 3,500 more individuals to fill critical cybersecurity and IT positions by January 2017.

Cybersecurity is a shared responsibility among agency leadership, employees, contractors, private industry, and the American people. And the Workforce Strategy details numerous initiatives to harness this collective power and help strengthen the security of Federal networks, systems, and assets. To address cybersecurity challenges in the immediate future, the Administration will invest in the existing Federal workforce through initiatives focused on training and retaining existing talent. At the same time, the Government will adjust the way it recruits, including the way it approaches talented students and potential employees in the cybersecurity workforce outside Federal service.

We must recognize that these changes will take time to implement, and the Workforce Strategy’s long-term success will depend on the attention, innovation, and resources from all levels of government. The initiatives discussed in this Strategy represent a meaningful first step toward engaging Federal and non-Federal stakeholders and provide the resources necessary to establish, strengthen, and grow a pipeline of cybersecurity talent well into the future.

Shaun Donovan is the Director of the Office of Management and Budget.
Beth Cobert is the Acting Director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.
Michael Daniel is Special Assistant to the President and Cybersecurity Coordinator.
Tony Scott is the U.S. Chief Information Officer.

Also see:


Flag background with stars, 4th of July Independence Day 1776 written in the center

Each year, Americans celebrate Independence Day with parties, fireworks, parades, and concerts. But not all Americans will be grilling out with family and friends. Federal workers across the country will be hard at work on Monday, serving in a multitude of ways. As we celebrate, let’s take a moment to recognize their service.

If you plan on enjoying the holiday weekend at one of America’s national parks, you will surely run into a National Park Ranger. They are responsible for protecting and supervising our parks 365 days a year. They also help make visiting our parks safe and a memorable experience, including giving guided tours to millions of Americans and tourists from around the world.

Law enforcement and medical personnel will also be standing their posts on the Fourth of July. In the Washington D.C. metro area, United States Capitol Police and Secret Service agents will be on high alert, protecting our elected officials and the thousands of tourists coming into the District of Columbia to celebrate the Fourth.

And just like doctors, nurses, and EMT’s in the private sector, medical personnel working for the Federal Government will be busy taking care of patients on the holiday.  Twenty million Americans are veterans and they receive medical care at the many VA hospitals and clinics across the country.

In this year’s proclamation in honor of Public Service Recognition Week, the President highlighted how the country’s progress is fueled by selfless citizens who dedicate their lives to serving their fellow Americans and working towards making our country the best it can be.

“Civil servants demonstrate resolve and inspire optimism in sectors throughout our country. They are engineers and educators, military service members and social workers, and their individual and collective contributions drive us forward on the path toward an ever brighter tomorrow,” the proclamation said.

This Fourth of July, while you are celebrating with family and friends, please take a moment to remember the dedicated public servants who are spending their day at work, helping to ensure our country remains safe for all who call America home. 


Each day, 1.8 million hard-working Federal employees across the world dedicate themselves to serving the American people with passion, creativity, and innovation.

To make sure that we can continue this quality of service for years to come, the Office of Personnel Management and the White House’s Office of Management and Budget, and the Presidential Personnel Office launched the Hiring Excellence Campaign, an effort to improve the way we recruit new talent to Federal service. As the President’s Management Agenda highlights, to remain competitive in today’s labor market, we must modernize and transform the way we recruit and hire Federal employees.

So, now I want to take a moment to talk to you – the hiring managers and the human resources teams. The Hiring Excellence Campaign was designed specifically for you based on extensive feedback we’ve received from agency leaders, HR staff, and hiring managers. We want to give you all of the information, tools, and support you need to attract and hire a world-class workforce.

To get this information to you we are holding free, one-day Hiring Excellence training sessions across the country focused on the theme, “Connecting with Top Talent.” We have held 21 training sessions so far and will hold an additional 16 sessions throughout FY 2016. 

In the session, OPM’s team will share best practices, mythbusters, and hiring tools – some of which you may not realize you already have at your fingertips. For example, there is a wide range of strategic recruitment strategies and hiring authorities, from disability hiring to excepted service to direct hire authorities, available to you to identify and hire top talent. There are also multiple ways for you to assess applicants to make sure they are the top qualified candidates for your position. We’ll also dive into effective techniques for collaborating between HR staff and hiring managers to help you improve hiring outcomes in your agency.

We also want to make sure you are familiar with the updates to USAJOBS that benefit both you and applicants.

On the hiring manager and HR staff end, USAJOBS now has an Agency Talent Portal that provides tools to help agencies find and recruit talent. Additionally, you can take advantage of a new job opportunity announcement analytics dashboard to measure how effective recruitment and hiring was for a position. We also have a resume mining pilot that can help you use USAJOBS to find qualified candidates already registered with the website to apply for a position.

On the applicant side, USAJOBS offers a map search feature to help job seekers see jobs across the world that they may be interested in. We also updated the application process to help applicants work through a simple, five-step tracker to create an application package. It allows applicants to easily edit their documents within the application and not have to go back to their profiles each time. And, USAJOBS is now designed to be accessible on any mobile device.

These and many more tools will be covered in our Hiring Excellence sessions, and we hope you can join us for one of them. Register now for upcoming dates in cities across the Nation; please register for the session that best meets your needs. Our next sessions are in Detroit on July 12th and Nashville on July 14th.

Hiring is one of a manager’s most important responsibilities and the human resources team is a crucial partner. Together you are the key to building hiring excellence across government.

Be sure to check out the training registration links, resources and additional information on our new Hiring Excellence hub that we’ll be regularly updating – www.opm.gov/hiringexcellence.


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