President Joe Biden has issued a new memo that seeks to revitalize the workforce at national security and foreign policy agencies through the adoption of six core principles: modernization, transparency, integrity, diversity, service and accountability.
The memo published Thursday highlights the need for agencies to maintain their technological edge by addressing gaps in skills and mission-critical knowledge, hiring and retaining technical talent, establishing rewards and incentives for innovation and providing the workforce with new technologies and agile and adaptive organizational structures.
The document directs the establishment of an interagency working group on the national security workforce chaired by the principal deputy national adviser. The deputy directors of the Office of Management and Budget, Office of Personnel Management and the Office of Science and Technology Policy for national security will serve as the working group's vice chairs.
The working group will task agencies with creating a special advisory group that will help recommend ways to create and expand programs to retain and recruit individuals with science and technology expertise, strengthening diversity, providing additional pathways for citizens to engage in public service at national security agencies, identifying best practices and lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic and developing plans to provide the workforce with more flexibility, such as offering remote work options.
The working group should submit to the White House an annual report on critical skills agencies need to address emerging and existing national security challenges and assessment of progress in skills recruitment, retention and development efforts.
The memo also gives the working group 180 days to submit a report on available authorities to recruit people with STEM skills, the use of such authorities and recommendations for executive or legislative actions to further improve the recruitment of professionals.
The policy also directs the establishment of a national security council directorate on partnerships and global engagement. Heads of NSC member agencies have 30 days to designate a senior official to lead partnership engagement.
Within two years, the assistant to the president for national security affairs should submit a report on the administration’s progress in implementing the memo’s requirements.