Loss of Climate and Environmental Scientists

From the WashPost re Climate and Environment: Science ranks grow thin in Trump administration. Some excerpts:

The exodus has been fueled broadly by administration policies that have diminished the role of science as well as more specific steps, such as the relocation of agencies away from the nation’s capital.

While the administration has come under fire for prioritizing the concerns of industry at the expense of science in government decisions, the cumulative effects are just beginning to appear after three years of Trump in the White House.

GAO on FEMA Workforce Issues

Federal Emergency Management Agency: Additional Planning and Data Collection Could Help Improve Workforce Management Efforts GAO-15-437; released July 9, 2015.

The Diva has just done a quick reading of this new, 60 page report, and she notices that GAO seems peeved that for 8 years they have been asking FEMA for a strategic plan for their workforce but did not get one.

She welcomes reader comments, especially from those who have been part of the FEMA workforce. In the past, this topic was a hot issue. I am surprised to have so few comments.

NAS report on Issues re Resilience of the DHS Workforce

As I recall, there was an earlier report out from a workshop on the topic of the resilience of the workforce at DHS.  Here is the latest report, titled  A Ready and Resilient Workforce for the Department of Homeland Security: Protecting America’s Front Line (2013)

If you just want to see the Executive Summary (19 pp) and the six major recommendations,you can download, at no cost, all or parts of this  book-length report (266 pp.).

Federal Workers Are Discouraged Re Future

Of late, most of my postings have been about various failures by public sector employees to effectively management disasters and/or the lack of ability to think long-term about climate and environment changes.  As someone with a public administration background, it is discouraging to document these problems. Nevertheless, given the present environment of major dislike and disrespect for government and serious disregard of public servants by segments of our Congress, it is no wonder that the ability to anticipate and manage major disasters and crises is deteriorating.  In my opinion, the gap is growing in the emergency management field between knowledge of what needs to be done and the ability to take effective actions.

An article in today’s Washington Post brought home to me some of the indirect damage done by the recent federal shutdown and the ongoing sequester. It is titled Young Workers Souring on Federal Careers. After reading it I realized the federal workforce problems will not just be short-term but long-term if young people do not want to enter public service or make it their career. Some excerpts:

“No matter how much you love your job, everybody has their limits, their price. If Congress wanted to force young people out of federal jobs, then they are doing a great job.”

They are souring on government work just when they are needed most, experts say. The federal government is amid a retirement wave, with nearly twice as many executive branch employees leaving in the past fiscal year than did in 2009, according to federal figures.

“The shutdown was the perfect storm in turning millennials off from a career in government, ***.” “They are already everything the government is not: fast-moving, restless for change and entrepreneurial. So the shutdown was just one huge slap in the face, a wake-up call that said, “Why am I working here again?”

No one has compiled statistics on the number of federal workers quitting their jobs or looking to do so. But public employees say the chorus of dissatisfaction among young people is reaching record decibels.

Resilience Within the DHS Workforce – new report from the NAS

One again the folks at the HSDL have a jump on a new report, so I will share their abstract and URLs. The full report. titled Resilience Within the Department of Homeland Security Workforce, is 330 pages, so you may want to download the TOC or the summary version.

From the HSDL blog:

This report stresses the importance of strong leadership, communication, measurement, and evaluation in the organization and recommends content for a 5-year plan that will promote centralized strategic direction and resource investment to improve readiness and resilience at the department. While all DHS component agencies share a common mission, each have distinct roles with different stressors attached, making implementation of an organization-wide resilience or wellness program difficult. The recommendations of ‘A Ready and Resilient Workforce for the Department of Homeland Security’ outline how DHS can focus its efforts on creating a common culture of workforce readiness and resilience, while recognizing the distinct, proud, celebrated cultures of its component agencies.

FEMA’s After Action Report on Superstorm Sandy

I am not quite sure when this was issued, but the direct link to the 38 page report is here: Hurricane Sandy FEMA After Action Report; July 2013.

For those of you interested in FEMA workforce issues, the report devotes quite a bit of discussion to that topic.

In the next two weeks or so, I expect to see the Sandy Task Force Recovery Strategy report. When I get it, I will post it here.

Government Contractors Are Under Scrutiny

The New York Times

Today the NY Times has an editorial titled Prying Private Eyes, which makes the point that there are too many private contractors in the intelligence field. Their opening paragraph:

Whatever one thinks about Edward Snowden and his revelations about government snooping, the case has been a useful reminder of the extent to which the government has outsourced intelligence work to the private sector and the risks in doing so.

The Diva has both worked for government and been a contractor, so she takes a keen interest in this topic.  Although the focus in on those with security clearances, I think the new interest and criticism of contractors is going to affect a wide range of specialists. The NYT Time editorial makes the point that a contractor costs 1.6 times as much as a government employee.

Your comments are invited.