House approves bill for OPM to implement federal software, data positions – MeriTalk
The House of Representatives voted on September 30 to adopt RH 3533, a bill that would require the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to create a professional series for federal government software and data positions.
Specifically, OPM should create one or more professional series for federal software development, software engineering, data science, and data management positions.
The bill was passed by the House with a majority bipartite vote 416-9, with nine voiceless members. The bill has since been received in the Senate and referred to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs.
The House bill was introduced by Representatives Jay Obernolte, R-Calif., And Peter Welch, D-Vt., In May. If it becomes law, the bill would give the OPM 270 days to create the new professional series.
Representative Obernolte said in June that the bill would help the federal government improve its IT and cybersecurity workforce in the face of increasing cyber attacks.
“The recent hacks of the Colonial Pipeline and JBS Meat Processing have highlighted serious gaps in America’s ability to protect itself and respond to cyber attacks, especially when they specifically threaten our national security,” said the congressman.
“As a computer scientist, I think there is a lot more we can do to improve our government’s ability to prevent incidents like these,” he said. “We need to make sure the federal government has the capacity to hire and retain the best scientists if we are to improve our national security and prevent future cyber attacks.”
A current lack of federal career paths for professions, including software development, data science, and other fields, has “delayed the government’s ability to track and manage its digital workforce, to attract new technical talent and create new positions to meet the increasing demands of the cyber age, ”said the office of representative Obernolte.