Change doesn’t come easy to any large organization, and that is especially true of the federal government, where checks and balances literally prevent many changes. In order to keep contractors paid even as they were forced to work remotely, for instance, Congress had to step in to create provisions and provide capital to keep benched contractors on company payroll. In ways big and small, both agencies, contractors and government policy makers stepped up to ensure national security missions were accomplished despite the pandemic. In many instances, agencies ramped up their efforts, in fact.
The Intelligence and National Security Foundation recently launched a new videocast series discussing the future of remote work in the IC. In the first part of the conversation, ClearanceJobs sat down with Harry Coker, former Executive Director of the NSA, and Andy Maner, CEO of Avantus Federal, to discuss the IC’s path forward.
“In the post-COVID environment, whenever we get there, we’ll continue to move forward on different ways to work remotely,” said Coker. “It’s going to enhance the quality of life of all of our folks.”
And while national security work is unique, when it comes to addressing the challenges that exist, the commercial sector and national security community have a lot to learn from each other.
“Whether it’s happening in our intel community or in the Fortune 500, we all face the same problem, and I think we can learn a lot from the private sector, and vice versa, on this,” said Maner. “The first thing we have to say as an intel community is that we are truly, not alone. Everyone is facing a version of this challenge.”
Technology Isn’t the Solution
And while technology can solve many problems, it can’t solve every personnel issue.
“We lead people, and we manage things and systems,” said Coker. “We’ve got to have both, but leadership really is the foundation.”
If the government wants to attract and retain qualified mid-level professionals – feeling the full crunch of remote work, distance learning, and trying to make career progression – solving these problems isn’t optional – it’s required.
“I think this is a must-have, and we’re at a really unique time,” said Maner. “Nothing spurs action like a crisis, and we’re in it. So I think it’s all about careers, and career development.”