Issue Briefs

Following is the section of a recent OPM report to Congress describing the agency’s priority goals for the upcoming year.

Agency Priority Goals (APGs) advance progress towards longer-term outcomes. APGs are near-term results or achievements that leadership wants to accomplish within approximately 24 months. These goals rely predominately on agency implementation as opposed to budget or legislative accomplishments.


1. Background Investigations Case Processing Timeliness and Quality

Goal Statement: Increase investigative capacity and implement additional process improvements with the aim of meeting the timeliness standards set by the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 for background investigations while maintaining investigative quality. Throughout FY 2017, OPM will improve production output in response to the increasing workload demands of its customers, while reducing the larger than normal inventory of cases created during the transition from one of its investigative contractors. OPM will accomplish this while maintaining its target of 99 percent or more of all OPM investigations adjudicated as “quality complete” for investigations closed.

2. Retirement Services Case Processing

Goal Statement: Reduce Federal retirement case processing time by making comprehensive improvements and moving toward electronic processing of all retirement applications.

In FY 2016, process 90 percent of cases in 60 days or less (as of March 2015, 70.1 percent of cases were processed in 60 days or less). Support the 90/60 goal by:

increasing the percentage of complete cases received from agencies to 90 percent or greater;

continuing to develop capabilities to receive electronic retirement applications; and


building a court-ordered benefit case reporting mechanism to capture inventory and timeliness of court-ordered cases by the first quarter of FY 2016. Establish baseline data for timeliness by the end of FY 2016.

3. FEHB Plan Performance

Goal Statement: Improve health outcomes for the 8.2 million Federal employees, retirees, and their dependents enrolled in health plans participating in the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) program. In 2016, FEHB plan performance will be assessed based on a common set of measures of clinical quality, customer service and appropriate resource use; this performance assessment will be used in the determination of plan profit margins. While each plan will be assessed based on its performance, overall progress for the FEHB program will be measured by an increase in the number of FEHB plans at or above the 50th percentile of the relevant national, commercial benchmark year-on-year as measured by FEHB plan scored values on the designated high-priority indicators used continuously during the evaluation period. These high-priority measures include: risk adjusted all cause readmissions, timeliness of prenatal care and blood pressure control.

4. Human Resource Workforce Capability

Goal Statement: Improve the ability of the Federal human resource workforce to attract, develop, train, and support talent in the Federal Government by developing and launching a Federal HR curriculum. By the end of FY 2016, build and launch curricula for staffing and classification. Baseline HR professionals’ proficiency levels for the Staffing specialty area competencies, and set targets for improvement. By the end of FY 2017, build and launch curricula for employee relations and labor relations; and design a certification of mastery for existing HR University curricula.


5. Cybersecurity Monitoring

Goal Statement: Continue enhancing the security of OPM’s information systems by strengthening authentication and expanding the implementation of continuous monitoring.

OPM will enhance the use of two-factor authentication in multiple ways. By August of FY 2015, 99 percent of OPM users were required to use Personal Identity Verification (PIV) authentication for network access and the remaining one percent was enforced by the end of October 2015. By the end of FY 2016, 80 percent of non-OPM users who have a PIV card will be required to authenticate to OPM applications using their PIV cards. By the end of FY 2017, OPM will enforce two-factor authentication for 100 percent of all PIV-enabled users and 80 percent of non-PIV-enabled users.

OPM will enhance its security posture by expanding on the Continuous Diagnostic and Mitigation (CDM) capabilities implemented throughout FY 2015. The CDM program enables OPM to expand continuous diagnostic capabilities by increasing the network sensor capacity, automating sensor collections, and prioritizing risk alerts. By the end of the second quarter of FY 2016, OPM will have acquired and implemented four CDM controls including vulnerability assessment, continuous monitoring, hardware asset management, and software asset management. These tools should increase OPM’s ability to identify and respond to security issues. By the end of FY 2016, OPM will have fully implemented dashboard capabilities allowing OPM to benchmark its CDM program with other Federal agencies. In FY 2017, OPM will use the benchmarking results to identify and prioritize the implementation of other CDM controls. OPM will continue to pursue a number of additional actions as outlined in its Cybersecurity Monitoring goal.

Mission Cross-Agency Priority Goal Implementation

People and Culture

OPM is a co-leader of the Cross-Agency Priority Goal for People and Culture, and agency staff is directly involved in activities to achieve it. OPM is leading efforts to drive greater employee engagement, build a world-class Federal management team, and enable agencies to recruit and hire the best talent. OPM will continue to direct resources to support this work in FY 2017, in developing USA Hire assessments, and as the Federal Government leader of human capital category management. The agency is also seeking government-wide partners and funding to develop an intelligent hiring planning tool.


To increase employee engagement, Federal Government leaders are setting clear goals and conducting regular data-driven reviews to identify agency components and offices where improvements in employee engagement are required. Senior executives are being held accountable for improvement; data is disseminated to managers and organized for action; and agencies are motivated to increasingly adopt evidence-based practices. Each agency has named a Senior Accountable Official (SAO) to lead efforts to improve employee engagement. Senior representatives from OPM, OMB and the Presidential Personnel Office are engaging with each SAO to learn more about individual agency efforts and to share best practice from other agencies.

The Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS), administered by OPM each year, provides the employee feedback from which the employee engagement index is derived. OPM has worked diligently over the last several years to broaden the impacts of the FEVS by: 1) expanding the reach of the survey by ensuring agencies provide lower-level organizational breakouts; 2) greatly increasing the number of component and office level reports available to agencies; 3) improving the functionality of the FEVS Online Reporting and Analysis tool which enables agencies to analyze their results at various levels; 4) creating, a data visualization tool that displays FEVS results in ways that facilitates senior leaders’ understanding; and 5) increasing the number of special reports and analysis focusing on the experiences of specific sub-populations such as veterans, millennials, women, and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT). The increased availability of FEVS results and the expanded number of reports and analysis provide agency managers and leaders with the information they need to develop targeted strategies to address conditions that lead to improved employee engagement and performance.

OPM will continue to lead efforts to implement reforms to modernize executive recruitment, hiring, development, and accountability mechanisms to benefit the management of most Federal programs, with an emphasis on a set of actions identified in a recent Executive Order on Strengthening the Senior Executive Service. This includes strengthening executive ownership of strategic recruitment for SES and ensuring agencies are integrating executive recruitment and leadership into a cohesive talent and development plan; streamlining the career SES hiring process to help reduce time to hire, reduce burden on applicants, and enhance the Qualifications Review Board process; establishing agency talent and succession management processes to provide organizational visibility into current and emerging talent across the enterprise; enhancing SES development by supporting effective onboarding, continual learning, strategic rotational experiences, and assessment approaches; and improving SES accountability and recognition for high performance.

To support agencies’ efforts to recruit and hire highly-qualified talent, OPM will continue to lead efforts to ensure HR professionals have requisite training and skills to effectively support agency human capital programs. OPM will also support a government-wide hiring excellence campaign designed to provide robust guidance and tools to agency hiring managers and HR staff, training and education to help “untie the knots” in the hiring process, and support flexible hiring approaches and reforms to improve agencies ability to recruit and hire top talent.

Human Capital Category Management

OMB’s Strategic Sourcing Leadership Council unanimously selected OPM to lead the Federal Government’s management of the Human Capital (HC) category of spending for products and services. As a result, OPM has added a new related strategy (Strategy 10.01) to its Strategic Plan for FY 2017. As the HC Category Manager, OPM will identify and act on opportunities for significant cost savings across government through analysis of agencies’ spending behaviors, management of agency demand through development of enterprise solutions, and identification of best in class products and services in line with OPM standards for effective management of human capital. As the President’s advisor on human capital management, OPM is best positioned to guide agencies’ and employees’ selection of optimal human capital products and services, ensuring that solutions adhere to Federal HR policies and regulations, and advance the Federal Government as employer of choice for top talent through implementation of standards and best practices embodied in OPM’s Human Capital Framework and HRLoB Business Reference Model.

In FY 2017, OPM will develop a decision making tool to be housed on the Human Capital Common Acquisition Platform (commonly known as the Hallway) that will guide agency leaders and employees through needs assessments and alternative choices they can consider when making a final decision to purchase human capital products and services. The tool will be designed to make the human capital purchasing process as easy as possible, while educating a Federal leaders and employees on the principles and practices of strategic human capital management. Not only will agencies purchase optimal solutions, but they will gain awareness of and practice on strategic human capital management policies and practices. Based on Category Management Leadership Council (CMLC) spend analysis, the Human Capital and Training Solutions (HCaTS) contract, the flagship human capital and training category management solution co-lead by OPM and GSA, is expected to achieve $199 million in annual government-wide costs savings driven by increased competition and reduced prices paid.

Insider Threat and Security Clearance Reform

OPM is also a co-leader of the Cross-Agency Priority Goal concerning prevention of Insider Threats and Security Clearance reform. The agency will continue to direct significant resources to this goal in FY 2017.


The Federal Government will continue to work to mitigate the inherent risks posed by personnel with access to cleared facilities, systems, and other personnel. To achieve this objective, agencies will work through the Performance Accountability Council to achieve the following:

Develop Insider Threat Programs: Ensure compliance with national insider threat policies, to include establishing an insider threat program that meets the established minimum standards.

Improve Oversight and Quality of Background Investigations: Improve oversight to ensure investigations and adjudications meet government-wide quality standards.

Eliminate Backlog of Reinvestigations: Drive adherence to existing security and suitability reinvestigation timeliness guidelines, prioritizing submissions based on risk, and increasing the frequency of reinvestigations for high risk populations.

Improve Automation: Increase the availability and usage of automation to access information relevant to suitability and security background investigations.

Share Adverse Information: Ensure internal and external processes exist for sharing reported adverse information.

Enhance Security Culture: Ensure awareness training and reporting mechanisms exist for early detection of actions and behaviors of concern, and establish performance accountability for security for all personnel.