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USCG’s Adm. Thad Allen talks government 2.0

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USCG's Adm. Thad Allen (USCG photo)

USCG Adm. Thad Allen (USCG photo)

I mentioned that we spoke to Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Thad Allen on Federal News Radio’s Friday edition of The Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris. Our Internet editor Dorothy Ramienski turned the interview into a story. You can read that here. You can hear the interview here. [.mp3]

We actually spoke to Adm. Allen on Thursday, but that show was so packed, we couldn’t give the interview the attention that it deserved, so… we saved it for Friday.

The Coast Guard is a fascinating organization — one of the better managed government agencies. And I give a lot of credit to Allen for deciding to play a leadership role in government 2.0.

I think it goes clear back to the digitalization of our environments staring back in the 1980’s with personal computing and I believe there is a new pattern of behavior emerging in our society where people congregate and aggregate to do things differently using information technology. These are the people we want to bring into the Coast Guard and nurture.

As regular readers know, I’m fascinated by government 2.0 because I think there are very real opportunities here. There is a confluence of factors — the push for change, the swath of young people who will join the federal government, and then the scores of tools that are available out there now — easy to use tools. And then government is uniquely suited to tap into the power of these tools because government, in particular, needs to share information across a variety of groups — internally and externally. So there are real opportunities here. That being said, it does involve change.

I have heard at recent meeting people saying, ‘It’s about time government gets around to this.’ See this comment on an unofficial USCG blog,

Lets stop talking about this and get on with it. Off the self technology that is running on OPS (other peoples servers) can get you there today. Could we be saving more lives today if were would stop worrying about what a blog might or might not say or post. Move out, you have my support.

Most agencies aren’t behind the curve on this. In the private sector, there aren’t many organizations — outside of Google and Cisco, for example — that make collaboration a part of the way they do business. It isn’t as easy as it seems. And it can involve some real organizational changes. Given that government agencies are inherently slow to change, I give the ones testing it out real credit.

Agencies have to be careful and I think it is very wise to touch their toes into the water rather then just jumping into the deep end of the pool. All of that being said, leadership in these situations is essential, and I give Adm. Allen a lot of credit for his leadership role.

The Coast Guard didn’t ask, but… if I were to offer recommendations: Focus on a problem that it is looking to solve. Right now, many of these “government 2.0” applications work best when they have a somewhat focused goal. That lets one learn lessons in a specific application — and use those on other projects.

One think I did forget to ask: Adm. Allen is now on Facebook. What has he learned from using Facebook… what is his experience… We’ll talk to him again and I’ll ask again next time.

Written by cdorobek

October 19, 2008 at 10:10 AM

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  1. […] USCG’s Adm. Thad Allen talks government 2.0 « The Coast Guard is a fascinating organization — one of the better managed government agencies. And I give a lot of credit to Allen for deciding to play a leadership role in government 2.0. Print this article addthis_url = ‘’; addthis_title = ‘USCGs Adm. Thad Allen talks government 2.0′; addthis_pub = ”;   ©2008 Adfero Group. All Rights Reserved. Terms & Conditions    Privacy Policy var gaJsHost = ((“https:” == document.location.protocol) ? “https://ssl.” : “http://www.”); document.write(unescape(“%3Cscript src='” + gaJsHost + “’ type=’text/javascript’%3E%3C/script%3E”)); var pageTracker = _gat._getTracker(“UA-2368616-2”); pageTracker._initData(); pageTracker._trackPageview(); […]

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