03.20.2012 DorobekINSIDER: The changing government market; dealing with tech junk; opening up government legal documents
Up front today… two interesting items that sure show how times are changing.
One… would would guess we would ever say Bon Jovi, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Department of Urban Development together in one phrase? Well, welcome 2012. VA and HUD have unveiled a new federal app challenge designed to help homeless veterans quickly find shelter and other kinds of assistance. TechPresident reports that the mobile app will, essentially, act as a travel portal for homeless veterans. And Bon Jovi said that the idea for the project came to him after a volunteer at the JBJ Soul Kitchen in New Jersey asked for help finding a bed for the night.
The other story that shows how times have changes — or are changing and will change… Imagine if the CIA could spy using your washing machine… or dryer. Wired says that those intelligent household devices may be able to be tapped. And CIA Director David Petraeus has said that the Internet of PCs is leading to the Internet of things — devices of all types. And that could be tapped. And it is a legally gray area.
Ah, times have changed…
On today’s program…
- The changing face of federal IT and its acquisition process.
- What happens to hardware in your office when it’s no longer fit for service? Hit the dumpster? You’ll learn what GSA wants you to do.
- The challenges of making legal documents available online. We’ll talk to a professor who has studied the issue.
All that ahead…
But after the break, we start off, as we do each day, with the stories that impact your life for Tuesday the 20th of March, 2012… your government world in 120-seconds…
- House Republicans, seizing on what they hope is a potent campaign issue in the midst of a muddled political and economic landscape, will introduce a 2013 budget today that cuts tax rates and nearly eliminate U.S. taxes on American corporations’ earnings from overseas operations. The Wall Street Journal reports that the proposal, to be offered by Rep. Paul Ryan (R., Wis.), who has become the Republicans’ leading figure on budget issues, has little chance of becoming law soon. While likely to be welcomed by House GOP rank-and-file members, it would be rejected by the Democratic-controlled Senate.
- The White House is hoping to make connecting with people with disabilities easier and they’re using technology to make it happen. They’ve created a technology strategic plan outline… and they’re looking for your help to flesh it out. The effort is part of the administration’s commitment to Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. Federal CIO Steven VanRoekel has posted the outline, which includes ideas from senior officials and staff from across the Executive Office and advocacy groups at: http://section508.ideascale.com. It includes high level objectives, initiatives, focus areas, and potential measures. But now they want your input. The site is open for public comment for the next couple months.
- The contractor pay debate is back in the Senate. The issue centers around taxpayer-funded reimbursements for contractor executive pay. Government Executive says two senators have introduced a bill to lower the cap for such payments to $400,000. They’ve also widened its applicability from the current top five highest-paid employees to a contractor’s entire staff. The bi-partisan measure by Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA), will “build on” a measure that passed in December as part of the National Defense Authorization Act that extended the current reimbursement cap — $693,951 — to cover all defense contractor employees.
- The Defense Department is filing some vacancies. President Obama has nominated Dr. Kathleen H. Hicks, as the principal deputy under secretary of defense for Policy, and Derek Chollet, as assistant secretary of defense for International Security Affairs. Federal News Radio says Hicks is currently the deputy under secretary of defense for Strategy, Plans, and Forces. And Chollet is currently the senior director for Strategic Planning for the National Security Staff at the White House.
- Federal agencies got a mixed score when it came to FISMA compliance. The Office of Management and Budget’s annual report gives departments and agencies mixed grades in their efforts to secure federal IT. But GovInfo Security says, OMB touts the success of the first CyberStat reviews with agencies. The reviews examined the metrics reported through a system known as CyberScope and the development of in-depth remediation plans to quickly address and correct any weaknesses identified in their cybersecurity program. GovInfo Security has made a couple really easy to follow charts and graphs showing how agencies did.
- It’s tax season so your probably in the middle of sending the IRS your information. But a new Government Accountability Office report says the IRS failed to implement proper security controls on their financial and tax-processing systems. The missing controls could lead to potential insider threat and could taxpayer information at risk. IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman says the IRS will give GAO a detailed corrective action plan to address auditors’ concerns, but contends the tax agency, in essence, has adhered to IT security guidance established by the National Institute of Standards and Technology and says taxpayer information is safe.
- This could be your last chance to comment on the Navy’s 10 billion dollar Next Gen contract. Washington Technology says the Navy has released another draft solicitation for its Next Generation Enterprise Network giving industry one final shot to comment on the huge contract. Comments are due at the end of the month. The NGEN contract is a follow-on to the Navy-Marine Corps Intranet contract that was awarded in 2000 to EDS.
The changing government marketplace
Warren Suss, president of Suss Consulting
Do more with less — it has become the mantra of the Age of Austerity. But could the Age of Austerity be fundamentally changing the government marketplace — for government and industry. Are also fundamentally changes going on to the way the government buys and manages projects. Warren Suss is the president of Suss Consulting.
He says the new budget reality is really destabilizing the federal contracting equilibrium.
Suss in AOL Government: New Budget Reality Is Destabilizing Federal Contracting Equilibrium
Trashing technology: What to do with it after you’re done?
Jan Dobbs, Deputy Associate Administrator at the General Services Administration’s Office of Asset and Transportation Management
What happens to hardware in your office when it’s no longer fit for service? The General Service Administration has some solutions. They’ve come out with their Disposal of Federal Electronic Assets bulletin. It’s all part of the President’s 2009 Executive Order on Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance. Jan Dobbs is the Deputy Associate Administrator at the Office of Asset and Transportation Management at GSA. She told me how this bulletin will change your disposal at your agency.
GSA Bulletin FMR B-34: Disposal of Federal Electronic Assets (Feb. 29, 2912) [PDF]
Computers For Learning Program – http://www.gsa.gov/portal/content/101823
Making legal documents fully available online
Alan Kowlowitz is a Government Fellow at the Center for Technology in Government at the University of Albany
There are unique challenges to making legal documents available online. Alan Kowlowitz is a Government Fellow at the Center for Technology in Government at the University of Albany. He’s looked at the transition from paper records to digital.
Before we head out… a few closing items…
- Lynndie England, the former U.S. solider made infamous in 2004 for a photo of her giving two thumbs-up at Abu Ghraib… she is speaking out. She spoke to the publication The Daily… and she says she isn’t sorry for how she and her fellow soldiers abused prisoners there. “They’re trying to kill us, and you want me to apologize to them?” Still, there is one thing that England says she regrets that her photos, which sparked anti-American backlash in many regions of the world, may have led to increased U.S. casualties.
- The Merit Systems Protection Board is having to do more with less. The Merit Systems Protection Board, of course, plays a significant role in the lives of federal workers. But The Washington Post reports that the chairman of the board is testifying to a Senate subcommittee today that she will be unable to fill 18 posts this year and that about a third of the board’s staff is eligible to retire in less than three years.
- Government contractors can’t make political donations, right? What about to these new super PACs? The Los Angeles Times reports that a super PAC that has spent more than $35 million on behalf of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has accepted donations from federal contractors despite a 36 year ban against those kinds of expenditures. The law is mirky on this issue.
- AND… in just days… more than 3 million of the new iPads have been sold. I have mine — I’m picking it up today. I’ll report back tomorrow.
That does it for us today. The producers of GovLoop Insights’ DorobekINSIDER are Emily Jarvis and Stephen Peteritas.
You can find more information about today’s program — and we’re always looking for your comments — DorobekINSIDER.com and GovLoop Insights… insights.govloop.com.
I’m Christopher Dorobek… Thanks for being here. Go out and do good work.
And we’ll see you online… DorobekINSIDER.com