Archive for May 2012
05.11.2012 DorobekINSIDER: Public Service Recognition Week: A look back at the highs and lows of the Secret Service
Welcome to GovLoop Insights Issue of the Week with Chris Dorobek… where each week, our goal is to find an issue — a person — an idea — then helped define the past 7-days… and we work to find an issue that will also will have an impact on the days, weeks and months ahead. And, as always, we focus on six words: helping you do your job better.
This week has been Public Service Recognition Week and it comes on the heels of a lot of public service that probably that probably should not be recognized. Earlier this week, we unveiled the Partnership for Public Service Service to America Medal finalists — the SAMMIES… and we spoke to Tom Fox of the Partnership for Public Service about how YOU can help recognize good work… and a programming note: Starting on Thursday, we will be introducing you to the SAMMIES finalists.
There were a number of stories competing for the big issue this week.
- One was the budget. The House late in the week approved a bill that would adjust sequestration. The New York Times reports that the house approved the legislation that would cut $310 billion from the deficit over the next decade — and it shifted the cuts away from defense spending and toward domestic programs. The Times notes the bill has no chance of passing the Senate and the White House issued a veto threat saying the bill fails the test of fairness and shared responsibility.
- Meanwhile the House passed the first appropriations bill of the year — a measure that would spend $51 billion on the departments of Commerce, Justice, NASA and other related agencies. The Hill notes that the bill is the least controversial of the 12 annual appropriations bill and — are you sensing a theme here — it has no chance of making it through the Senate and the White House issued a veto threat. The White House has said President Obama will veto any and all of the 12 bills until the House renounces the top-line spending level in the overall budget written by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). The legislation cuts spending by about 3 percent compared to current levels, which Republicans said shows their ongoing commitment to trim spending. The GOP said spending by agencies covered by the bill has been cut by 20 percent over the last three budget cycles.
- The House also voted for a plan that would increase the percentage of salary that federal employees must pay toward their retirement benefits. But — ready for it — the plan is unlikely to make it through the Senate.
- The gay marriage discussion. This is mostly a policy issue and we’ll leave that for others, but it does indicate the ongoing battle between the White House and Capitol Hill. The Washington Post notes that on the same day President Obama became the first president to fully embrace same-sex marriage, House Republicans once again approved measures that limit Obama administration policy decisions and federal policies favorable to gays and lesbians… they voted to bar the Justice Department from using any federal funds to oppose the Defense of Marriage Act. And the House Armed Services Committee voted to bar gay and lesbian service members from getting married or holding “marriage-like” ceremonies at military facilities.
Our Issue of the Week: It’s public service recognition week. The time when managers and the public are supposed to take a step back and really highlight the amazing work government workers do on a daily basis. But this year has been rough for many feds — especially those in the Secret Service — who are facing a public service nightmare with the prostitution scandals in Colombia and El Salvador. So for our issue of the week we wanted to harken back to a time when the Secret Service was held in really high esteem. A new book Rawhide Down draws on exclusive new interviews and never-before-seen documents, photos, and videos about the near assassination of President Ronald Reagan. The book’s author Del Quentin Wilber told me what he thinks of the current scandals hitting the Secret Service.
- What impact will cloud computing have on CIOs? Keith Engelbert is CIO of Student Transportation Inc., an operator of school buses, writes in Fortune about a recent report about, “The Changing Role of the CFO,” and it found that 17 percent of corporate financial decision-makers believe the position of the chief information officer will disappear from the business landscape in the next five years. Why? The cloud. Technology has dramatically changed the way organizations invest in and consume technology — and CIOs who do not value the cloud in today’s current IT environment are putting an expiration date on their usefulness in the enterprise. CIOs need to fundamentally shift their strategic thinking as it relates to technology because cloud services all but guarantee uptime and data’s availability. CIOs can now use cloud services to focus on how data is accessed, shared and used within the organization which is the next evolution of the title.
- Why Do Our Best and Brightest End Up in Silicon Valley and Not D.C.? The Atlantic says that the country’s most thoughtful used to look to politics to make a difference on issues like healthcare reform. But now they come to Google Ventures. And David Ewing Duncan sat down with Bill Maris, who leads Google Ventures. Maris says that government is really successful when it’s willing to make big bold objectives like: We’re going to get to the moon. And they’re willing to invest in those things to get there. He says there never was a bold statement like — we’re going to invent the Internet. Instead it was government investing in these technologies and things will develop from them… and that flows out to universities, which flows out to companies. Maris says that this system has given us a lot, and he says he hope will continue to give us in the future. But without leaders with big ideas we get stuck.
- How do you create a culture that embraces innovation? Scott Anthony of Innosight says it requires a highly engaged leadership and the right motivating factors — guess what? It isn’t only money… and, in fact, he mentions a DorobekINSIDER Book Club book — Daniel Pink’s Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us
- Why does it seem that CEOs don’t get innovation? Stephan Lindegard writes that top executives are risk adverse, and too often they aren’t taught how to be innovative. We have his post of five reasons why CEOs don’t get innovation…
- Finally, are you addicted to Facebook? Well, have you tried to cut down your Facebook time, but you haven’t… or can’t… Or is Facebook impacting your ability to do your job? Mashable writes this is becoming a problem, apparently. Meanwhile in Fast Company, Martin Lindstrom writes about how he managed to put down his iPhone… and even not jump to Google to answer every trivial question that arises.
05.10.2012 DorobekINSIDER How to succeed as a political appointee, Harnessing the power of big data, Ranking local gov’t social media sites
On today’s program for Thursday May 10th, 2012
- How to succeed in government leadership — and yes, that includes political leadership. We’ll talk to Paul Lawrence, one of the authors of the new book, Paths to Making a Difference: Leading in Government.
- Big data — it’s the latest buzz word floating around government. But how do you harness its powers. We’ve got your how to guide.
- How does your city rank when it comes to social media? And what can you learn from those that are doing it well. We’ll talk to the person behind that assessment.
Chris Dorobek got to moderate a panel this morning focusing on the relationship between mobility and leadership this morning. The panel was with the Voyagers — the government-industry partnership program run by the American Council on Technology and the Industry Advisory Council.
Chris says it was an interesting discussion in part because we were reminded that not everybody wants to be mobile… and sometimes they feel that the mobile train is leaving the station and they are being left behind.
John Holland, part of this year’s Voyager’s class, posted here on GovLoop: How will the advancement in technology affect leadership styles in the future .
Chris says he’s always thought that mobile was much more than just telework. The Patent and Trademark Office, which has been a real leader in this space, recently published its 2011 telework annual report and they find that more than 6,500 employees are teleworking at least one day a week… about half of those are working from home between four and five days per week… that’s an increase of 922 people.
- The Pentagon is changing its definition of an insider threats in hopes of rooting out threats earlier and easier. Secrecy News reports, the new definition calls an insider a someone who engages in unauthorized disclosures of information or other activities deemed harmful to national security. The new Instruction comes in the wake of WikiLeaks and complies with a congressional mandate in the 2012 defense authorization act.
- The Postal Service has a new strategy that could keep small office open for business. The plan would keep the existing Post Office in place, but with modified retail window hours. The plan would also keep access to retail lobbies and to PO Boxes unchanged. Postmaster General and CEO Patrick Donahoe says the new strategy would be implemented over a two-year multi-phased approach. Once implementation is completed, the Postal Service estimates they could save half a billion dollars annually.
- The White House could be in hot water after a special counsel report found the Federal Aviation Administration was slow to respond to problems that could put airline passengers at risk. The Washington Post says Air traffic controllers in New York sleeping, playing video games and going home early we among seven main safety concerns Special Counsel Carolyn N. Lerner cited in her letter. Lerner says the Transportation Department needs more oversight of air safety. The Washington Posts says the criticism comes during the safest period in U.S. aviation history.
- The large number of inspector general vacancies could be filling up. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman Darrell Issa has scheduled a hearing to fill the 10 vacancies. The Washington Posts says in the wake of an inspector general report that exposed wasteful spending in the General Services Administration, lawmakers are pressing the Obama administration about similar positions being vacant in several other agencies.
- A new bill is calling for the end of duplicate spending. Federal News Radio says Congressman James Lankford has introduced a new bill that would require the Congressional Research Service to provide a “duplication score” for every piece of legislation. The score is similar to the cost scores that the Congressional Budget Office already gives each bill.
- The missile defense agency is looking for new ways to weed out fake electronic parts in the supply chain. And they want your help. NextGov reports, the incidence of counterfeit parts appearing in military supply chains has risen in recent years. It happens when authorized dealers or original makers run out of parts to replace the military’s aging equipment and turn to unaccredited middlemen for supplies. The Pentagon is looking for solicitations through the end of May.
- And over on GovLoop, we asking are the best employees overworked? GovLoop’s Steve Ressler says sometimes the best and most creative/ innovative people often get overburdened with too much to do (day jobs plus all the special projects). Do you agree? Sound off on GovLoop right now. You can join the conversation on our homepage.
05.09.2012 DorobekINSIDER: Challenges facing gov procurement – and OFPP; recognizing public service; and making open data
On today’s program for Wednesday May 9th, 2012
- The nominee to be the government’s new procurement chief is on Capitol Hill for his confirmation hearing. Joe Jordan isn’t well known — and doesn’t have extensive procurement experience. What should be on his agenda? Insights from the former deputy at the Office of Federal Procurement Policy — Rob Burton.
- It’s Public Service Recognition Week — and Tom Fox from the Partnership for Public Service has some simple ideas to make your employees feel appreciated.
- What’s missing in your open data policy — John Wonderlich from the Sunlight Foundation fills in the gaps.
One possible solution to getting those bills passed? Bundling them all together. Roll Call reports that House Republican leaders are considering bundling appropriations bills. They have also looked at the legislative calendar and the challenges of getting the spending bills passed. So they are considering bundling must-pass spending bills as a way of speeding up the the lengthy process of debating them on the floor. Roll Call notes that if they do that, they risk angering conservatives, who note that leadership has long promised an open process so they can offer hundreds of amendments aimed at cutting spending that they can tout on the campaign trail. Roll calls says, “All of this underscores the quandary Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers faces in trying to pass his dozen bills before the House adjourns this presidential election year: Short workweeks and pushback from Members of both parties will make it a difficult task to complete.”
The House has rejected several proposals to cut spending. The Hill reports that the votes seemed to pit younger Republicans against more senior members — with people who have been around for awhile arguing against further spending cuts. The seven ammendements would have cut $1.4 billion — an additional $1.4 billion from the fiscal 2013 spending bill for the departments of Commerce and Justice. Members approved one of them — a proposal to cut funding for a climate Web site at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration saving $542,000, but the rest of the amendments were rejected. The most aggressive proposal, The Hill says, came from Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) that would have cut 3 percent of all salaries and overhead at the organizations covered by the Commerce and Justice spending bill. That was rejected 137-270.
It seems the GSA conference scandal has another victim — GSA’s 2012 Government Web and New Media Conference. The gov 2.0 conference was scheduled for May 16-17, but it has been postponed. No details on when. While GSA doesn’t say WHY the event was postponed, it isn’t hard to guess.
- One congressman is frustrated waiting for the Department of Homeland Security to file reports with congress, and so he is working to hit the agency in its pocketbook. Politico says that Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL) is generally mild-mannered, but he is witholding hundreds of millions of dollars from headquarters accounts until DHS files reports with Congress — even threatening access to the Coast Guard Gulfstream that carries top officials about.
- What is a cyber threat? The Federation of American Scientists Secrecy News blog highlights a report by the Sandia National Laboratory that says cyber-security remains a nebulous domain that tends to resist easy measurement — and in some cases, appears to defy any measurement. In order to establish a common vocabulary for discussing cyber threats, and thereby to enable an appropriate response, the Sandia authors propose a variety of attributes that can be used to characterize cyber threats in a standardized and consistent way.
- The Financial Times reports today that a cyberattack against natural gas pipelines has been under way for months — a sophisticated cyberattack intended to gain access to US natural gas pipelines has been under way for several months, the Department of Homeland Security has warned, raising fresh concerns about the possibility that vital infrastructure could be vulnerable to computer hackers.
— Emily Jarvis
05.08.2012 DorobekINSIDER: What the sale of GTSI means for IT contracting; Why video makes changes telework; and A Virtual Tour of the Newseum
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On Today’s Show for Tuesday May 8th, 2012
- GTSI — the company has been a staple of government IT contracting… and it has now been bought. Insights and analysis about what happened and what it means from Nick Wakeman of Washington Technology.
- Could video be the key to telework success? Maybe yes. Find out why.
- The technology behind the Newseum’s new Media Gallery…could be used for government. You’ll learn how with HP.
- We told you last week about how House Republicans were considering a bill that would protect increased defense department spending. Politico says House Republicans have decided to push ahead with plans to protect increased defense spending without raising taxes, largely by cutting more from domestic programs, including aid to the poor. Politico says the bill won’t sit well with Senate Democrats, who are open to “buying down” a portion of the cuts but believe time, the law — and President Barack Obama — are on their side, unless Republicans show some movement on revenues.
- Feds will pay more for their pensions under a new House budget bill. The House Budget Committee approved a bill to avoid the automatic budget cuts scheduled for next year. Government Executive says the alternative budget plan heads to the full House for a vote later this week. Federal News Radio says the bill is designed to skip sequestration by overriding the Budget Control Act now in effect. The new bill includes a 5 percent hike in the amount federal employees contribute to their retirement costs. That raise would be phased in over five years. The White House has vowed to veto the bill should it come to the president’s desk.
- Merit Systems Protection Board’s [PDF] policies are getting a makeover. Federal News Radio says the board is looking at how the board is organized, how members make decisions and its practices and procedures for hearing and deciding cases. Chairman Susan Grundmann called the revision a “watershed event.” The agency has already gathered ideas from staff and outside stakeholders. It will publish a proposal in June to give the public time to comment.
- Former Federal CIO Vivek Kundra warns that Facebook could be the end of conferences as we know it. Kundra, speaking at at the Excellence in Government conference sponsored by Government Executive, said the federal government needs to use social networks to bring people together from all around the world, not more conferences. He says agencies — many of which are “multi-national” with foreign offices — establish online communities where U.S.-based staff, overseas co-workers and their customers can informally connect anytime, anywhere
- The House wants to clear up any confusion with the Pentagon’s new cybersecurity role. NextGov reports, House Armed Services Committee chairman Rep. Howard McKeon has called for legislative language to clarify that the Pentagon can launch secret cybersecurity operations to support military efforts and guard against network attacks. In a release of his draft bill of the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal 2013, the Republican lawmaker pushed for a clause to confirm that the Pentagon has “the authority to conduct clandestine military activities in cyberspace.”
- Hackers for good? That’s the idea behind the new group of hackers called the Unknowns.Government Computer News says the group hacked into NASA and Air Force computers to help those agencies patch up security holes. In a blog post on Pastebin, the group said that unlike hacker group Anonymous, it is not against the U.S. government. The Unknowns posted the names and email addresses of government employees but then sent emails to those same employees telling them how they could protect themselves in the future.
- And on GovLoop, we’re asking you does your team resemble the Avengers? How many of you have been on a team with team members that resemble one of the Avengers? Take Tony Stark (aka Iron Man), for example. He’s a man who knows everything, has ego for days along with a complimenting sarcastic attitude; or Dr. Bruce Banner (aka The Hulk) a guy who struggles hard to hide his demon under a veneer of cool, and is a recluse (and not much of a team player) because of it; or Thor — the demi god who comes down with a big hammer and acts without complete information most of the time. What do you think? Does your team resemble this group?
- Why is austerity so unpopular in Europe? The Washington Post says because, at least so far, it hasn’t worked. Europeans are rebelling against austerity. That’s the read on Sunday’s elections in Greece and France. But why do voters loathe austerity? Perhaps because, as economists have found, efforts to rein in budget deficits can take a wrenching toll on living standards, especially in a recession. And the Washington Post highlights a recent paper for the International Monetary Fund that looked at 173 episodes of fiscal austerity over the past 30 years. These were countries that, for one reason or another, cut spending or raised taxes to shrink their budget deficits. And the results were typically painful: Austerity, the IMF paper found, “lowers incomes in the short term, with wage-earners taking more of a hit than others; it also raises unemployment, particularly long-term unemployment”.
- Meanwhile, what can be done to put GSA back together again? Federal Computer Week has a column from former GSAer Bob Woods who says there is reason for hope. While it could get worse before it gets better, Woods says this is an opportunity to look at how business has been done — and do a real assessment about whether there is a better way. And he says, streamlining GSA’s regions is one obvious step.
05.07.2012 DorobekINSIDER: And the SAMMIES nominees are…; EPA turns trash into energy; and the Newseum’s New Media Gallery
On today’s program for Monday May 7th, 2012:
- The nominees are in for the Oscars for Federal Employees — The Service to America Medals award.
- Turning garbage into energy at the EPA — just one of the amazing SAMMIES nominees.
- Taking an inside virtual tour of the Newseum’s new media gallery here in Washington… and what it means for government.
Big federal government contracting news this morning: GTSI, which government marketing guru Mark Amtower called the grand-daddy of government resellers, is being sold. GTSI announced this morning that Unicom, based in Los Angeles, is buying the company for $77 million. Washington Technology says it is quite a fall from grace for the company, particularly after the company’s run-in with the Small Business Administration over its small business sales.
Did you see 60 Minutes last night? CBS News correspondent Leslie Stall spoke to two Air Force pilots who refuse to fly the F-22 Raptor — the most expensive fighter ever — because it has been plagued by a mysterious flaw that causes its pilots to become disoriented, apparently from a lack of oxygen.
- 12.1 — that’s the percentage of spending cuts agencies could see next January if Congress does not come up with an alternative to sequestration. Federal News Radio says the cuts are based on agencies’ fiscal 2012 discretionary budgets. The Budget Control Act passed last August called for reducing federal spending by $1.2 trillion over the next decade with half of the cuts come from defense spending. Congress returns today, and the House will take up an alternative to sequestration.
- There could be another rounds of base closures. The Washington Post says the Defense Department is gearing up for consolidation once again, putting local companies and lobbying firms on alert. Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta says that despite the controversy that normally surrounds such moves, “it is the only effective way to achieve infrastructure savings.”
- Former Immigration and Customs Enforcement intelligence chief James Woosley pleaded guilty for part in a scheme to file almost $600,000 in false travel expense reports for contractors. MSNBC says Woosley must surrender over $180,000 of his profits in a scheme that also included several other ICE employees and contractors. He faces 18 to 27 months in jail and a potential fine.
- We told you about this last week, but the Washington Post is reporting this morning that the Air Force plans to restart the IT contracts after protests from losing companies. The April 16 award for network equipment is valued at $6.9 billion. General Dynamics and technology company GTSIwere among nine contractors picked to share the network equipment contract. The Government Accountability Office says the Harris Corp and Dell, were two of those contractors challenging the deal.
- Speaking of contracting – government relationships….The White House has just released a second round of advice for how government and its contractors can communicate more freely. Federal News Radio says the announcement is part of a new memo from the Office of Federal Procurement Policy that outlines eight myths plus eight realities to dispose of them. The so-called Mythbusters 2 is signed by acting procurement chief Lesley Field. The new memo emphasized industry misconceptions. The original 2010 Mythbusters memo dealt with myths held by government.
- ‘Tis not the season—to be moving Christmas trees, that is. The National Christmas Tree succumbed to “transplant shock” after being moved from the White House lawn, the National Park Service reported Saturday. The Park Service says it already has a replacement in mind for the Colorado blue spruce that occupied a spot on the White House’s South Lawn, and it will be in place by the time the holiday season rolls around next winter. The new tree reportedly will not be planted until October.
- And on GovLoop, we go myth busting with the federal sector equal employment opportunity (EEO) complaint process. Yeah, it doesn’t sound like all that much fun. But it’s an important part of government that many people don’t understand. We separate fact from fiction in a post by GovLoop member David Grinberg.
A Few Closing Items:
- It hasn’t happened since Richard Nixon was president — the government shrank. The New York Times’ Floyd Norris reports that for the first time in 40 years, the government sector of the American economy has shrunk during the first three years of a presidential administration. Spending by the federal government, adjusted for inflation, has risen at a slow rate under President Obama. That increase has been more than offset by a fall in spending by state and local governments, which have been squeezed by weak tax receipts. In the first quarter of this year, the real gross domestic product for the government — including state and local governments as well as federal — was 2 percent lower than it was three years earlier, when Barack Obama took office in early 2009, the Times says. The last time the government actually got smaller over the first three years of a presidential term was when Richard M. Nixon was president. That decrease was largely because of declining spending on the Vietnam War.
- A budget update:The Hill reports that House Republicans will bring their budget up for a vote this week. The Hill says that House lawmakers will return to a familiar debate over the deficit when they come back to Washington today. Republican leaders are planning to bring up a $260 billion measure to slash the budget gap and replace across-the-board spending cuts set to take effect in 2013. And we mentioned this earlier, but… The bill, known as a ‘reconciliation’ proposal, is the product of six House committees and will be combined into one piece of legislation by the House Budget Committee… Principally, the GOP measure would replace $78 billion in sequestered cuts resulting from the failure of the congressional ‘supercommittee’ to strike a bipartisan deficit deal last fall… In addition to the $78 billion in sequester replacement, the bill contains an additional $180 billion in cuts aimed at reducing the deficit. Among the federal programs hit are food stamps, funding for the 2010 healthcare and financial regulatory laws and the refundable child tax credit.
- The Human Capital League has a wonderful post… Top 10 HR Lessons from Star Wars -Number 10: Nepotism doesn’t work… and they have Darth Vader saying, ‘Luke, you know, I really think you should reconsider Imperial employment. We pay competitively, and we have a great benefits package.
Welcome to GovLoop Insights Issue of the Week with Chris Dorobek… where each week, our goal is to find an issue — a person — an idea — then helped define the past 7-days… and we work to find an issue that will also will have an impact on the days, weeks and months ahead. And, as always, we focus on six words: helping you do your job better.
Happy Star Wars Day — yes, Star Wars Day… it’s May 4th, so May the 4th Be With You!
There has been much going on this week.
- There was more skirmishing about budgets on Capitol Hill, although it seems very unlikely that agency budgets will get passed on time. The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank notes that by the time the Republican-led House returns next week, members will have been working in Washington on just 41 of the first 127 days of 2012 — and that was the busy part of the year. They are planning out of session for 17 of the year’s remaining 34 weeks, and even when they are in town the typical workweek is three days.
- The federal CIO, Steven VanRoekel, has released the Federal IT Shared Services Strategy. Speaking at InformationWeek’s Government IT Leadership Forum, VanRoekel said that agency CIOs should look first to IT spending within their agencies for commodities such as e-mail and storage — and after that, they should look to consolidate HR and financial management with other agencies, NextGov reports.
- With all the bad press public servants have seen in recent weeks, it’s good to see people making a difference… and saving the government money. The nation’s highest civil service awards — the Presidential Ranks of Distinguished Executive and Distinguished Professional — were announced last week at the Senior Executive Association’s 27th annual awards banquet. The Senior Executive Association notes that the 2011 award winners’ nominations show that they saved the federal government more than $36 billion.
But our issue of the week, HR… Yes, human relations… chief people officer… chief human capital officer… they’re all terrible names for a job that SHOULD be so important, but too often at agencies — and many organizations, it is a role that is mostly regulatory, not strategic.
Liz Ryan is a strategist on the people relationships — her company, Ask Liz Ryan, focuses on the new-millennium workplace — yes, the new world workplace. She is also a former Fortune 500 HR executive.
She says that HR — human capital — is still not fully understood or appreciated.
Your Weekend Reads
- It’s graduation season — and I love commencement speeches. It really is an opportunity to step back and ponder what makes a successful life… offer advice. Of course, the best of the best was Steve Jobs commencement speech to Stanford University in 2005. If you haven’t seen it or heard it, it’s 15-minutes long and well worth a few hours. Watch it a few times.
- That being said, there were two pieces looking at commencement speeches that I saw this week. Charles Wheelan, author of the book 10 1/2 Things No Commencement Speaker Has Ever Said writes in The Wall Street Journal about what they don’t tell you at graduation. Things like… yes, some of your worst days lie ahead. Wheelan says that graduation is a happy day. But he says that his job is to tell you that if you are going to do anything worthwhile, you will face periods of grinding self-doubt and failure. Be prepared to work through them. He also says the goal should be to not make the world worse…
- The other piece by Steve DeVaughn about the commencement speech that he says he’s never been invited to give, and he offers advice like: Reserve the right to be smarter tomorrow than you are today.
- Facebook this week announced that you can now post if you are an organ donor. SmartMoney says this move experts say could prompt social-media companies to take on roles once reserved for government agencies. And they post others — having people posting when they vote to encourage voting… or when they pay their taxes.
- With the approaching end of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, changes are coming to the military services — a transition. The Christian Science Monitor writes that the military is working on plans to retain the best and the brightest so they can be better prepared for whatever lies ahead.
- Meanwhile, the Army Chief of Staff Ray Odierno writes in Foreign Affairs about the U.S. Army in a time of transition.
- How would you fix washington? The Washington Post asked the chamber’s referees, Alan Frumin, the Senate parliamentarian, who is retiring after 35 years. One of his recommendations: Speed up the confirmation process by putting key positions on a fast track.
05.02.2012 DorobekINSIDER: Why Feds and their Leaders don’t connect, What doing more with less means for CIOs and Matchmaking with the SBA and Government
On today’s program for Wednesday May 2nd 2012
- How would you rate leadership in your organization? A new assessment from the Partnership for Public Service shows — not great. We’ll find out why and what can be done.
- Doing more with less — that is the mantra these days. What does it mean for federal CIOs? An early look at the findings from TechAmerica’s 22nd annual Federal CIO survey.
- The government is trying to reach out and work with more small business contractors — how is that going? What should agency leaders be looking for?
There has been much discussion about government conference — and what impact the GSA 2010 Western Regions Conference will have on conferences over all. Jered Serbu of Federal News Radio notes that the Defense Department has called off its annual procurement conference scheduled for later this month. On the DOD Web site announcing the change, officials say that the event will be rescheduled for later this year. And, using good passive voice, they say, “More time was needed to ensure that the training courses to be provided at the conference were aligned with the Department’s Better Buying Power Initiatives.”
With all the bad press public servants have seen in recent weeks, it’s good to see people making a difference… and saving the government money. The nation’s highest civil service awards — the Presidential Ranks of Distinguished Executive and Distinguished Professional — were announced last week at the Senior Executive Association’s 27th annual awards banquet. The Senior Executive Association notes that the 2011 award winners’ nominations show that they saved the federal government more than $36 billion.
- Lawmakers are asking for more time to pass a final bill to restructure the postal service. And they’re asking to delay the first round of post office closures to make it happen. The Postal Service has put more than 3,000 post offices on the chopping block, but it has agreed not to close any of them until May 15. Backers of a bill that just passed the Senate say they need more time than that to convince the House to go along with their plan. Congress.org says senators don’t want the Postal Service to try to get some closures “in under the wire” while the House deliberates.
- Three marines are accused of injuring a Brazilian stripper after a night out. The Daily Beast says the three Marines and a civilian staffer were assigned to the U.S. embassy. In an embassy van, the men drove to a nightclub called Apple, known for music, cocktails, and sex-for-hire. According to those familiar with the venue, it was not the first time U.S. government personnel had visited the club. The incident is the third sex scandal in a string of incidents involving the secret service in Colombia and El Salvador.
- Protests on the NetCents II contracts have the Air Force rethinking its awards decision. The Air Force has asked the Government Accountability Office to dismiss a group of bid protests over its Network-Centric Solutions-2 contract. Washington Technology says the Government Accountability Office has received protests from nine companies who failed to win spots on the $6.9 billion Network-Centric Solutions-2 contract. The program supports the Global Information Grid architecture, the Defense Information Infrastructure, the Air Force, and the Defense Communications Systems’ info-structure for computer networks and telecommunications network mission areas.
- The Interior Department has selected Google Apps for Government for their cloud email and collaboration services. The move is part of a major efficiency initiative that will leverage modern technology to save up to $500 million in taxpayer dollars by 2020. We talked about that IT transformative initiative with Deputy Assistant Secretary for Technology, Information and Business Services — Andrew Jackson. You can find the hour long conversation on our website dorobekinsider dot com.
- It was a mixed month for the federal retirement plan funds. For April, only three of the 10 Thrift Savings Plan funds showed gains, while the others showed negative returns for the month. F Fund, which is made of of U.S. bonds, had the strongest showing in April, up more than 1 percent. The G Fund, which never has a bad day, was up 0.15 percent; and the L Income Fund, the most conservative of the lifecycle funds, was almost unchanged, up 0.01 percent. All of the other funds were in negative numbers, with the I Fund, made up of international stocks, showing the biggest decrease of 1.87 percent. For the year to date, however, all the funds are showing significant returns — many in double digits.
- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency has deployed a new tool to help the United Statesbecome a more “weather-ready nation.” Federal News Radio says Rapid Refresh tests of the new tool has delivered more accurate predictions of fast-developing weather emergencies, like heavy rains that pummeled the Midwest last summer. It updates every hour with an forecast for the next 18 hours. NOAA says that’s important for pilots, as well as weather forecasters.
- And over on Govloop, we’re talking about 3-D. And graphics aren’t the only thing that come in three dimensions. When you think of Open Gov, what comes to mind? Transparency and accountability? Greater access to data? As if turns out, Open Gov isn’t that easy to define, and everyone seems to have their own opinion on which dimension is most important. We want to know what you think. So head over to GovLoop to check it out.
— Emily Jarvis