Archive for the ‘Policy’ Category
04.10.2012 DorobekINSIDER: The STOCK Act impact on senior executives; leadership lessons from presidents; and libraries 2.0
There are so many good, interesting stories about government doing good — and those stories are out there, but… we start again today with GSA. Yet another GSA official has been put on leave. The second in command of GSA’s Public Building Service has been placed on leave in the wake of the 2010 conference. The Washington Post reports that David Foley is the fourth senior official at the agency to get swept up as a result of the incident. Desa Sealy was appointed interim deputy commissioner. Linda Chero is acting commissioner, coming in from the Mid-Atlantic region. And lawmakers in both parties are calling for hearings.
The Washington Post’s Joe Davidson says today that all feds pay the price for the GSA scandal. “Workers throughout the government will pay a price, too, and it will continue long after the news releases stop,” Davidson says, and he quotes a note from the Washington Post story that broke the news. That federal employee said:
“Unfortunately for those of us in agencies where a. we don’t have money for conferences to begin with, and b. we aren’t even allowed funds to buy coffee when we have on site meetings, the result of the GSA excesses will be increased scrutiny of all travel and training requests. So all of us, honest thrifty agencies included, will have to jump through more hoops and spend more time justifying everything we do.”
And just to further Joe Davidson’s point: Bloomberg has a story about a Justice Department event, including one in Instanbul on drug enforcement, that cost almost twice as much.
We can only hope that cooler, more rational people will make the case that it is important for government employees get out of their office — to learn, to speak to people. But it is also a reminder that almost every action you take is going to be assessed, analyzed, and yes, critiqued, so these events are going to have to be tied to the mission in some way, shape or form.
One final GSA note before we move on: A blast from GSA’s past, and yes, we mean a blast, in every sense of that word: Former GSA Administrator Lurita Doan appeared on Fox and Friends to offer her thoughts on the GSA situation. And Fox & Friends co-host Gretchen Carlson credited Doan for running a tight ship.
One has to remember Doan was fired by the Bush administration not for a contract that she tried to give to her friend that was never awarded, as Fox News suggested. Nor was she fired for allegations that she used her position in the administration to help Republican candidates. She was fired for her mismanagement of the agency. There are many things that can be said about Lurita Doan — and many of the things that were said were unfair. But she did not help GSA — and she did not run a tight ship.
And we all remember this…
GSA aside, we have a good program for you today…
- The STOCK Act… We mentioned this yesterday. This is the law signed by President Obama last week. http://1.usa.gov/HZVlEA Did you know it has some real implications for federal senior executives? I’ve received a bunch of calls and notes about this. We’ll get insights from Bill Bransford, a partner at Bransford and Roth and the attorney for the Senior Executives Assocation.
- Leadership lessons from presidents. We’ll talk to the author of a new book that looks at five presidential leadership qualities with its author Michael Eric Siegel.
- And libraries. They have always played a unique role in communities, but that role is changing — and quickly. We’ll talk to somebody who has looked at how libraries are doing more with less… and are remaining relevant… and surviving.
All that ahead…
But after the break… we start with the stories that impact your life for Tuesday the 10 of April, 2012… your government world in 120-seconds…
03.22.2012 DorobekINSIDER: Disruptive innovation with Deloitte’s Bill Eggers; creating Ethics.gov and Virginia Decoded
We start off with a topic we come to so often… your money…
The House Budget Committee passed the Republican version of the fiscal 2013 budget yesterday — but just barely. Ezra Klein in the Washington Post’s WonkBlog notes that the House Budget Committee has 38 members — 22 Republicans and 16 Democrats. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), the chairman of the House Budget Committee, is the man who has in many ways defined the conservative approach to the federal budget… and yet the Ryan budget passed by only one vote.
Some of that leads the Wall Street Journal to suggest we may be headed to… yes, you know it — a government shutdown… even in the weeks before the election. The Journal says the budget act passed last year has been coming apart in pieces and the disagreements between the White House and congressional Republicans over spending levels has heightened the chance of a government shutdown just weeks before the November election. The budget agreement signed into law last August was supposed to help avoid such a showdown, but today, it seems possible. And the Journal says the flashpoint came this week Congressman Ryan called for more than $1 trillion in discretionary spending for the year beginning Oct. 1. That represents $19 billion less than the level agreed to with the White House last year and put into law.
We’ll watch it carefully, of course… we always try to stay away from shutdown hype, but even the talk impacts how government operates, so we’ll keep an eye on it.
On today’s program…
- Disruptive innovation. What is it… and what does it mean for you? We’ll talk to one of the smartest people I know… one of the real thinkers… Deloitte’s Bill Eggers, author of If We Can Put a Man on the Moon: Getting Big Things Done in Government…
- You’ll meet the Johnny Appleseed of open source — and the man who created Ethics.gov. He also created the site Virginia Decoded, which has been described as the “prettiest state code” you’ve seen. We’ll tell you about that.
All that ahead…
But after the break, as we do each day, we start with the stories that impact your life for Thursday the 22 of March, 2012… your government world in 120-seconds…
03.07.2012 DorobekINSIDER: Leading the Recovery Board; our information diet; and bosses trading places
Today on GovLoop INsights’ DorobekINSIDER:
- There is a new chief watchdog at the Recovery, Accountability and Transparency Board. It’s a visible job. She takes over from Earl Devaney. And she has a tough task leading an organization that could sunset is a little over a year. We’ll introduce you to Kathleen Tighe later in the program.
- You watch what you eat, but do you watch what you read? and watch? and listen to, for that matter? and click on? We’ll talk about OUR role in defining the meadia culture out there… we’re going to talk to Clay Johnson, author of the book The Information Diet.
- And have you seen the TV show Undercover Boss? We’ll talk to a professor about the advantages of walking in somebody else’s shoes.
After the break… the stories that impact your life for Wednesday March 7th, 2012… your government world in 120-seconds…
NOTE: Updated to clean up formatting
Hey there — I’m Christopher Dorobek — the DorobekINSIDER — 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.
And for the month of December, we have been taking taking a break from the issue of the week — and we are taking a look at the issues that defined government for the year. And next week, we’ll talk about the issue of the year — I don’t think anybody will be surprised, but… we’ll talk about it next week.
Over the past few weeks, we spoke about cyber-security — and dealing with big data… How do you deal with all the information that you now have access to?
And then last week, we spoke about how transparency and open government can really help you get your job done — talking to Earl Devaney, who is retiring from government after more than 40 years… for the past two years, he has been the chairman of the Recovery, Accountability and Transparency Board.
This week, we are going to talk to one of the concepts that is really changing… well, it’s changing so much in technology, but it is also having a huge impact on government… and I’m going to bring you some highlights of one of the best speeches that you probably didn’t hear.
But we’re going to start off this week, as we have so many week’s this year, talking about… yes, the budget. And it was a roller coaster week — one of many this year. After it seemed likely that there could be a government shutdown, House and Senate negotiators this week signed off on a more than $1 trillion, year-end spending bill and it made its way through the House on Friday.
The bill is more than 1,200 pages and Politico reports that it covers a remarkable breath of topics — domestic spending… the Pentagon and foreign aid — plus tens of billions more related to the war in Afghanistan.
The funding bill sets government spending for the year at $1.043 trillion, a level agreed to in an August deal that raised the nation’s legal borrowing limit. The figure represents a 1.5 percent drop in spending from the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30.
That doesn’t count $115 billion for overseas military operations, a $43 billion dip since this past year as the war in Iraq winds down. It also doesn’t include $8.1 billion in emergency disaster-relief spending.
The measure covers spending for three-fourths of the government. A number of agencies were covered in the November deal including the departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Housing and Urban Development, Justice, State, and Transportation, as well as NASA and some smaller agencies. This deal covers the all other agencies.
And as a result of this deal, most domestic programs will see cuts as part of the effort to reduce the deficit.
The measure omits funding for the Internal Revenue Service to prepare for the 2014 implementation of the federal health-care law. But it increases funding for border agents and Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
It includes $8.4 billion for the EPA — a $233 million drop from last year. And provides $550 million for Obama’s signature Race to the Top education program, a cut of more than 20 percent.
The other big event, which seemed to get less attention, is the end of the war in Iraq after nine years. The flag of American forces in Iraq has been lowered in Baghdad, and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told troops the mission had been worth the cost in blood and dollars. I’ll leave that debate to others.
About 4,000 US soldiers now remain in Iraq, but they are due to leave in the next two weeks. At the peak of the operation, US forces there numbered 170,000.
With that, we turn to one of 2011’s big issues — even if you don’t work in technology, you’ve heard of cloud. Last week, we spoke with Earl Devaney of the Recovery Board about how cloud computing allowed the Recovery Board to be much more agile then it could otherwise.
In November, I got to moderate a program focusing on cloud computing. [By way of transparency: I was paid to emcee the event.] It was one of the most interesting presentations I had heard all year.
I go to a lot of events and hear a lot of speakers. Many of them are very good — and many of them seek to peer into the future. But one of the best futurists I heard all year was John Rucker. He isn’t a professional speaker. In fact, he even jokes that he looks like a fed. And he is a fed. Rucker is the acting lead for the Department of Veterans Affairs data center consolidation initiative. And he gave a revealing look at the future of technology — and of cloud computing in the government.
After the break… I have his full speech — and his slides as well. But I wanted to bring you two highlights of his speech.
I noted that VA has long been seen as one of the most hapless agencies for government IT. VA CIO Roger Baker and VA CTO Peter Levin have made enormous strides to change that — and Rucker called him the best CIO he has seen in his more than 30 years of government service.
But he noted the cloud is going to have a big impact on the future of government technology…
John Rucker of the Department of Veterans Affairs.
He also said the cloud isn’t for everything…
John Rucker… he is the acting lead for the Department of Veterans Affairs data center consolidation initiative.
As I say, the speech doesn’t have flash — but I think it is one of the most far sighted assessments of government technology that I’ve heard.
It’s GovLoop — I’d love to hear what you think. Do you agree with his assessment? Or is cloud just a lot of hype?
Again, after the break, hear the speech in full… and the DorobekINSIDER must read list…
Our issue of the week is about you doing your job better.But, before we get to that… our round-up of the stories that made news for the third week of October 2011…
And we start with your money… where there were were a number of stories. We lead, of course, with the talk — and the likelihood — that pay for feds will be frozen for the third year. The Washington Post says that Sens. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), the chairman of and ranking member on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, are also suggesting that the way that feds retirement befits are calculated should be recalculated. And Federal Times notes that the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), and other Republican members on the panel called on the budget supercommittee to extend the federal pay freeze through 2015. They also called on the supercommittee to permanently end “non-performance-based” step increases.
Speaking of that budget supercommittee: Many eyes still watching the work that is going on behind closed doors on Capitol Hill. The Washington Post says there is growing unease that the supercommittee might not do much of anything.
Meanwhile the U-S intelligence agencies are bracing for big budget cuts, Wired’s Danger Room blog reports. The intelligence community is facing a “double digit” percentage cut to its $80 billion annual budget, James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, said at a conference this week.
And the age of austerity is getting increasingly real for feds. This week, the Justice Department said it may shut down some offices around the country. That angered attorneys working in those cities… and the Government Accountability Office said it may have to consider ferloughs if proposed budget cuts pass.
Very serious issues, but could there be austerity hype? For government tech, maybe, at least according to immixGroup’s Market Intelligence organization. It presented it’s assessment of the budget this week. They said that while continuing resolutions and ongoing budget cuts will have an impact, most federal IT spending requests are slightly ahead of 2011 levels, with buying trends expected to emphasize telework/mobile computing, cloud computing/virtualization, and cybersecurity.
A few other quick money items:
* The unemployment rate for veterans is outpacing the rate for civilians. The Washington Post has the data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that showed the unemployement rate for veterans at nearly 12 percent, well above the overall jobless rate of about 9.1 percent.
* And we told you last week about Moneyball managers. Politico this week has the story about Moneyball economics. And they quote White House Office of Management and Budget Associate Director for Performance and Personnel Management Shelley Metzenbaum, who wrote an OMB blog post talking about the Moneyball book and film. Moneyball is about the baseball manager who uses… atypical data to make decisions… Metzenbaum says that could be a model for government agencies. (NOTE: Updated 10.23 to include Metzenbaum’s OMB blog post on the topic.)
The defense story of the week… from the New York Times, which reported that the Obama administration considered using cyber-attacks on Lybian leaders to disrupt and disable the Qaddafi government, but eventually decided to use traditional air strikes. (Last week, we spoke to Mark Bowden – the author and journalist. His most famous work is Black Hawk Down, but his most recent book is Worm: The First Digital World War. Hear that conversation here.)
Our procurement story of the week… The Government Accountability Office sustained a protest of the General Services Administration’s cloud computing contract. GAO essentially recommended a do over. We have a link to Washington Technology’s story and the GAO decision — read it for yourself.
A few big management stories this week…
The 7,000 memmbers of the Senior Executive Service — you’re going to be getting a new performance management system… and soon. Federal Times reports the new system, being finalized by the Office of Management and Budget, aims to evaluate SES members on how well they demonstrate the SES’s five “core qualifications”: leading people, leading change, business acumen, building coalitions and being results driven.
And the management of government technology… specifically… the role of the CIO…
GAO put out its assessment on the role of the federal chief information officer. What is probably little shock to anybody: GAO found that CIOs don’t fully have a full seat at the leadership table in many agencies. (AFFIRM will be holding it’s own assessment on the changing role of the CIO at it’s lunch on November 16.)
Meanwhile, the Federal CIO Council put out it’s thoughts on the critically of what are called integrated program teams. We’ll have more on this later, but you can read why the Federal CIO Council believe they are important online… dorobek insider dot com… and insights.govloop.com.
And just in case you think managing technology is easy, a story out of Canada where that government’s CIO said that it could take a decade to remake that country’s IT structure.
Finally, the Wall Street Journal had a story this week about ways of updating the suggestion box. And we’ve seen that across government. TSA — and now DHS — have their Idea Factory. But here is a way to have your say on waste. the National Academy of Public Administration and the Recovery, Accountability and Transparency Board are looking for your insights on how to find waste, fraud and abuse. You can have your say at fedaccountabilitydialogue.net.
I should mention that the Journal also had a story about the trials and tribulations of having these kinds of open forums. The Journal notes that a White House promised to answer questions raised in an online petition. One petition wants to legalize raw milk sales. Others seek to mandate the spaying and neutering of pets, abolish the Transportation Security Administration and even to “formally acknowledge an extraterrestrial presence engaging the human race.” There is even one to save the Postal Service. There you go.
All of that aside, our issue of the week… is about innovation.
There were a few stories this week about different agencies seeking different ways to be innovative. The New York Times reports that the postal union representing letter carriers’ has hired a former investment banker, and a the financial firm to help craft a plan to breathe some life into the ailing postal service.
There has been a lot of discussion in recent years about how the government can be innovative. Next week, at the Industry Advisory Council’s Executive Leadership Conference, a big focus will be on innovation. And, in fact, we are going to try something a big different — maybe even innovative. As part of that discussion, there will be an UN-session. You have have heard of an un-conference. These are where you don’t have a panel — or even an agenda. You have… well, the people in the room. You tap the wisdom of crowds. At ELC, we are doing an UN-session. When I say we, the UN-session is going to be guided by me… and Kathy Conrad… she is the principal deputy associate administrator of GSA’s Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies.
I asked her to join me this week to talk about government and innovation… and she says that the government isn’t given enough credit for its innovation — even by government employees…
Kathy Conrad… she is the principal deputy associate administrator of GSA’s Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies.
Now there are ways that YOU can participate. I’ll post some of our thoughts this weekend on on DorobekINSIDER… and we are creating a GovLoop discussion where you can offer your thoughts… and we are giving people at ELC homework — what are they going to do to be… innovative. And we’re going to follow up and see what works — and what doesn’t. And we hope you will join us for all of that.
And that is our question of the week — what are the biggest challenges to innovation in your organization?
It’s GovLoop — so we’d love to get your thoughts.
Align the Acquisition Process with the Technology Cycle
13. Design and develop a cadre of specialized IT acquisition professionals
14. Identify IT acquisition best practices and adopt government-wide
15. Issue contracting guidance and templates to support modular development
16. Reduce barriers to entry for small innovative technology companies
- Linda Cureton, Chief Information Officer, NASA Headquarters
- Simon Szykman, Chief Information Officer, Department of Commerce
- David Wennergren, Assistant Deputy Chief Management Officer, Department of Defense
- Roger Baker, Assistant Secretary for Information and Technology, Department of Veteran Affairs
Read the rest of this entry »
Takai is widely respected in the state CIO community having served most recently as the CIO for the state of California, where she carried out an enormous consolidation of the state’s data centers. Before that, Takai was the Michigan CIO.
She was first rumored for the DOD CIO post back in February and then officially nominated in March, but that nomination was waylayed — and eventually withdrawn — as Defense officials reinvented the position.
And, in fact, there are changes to the post. Previously the DOD CIO also served as the Assistant Secretary of Networks and Information Integration. That part of the position is gone and Takai will just serve as the DOD CIO.
Takai is already building a strong team. Rob Carey, the former Navy CIO who is widely respected in the federal IT community, will serve as the deputy CIO. He replaces Dave Wennergren, who will leave his position of four years as the Defense Department’s deputy CIO to be the new assistant deputy chief management officer for the Office of the Deputy Secretary of Defense. Carey started in his new post yesterday.
The DorobekINSIDER also heard that Cheryl Roby will serve as Takai’s chief of staff.
While many are heartened that there is a named DOD CIO, there are still questions about the CIOs role within DOD.
Here is Takai’s note to the California CIO staff:
From: Takai, Teri@CIO
Sent: Monday, October 25, 2010 1:03 PM
To: CIO All
Subject: Thank You
Dear Friends and Colleagues, I have accepted a position in the Obama Administration as the Chief Information Officer for the U.S. Department of Defense, and my last day of service in California will be November 5, 2010. Chief Deputy Director Christy Quinlan will be Acting Chief Information Officer during the transition. It has been a tremendous honor to serve as Governor Schwarzenegger’s chief technology advisor and State Chief Information Officer, especially during a critical time of change for California’s IT program.
When I arrived in Sacramento nearly three years ago, the Office of the State Chief Information Officer (OCIO) had just been created in statute. We set out to implement the Governor’s agenda to transform and modernize California’s aging technology infrastructure. Starting next year, the California Technology Agency will move forward as envisioned by the Legislature and Governor as technology continues to play a vital role in delivering services to our constituents. Although there is still a lot to be done, so much has been accomplished thanks to the hard work, vision and support of Governor Schwarzenegger, Susan Kennedy, cabinet members, legislative leaders and IT professionals throughout the state.
I especially want to thank the agency and department CIOs for their leadership and many contributions to our community. On behalf of the OCIO, we appreciate the support, interaction and time spent to dive with us into the details of policies and projects. Most of all, I want to thank the OCIO Team, including the Program Management Office, IT Policy Office, Office of Information Security, Public Safety Communications Division, Office of Technology Services, Enterprise Solutions and Services Unit and Executive Office for working so hard to serve the people of this state. Whether working nights and weekends to move a data center with no interruption of service, building high-profile websitesor designing the next generation of emergency radio systems, the talent and dedication of our Team is unparalleled. With the budget crisis, organizational changes and so many challenges to overcome, you have done such an incredible job, and with a great attitude and true spirit of public service.
I will miss working with you all – keep up the terrific work! I will cherish my time spent here in California and look forward to serving the public in my new position.
State Chief Information Officer