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Posts Tagged ‘Federal News Radio

FCW excerpt of ‘The SPEED of Trust’ — in preparation for Wednesday’s Federal News Radio Book Club

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speed-of-trustThe Federal News Radio Book Club is coming up this week — listen on Federal News Radio 1500 AM. But, as I mentioned earlier, we are working with Federal Computer Week on this project. In the Nov. 17 issue of FCW, there is an excerpt of the Federal News Radio Book Club book, The SPEED of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything by Stephen M.R. Covey. In face, they have several excerpts:

You can also read FCW editor in chief John Monroe on why he selection this particular section of the book here:

As the title indicates, this book is about trust — as it works with individuals, relationships, organizations, markets (in the case of businesses) and society as a whole. For FCW’s purposes, I selected an excerpt that focuses on how leaders can improve the level of trust in their organization.

Covey describes trust as one of the “hidden variables” in the formula for organizational success. An organization that fosters a high level of trust reaps “trust dividends” that have eventually improves the organization’s performance.

Read Monroe’s full post here.

20081117-fcw-coverIn addition to the book excerpt, FCW has an interview with Dave Wennergren, the Defense Department’s deputy CIO, about books. As I have mentioned, Wennergren is one of the brightest people I know, a keen leader, and an avid reader… and he helped us select the first Federal News Radio Book Club book. As I mentioned, I got to talk to Wennergren on Federal News Radio about why he was fascinated by The SPEED of Trust. (You can hear that interview here.) FCW’s Mary Mosquera spoke to Wennergren about… why books?

Wennergren: While CIOs can often feel like they’re alone on a windy corner, there are actually lots of other people working on similar issues. Understanding best practices, successful management approaches and new ideas can inspire you, help set a coherent course, avoid unnecessary pitfalls and deliver better results. Even just talking about what you’ve read and learned helps build relationships, heightens trust, and aligns behaviors and expectations in an organization. You’re better able to do your job, and your team is confident, inspired and ready to move forward.

Read FCW’s full interview here.

And reminder… the Federal News Radio Book Club is Wednesday, Nov. 19 on Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s In Depth with Francis Rose program.

I posted additional resources over the weekend:

I have had several people who e-mailed me to ask if they need to be some place specific to participate in the book club. The answer is yes — just be near your radio or steaming on your computer on Thursday, Nov. 19 for In Depth with Francis Rose, heard on Federal News Radio 1500 AM and between 1-3p ET. On Nov. 19, we will have Covey on the program… also joining us will be Dave Winnergren, the Defense Department’s deputy CIO and one of the best readers — and best managers. More on that in just a moment… I will also be there as will, of course, Francis Rose.

Your comments on the book are always welcome.

Evans offers details on the coming memo defining the CIO

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OMB’s Karen Evans was speaking at the AFFIRM lunch today — and I took the opportunity to ask her about the coming OMB memo defining the CIO, which I told you about last week. (Today on Federal News Radio’s Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris, we had Jason Miller on talking about the memo. Hear that conversation here .mp3]

Of course, agency CIOs have been required for more than a decade. They were mandated by the Clinger-Cohen Act. But since then, the government IT community loves to debate the role of the CIO — and we always hear about CIOs having a ‘seat at the table.’

The Bush administration will publish a memo — as soon as next Monday, Oct. 20 — defining the role of agency CIOs. And Evens said today that information technology is managed very differently in different agencies, and the memo will seek to put a framework around the position — particularly as the government heads into the transition period.

“What we wanted to do was to re-emphasize clearly that it is important that information technology be managed through the transition and be managed on an ongoing basis,” she said.

Evans was very frank about the memo — not that she isn’t usually frank, but…

The memo will focus on the procurement and human capital provisions of the CIO post, Evans said. OMB used as its basis the memo issued by the Homeland Security Department Secreatary Michael Chertoff. The big difference, of course, is that the DHS memo gave the CIO the power of the purse — budget control over IT spending initiatives. I’m told that this memo will not include budget authority.

Here is FCW’s March 2007 story about the DHS CIO announcement. I also made it FCW’s Buzz of the Week for the week of March 19, 2007… and the following week, in FCW’s editorial, under the headline Show ’em the money, I gave DHS credit for giving the DHS CIO spending authority over IT spending.

A few interesting points. One is that DHS, of course, has not made that memo public. DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff first announced these new provisions at a meeting of the Northern Virginia Technology Council in March 2007. (My original post back when I was the FCW Insider.) DHS doesn’t even have that speech posted.

Furthermore, again when I was at FCW, when FCW’s Ben Bain and I sat down for a conversation with DHS CIO Richard Mangonia, he specifically said that the DHS reporting structure didn’t matter.

FCW: How important is it who you report to within the organization?
Mangogna: I get my authority based on my understanding of what needs to get done and the values I get from the secretary, deputy secretary and the undersecretary for management. I don’t need any more direction than that, and I don’t think you have to manage this job by mandatory documents going down to all the CIOs and telling them to do this and that.

The reporting structure isn’t important in terms of leadership — I always say that leadership isn’t about any position. It is about getting people to believe what you believe. The reporting structure, like an agency’s budget, does say something about what an organization values. So it is perhaps interesting that OMB is using DHS as the model for this memo. DHS, after all, is one of the agencies that does not follow the Clinger-Cohen Act requirement that the CIO report to the head of the agency.

Finally, it is important to note that there are only two agencies that how the ‘power of the (IT) purse’ — DHS, by policy, and the Department of Veterans Affairs, by law.

Back to Evans for a moment… She noted that the memo is focusing on information technology, not on information management. That is largely because the information management issue ends up involving so many different parts of different organizations that it would just never get done — particularly with the amount of time left in the Bush administration.

This memo seems to be developing out the the upcoming transition, but… it seems like something that could have been done a long time ago.

Some related reading on this topic:

* FCW was at the AFFIRM event today and has a story.
* In the September issue of AFFIRM’s Signal magazine, Lt. Gen. Harry D. Raduege Jr., USAF (Ret.), the former head of the Defense Information Systems Agency, has a piece headlined, Government Oversight and the CIO . The piece has sturred some buzz around the government IT community. The money quote:

It is time for a major step toward achieving CCA strategic business benefits. This step should be to assign CIOs holistic responsibility for the areas noted above instead of allowing competitive activity outside the CIOs’responsibility and domain. After 12 years, it is time to recruit and train better CIOs, eliminate the gap between the CCA and actual practices, and give CIOs the authority needed to succeed.

* Finally, Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL), as part of his technology platform, has proposed creating a government CTO. Here is what it says on his Web site:

Bring Government into the 21st Century: Barack Obama and Joe Biden will use technology to reform government and improve the exchange of information between the federal government and citizens while ensuring the security of our networks. Obama and Biden believe in the American people and in their intelligence, expertise, and ability and willingness to give and to give back to make government work better. Obama will appoint the nation’s first Chief Technology Officer (CTO) to ensure that our government and all its agencies have the right infrastructure, policies and services for the 21st century. The CTO will ensure the safety of our networks and will lead an interagency effort, working with chief technology and chief information officers of each of the federal agencies, to ensure that they use best-in-class technologies and share best practices.

Of course, it is unclear how this CTO will work within OMB… with CIOs… Sooooo many questions… About 20 days and we’ll at least begin to know who we go to for answers.

I’m fascinated by this and I’m going to keep on it because it seems important to me — and could be a real opportunity for CIOs and the CIO Council. I’m going to be following it closely. Tomorrow on Federal News Radio’s Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris, we’re going to talk to Roger Baker, the former Commerce Department CIO. (Baker was on Federal News Radio’s InDepth program last month talking about the concept of a CTO. It is worth a listen.)

Written by cdorobek

October 14, 2008 at 7:54 PM

Story mentioned on air… Vets using tech to recover from stress disorders

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On Federal News Radio’s Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris today, we were chatting about DOD pondering a requirement to have everybody returning from war zones undergo an assessment about whether they are suffering from post traumatic stress disorder.

Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said there’s a reluctance to acknowledge psychological problems for fear of showing weakness. Troops now fill out questionnaires after combat tours that help determine if they have suffered psychological damage. They’re examined by medical professionals for physical injuries, but not by mental health experts.

It’s a great idea.

Combat trauma theater [Government Health IT, February 19, 2007]
Virtual reality technologies are helping combat veterans overcome the mental wounds of war

The scene from the front of the Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC) offers a postcard view of palm trees swaying in the breeze, rain-greened hills and, in the distance, the Pacific Ocean, marked by the wake of a Navy cruiser leaving Pearl Harbor.

In a nondescript VAMC conference room on the fifth floor at the Pacific Telehealth and Technology Hui, the visions of paradise fade to the reality of combat. After donning a head-mounted virtual reality display, you’re bouncing behind the steering wheel of a Humvee making its way down what looks like a street in Iraq.

At first, the drive seems routine. A woman clad in black crosses the road while a civilian SUV turns in front of the Humvee. The only sounds are engine noises. Dr. Sarah Miyahira, co-director of the Virtual Reality Behavioral Health Program and Laboratory at the center, then asks a technician to turn up the intensity.

The SUV suddenly swerves in front of the Humvee, and the vehicle’s occupants start firing machine guns. A rocket-propelled grenade comes within inches of the Humvee’s windshield. The rat-a-tat-tat of combat fills the room. Then the technician turns off the action, and the room returns to silence.

Miyahira, a VA psychologist, wants to use this immersive experience to help treat Iraq war veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Using virtual reality to treat PTSD has its roots in the traditional treatment for the disorder, imaginal exposure therapy. In that therapy, a patient repeatedly describes traumatic events to a therapist and, in the process, tries to overcome memories, similar to those that have afflicted more than 800,000 Vietnam War veterans.

The virtual reality experience benefits those who cannot or will not conjure the images that cause them stress, Miyahira said. Virtual reality therapy helps break down those barriers by gradually reintroducing patients to the scenes of their trauma. Patients usually attend 10 therapist sessions during a five-week period, Miyahira said.

Continuing reading this fascinating story here.

Written by cdorobek

October 13, 2008 at 5:34 PM

DorobekInsider: Federal News Radio exclusive with GSA’s Tyree Varnado

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GSA's Varnado

GSA's Varnado

Last week, we gave the Coalition for Government Procurement credit for something of a coup, scoring a speaking appearance by GSA’s new acting Federal Acquisition Service Commissioner Tyree Varnado.

But where will you hear him first? On Federal News Radio’s Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris on Thursday afternoon — we’re on from 3-7p ET, exclusively on Federal News Radio’s Daily Debrief.

Morris and I are interviewing Varnado earlier in the day in studio — and we’ll probably go longer then our typical interview, keeping Varnado across two segments.

Among the questions I hope we can get to:

  • What is on his agenda for FAS?
  • What are the most significant issues facing FAS.
  • What is that status on the Federal Acquisition Service merger?
  • The GSA schedule contracts have been under increasing pressures. Are they still a viable contracting vehicle?
  • The Multiple-Award Schedule Panel is recommending that GSA do away with the schedule’s price reduction clause. Thoughts?
  • What should be the proper role of oversight?
  • What is his sense of the role of assisted services?

What other questions should we ask? Post them here… and we’ll get to as many as we can.

I’ve also been told that Varnado will make an unannounced appearance at Input’s FedFocus 2009 conference on Oct. 21 in Falls Church, VA.

I’m looking forward to meeting Varnado.

Written by cdorobek

October 8, 2008 at 11:10 PM

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DorobekInsider:… a slight correction

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I told you about EPA’s remarkable program where, rather then coming up with a message to tell people, have a competition for a public service announcement — and they got some remarkable results.

I said that EPA also “created a social network” where those involved in radon issues could come together.

As Jeremy Ames of EPA’s Indoor Environments Division, who came up with the video contest, noted in the comments section of that post that EPA did not come up with collaboration site

Thanks also for mentioning project. One minor note, is actually a partner website — basically sponsored by the state radon programs, with close collaboration from industry and EPA. I don’t want to take all the credit as it was truly a collaborative effort, and we’re really pleased with the results.

In a way, that makes this even more valuable because it is creating a platform where others can come together and work together and collaborate. In the end, it is the real wonderful — and power — thing about these tools: They empower others. It is the thing I love about Virtual Alabama. The Alabama Department of Homeland Security built the tool, but local communities and other state agencies are finding new ways to use the tool. Very powerful stuff.

The other part of EPA’s radon project that I really love: There were some senior leaders who didn’t know about it. To me, that says that it is an organization that hastruly moved beyond the top-down management approach. It is really transforming — and people are innovating and trying new ways of working across traditional boundaries.

Meanwhile, we will have folks from EPA talking about the radon videos on Federal News Radio’s Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris on Tuesday, Oct. 7. In DC, we’re on 1500 AM… or online anytime at

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October 6, 2008 at 10:34 PM Does the government need a CTO?

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One of the big debates ongoing in the government IT community surrounds the proposal from Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama to create a federal chief technology officer. (You can read Obama’s technology plan here.)

On Federal News Radio’s mid-day show, InDepth with Francis Rose, on Friday, they had two former CIOs — Roger Baker, the former Commerce Department CIO and Ed Meagher, the former Interior deputy CIO, now with SRA — on the show to debate the issue. (Hear the full interview here. .mp3) Baker gives the idea a thumbs up — he believes the position would give the government a more strategic view of technology — while Meagher gave it a maybe and said there needs to be more details.

There was a fascinating piece in the most recent issue of Technology Review, published by MIT, that featured a interview with Mitch Kapor, who headed Lotus Development, which created the Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheet program. The story has a simple headline: Does the U.S. Need a CTO?: Mitch Kapor, a pioneer of personal computing, says the position is vital given the growing importance of technology. The interview makes for an interesting read, but unfortunately Kapor still didn’t offer any more details.

Mitch Kapor likes beginnings. In 1982, he founded Lotus Development, which made the popular spreadsheet program Lotus 1-2-3. In 1990, he cofounded the ­Electronic Frontier Foundation, a political­-­advocacy and legal organization that champions free speech and privacy. And in 2003, he became the founding chair of the Mozilla Foundation, which is responsible for the open-source Web browser Firefox. Today, Kapor sits on the boards of such companies as ­Linden Research, and he heads his eponymous foundation, which provides grants to San Francisco Bay Area organizations working with low-income communities on educational and environmental issues.

Last fall, Kapor was called upon to help Senator Barack Obama define his technology positions. Kapor suggested that Obama, if elected president, should install a federal chief tech­nology officer. Conservatives grumbled at the idea of another layer of bureaucracy, but Kapor and others in Silicon Valley say the government needs cohesive technology practices and policies.

It is easy to get wrapped around the sympatic question of whether this CTO would just be a glorified federal CIO, or whether it would decrease the impact of government CIOs, which I think would be disappointing.

Both the Federal News Radio and the interview are interesting — and the subject deserves more attention.

Written by cdorobek

September 21, 2008 at 9:04 PM Getting insights into Government 2.0

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Wikinomics co-author Anthony D. Williams

Wikinomics co-author Anthony D. Williams

Regular readers will know that I am passionate about this Web 2.0/Government 2.0 stuff. (I was speaking to the ACT/IAC 2008 Voyagers class today and I like to ask how people define Web 2.0/Government 2.0. The responses were ranged for collaboration to networking to Web-based… My definition is that Web 2.0 embraces the concept that all of us are better then each of us individually. Web 2.0 taps into the Internet and the Web tools that can really enable that collaborative theory.)

So Thursday at 2:30p ET on Federal News Radio 1500 AM and and online at on our mid-day show, InDepth with Francis Rose, I am going to join Rose for a conversation with Anthony D. Williams, co-author of the book Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything.

Williams, who spoke at IAC’s Executive Leadership Conference last year, is spearheading nGenra’s (formerly NewParadigm’s) Government 2.0 project. [See Williams’ 2007 post on the project here.]

OMB is one of the backers of the Government 2.0 project.

My connection to the Government 2.0 project… and Williams bio after the break…
Read the rest of this entry »

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September 17, 2008 at 10:36 PM Report urges candidates to focus on innovation

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Regular readers know that I’m fascinated about innovation, particularly in the rhelm of science and technology. It is an issue getting a lot of attention these days. In fact, it is largely the basis of NYT columnist Thomas J. Friedman’s new book, Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution–and How It Can Renew America.

The Center for the Study of the Presidency — to be honest, a group that I had never heard of before — has put out a report focusing on presidential leadership in the areas of science and technology. (I found the study — and the group — through an article in New Scientist headlined, McCain vs Obama: Who will end the war on science. And yes, I will read just about any magazine!)

CSP Releases Report on Presidential Leadership to Ensure Science and Technology in the Service of National Needs

The role of science and technology assets is often overlooked as an element of national power. Many of the major policy challenges confronting the next President—energy resources, nuclear proliferation, climate change, environment, health-care, food and water, security, and economic prosperity—require scientific advice or guidance for successful strategic resolutions. The Center’s issue group on Presidential science and technology assets has released a new report urging both Presidential candidates to beginpre -election planning to ensure science and technology governance assets for cohesive and informed policies and effective policy implementation.

Read the report here [.pdf]

To be honest, I haven’t had a chance to read the report. (I don’t often recommend reports or books that I haven’t read — well, I try not to.)

I have been racing through another book on innovation because this afternoon on Federal News Radio’s Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris [3-7p ET on 1500 AM in DC or anywhere at ] we will be talking to the author of a book on innovation. The book is Closing the Innovation Gap: Reigniting the Spark of Creativity in a Global Economy, by Judy Estrin.

I’ve been racing through the book so I can be prepared for the interview. Estrin actually was part of Vint Cerf’s research team that literally invented the Internet. Talk about innovation.

The book is not about government’s role specifically, of course, but she does talk about the role of DARPA and makes a case for long-term thinking that can spur innovation.

Estrin will be on early — in the 3p ET hour — and then the interview will be posted online.

I’m also working to get the folks from the Center for the Study of the Presidency on… to continue the theme.

As they say, stay tuned.

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September 16, 2008 at 10:07 AM