Friday, June 29, 2018
The IBM Center's Weekly Roundup highlights articles and insights that we found interesting for the week ending June 29, 2018.

The IBM Center's Weekly Roundup highlights articles and insights that we found interesting for the week ending June 29, 2018.

Michael J. Keegan

DOD consolidates cloud under CIO. The Pentagon announced new CIO Dana Deasy was taking control over all of the department's cloud initiatives, but it's not clear what that means for the warfighting cloud acquisition program JEDI.

Lankford dishes on the future of the federal workforce. Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) spoke with FCW about his workforce priorities as well as the White House's reorganization plan.

IRS wants cloud-based AI to sniff out insider threats. The IRS is looking for a cloud-based artificially intelligent analytical platform that can identify and mitigate cyber-related and insider threats within the agency. The agency wants a solution that can continuously learn, provide real-time monitoring of cyber threats across networks and process data across a range of IT sources and devices, including internet-of-things devices and industrial control systems.

USDA reports success with centers of excellence program. With work well underway to develop IT modernization Centers of Excellence at the Department of Agriculture, the General Services Administration is scouting out the next agency to accelerate the program. "Agencies are clamoring at the door to get into the program," Matt Lira, special assistant to the president for innovation policy at the White House, said at GSA's industry day for Phase II of its Centers of Excellence program. Agriculture has been the "lighthouse" agency for the Centers of Excellence   program, which aims to build a modernization culture across five areas:  cloud adoption, infrastructure modernization, customer experience, service delivery analytics and contact centers.

How Great Leaders Bring out the Best in Others. As leaders, we are often wondering what the best way is to bring out the best in our organizations. We want to help people exceed all expectations and accomplish more than they thought possible. Yet, the current feedback mechanisms and performance appraisal processes in our organizations often don’t work toward that goal. In fact, Tim Irwin, author of Extraordinary Influence: How Great Leaders Bring Out the Best in Others, argues that they do just the opposite.

John Kamensky

Streamlined Grant Reporting. Government Executive reports: “The movement for standardizing data across programs, says a survey of 30 grants management leaders in government and industry, “is on the cusp of a major transformation” that will move government from a “document-based system to a data-centric” one.”

Through the Maze. In a Government Executive op-ed, Anna Sever writes: “What do citizens do when they need to find information about government programs? They Google it. But what happens when that search query returns a flood of confusing options? Information is a good thing; but what about when there’s too much of a good thing?”

“Fast Buy” Coming Fast. Government Executive reports: “An unnamed Defense Department organization has issued the first-ever solicitation under the General Services Administration’s new service providing high-speed contracting outside the Federal Acquisition Regulation for innovative commercial items and processes.

Creating a Federal Data Strategy.  FedScoop reports that the federal government has made a “commitment to develop an integrated Federal Data Strategy ”that encompasses all relevant governance, standards, infrastructure and commercialization challenges of operating in a data-driven world.” To drive progress in this area, the President’s Management Agenda established a cross-agency priority (CAP) goal, Leveraging Data as a Strategic Asset, for all federal agencies to follow. . . . Today, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and its government partners took a significant step towards achieving that goal. They have launched a new website,, to encourage public comment on the Federal Data Strategy . . . “

OMB Guidance on Program Management. Government Executive reports: “In a pair of memos to agency heads this week, White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney laid out how his office will monitor progress toward formalizing the improvement of program management and getting a better handle on long-standing efforts to avoid government payments to undeserving parties. . . . The [first] memo sets July 27, 2018, as the deadline for appointment of a senior executive as program management improvement officer, if this hasn’t happened already. Each agency’s overall implementation plan for the program management agenda is then due by Nov. 30, in time for a governmentwide OMB report planned for the winter.”

Articles on President’s Proposed Agency Reorganizations: 

Eight Key Proposals. Government Executive reports: “An array of proposals put forward last week by the Trump administration to reorganize and reform federal agencies would have major impacts on their workforces.” Here’s a list of 8 of the more intriguing and underreported proposals.

Fixing Fragmentation. Government Executive reports: “White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney last week pressed Cabinet members on the need to reorganize federal agencies and then mocked the “byzantine nature of the way that we regulate in this country.” . . . But the record on past efforts at streamlining to achieve efficiency shows how reformers run aground on feuds between turf-conscious lawmakers, industry influence on scientific agencies and the cultural complexity of reorganizing a workforce with long-standing habits.”

It’s a Reorg Not a Downsizing. Federal News Radio reports that at a congressional hearing on the president’s reorganization plan: “[Deputy OMB director for management Margaret] Weichert reiterated what’s become a common talking point for her: the reorganization plan is not a downsizing proposal. . . . After all, the administration will need buy-in from the federal employees who may be tasked with implementing these proposals, Weichert acknowledged. . . “We do not disdain that workforce,” she said. “We applaud the work that the workforce does.”

Wither OPM? Federal News Radio reports: “The Trump administration’s recent reorganization plan pitches a significant shift of functions within the Office of Personnel Management, but it’s opening up a broader debate about the agency’s role as government’s central personnel office — and what that entity may look like in the future.”

Criticism of Reorg Proposals. Government Executive reports: “The White House fended off a barrage of criticisms and concerns over its plan to reorganize the federal government during a hearing to review the proposal on Wednesday, with members of both parties pushing back on key parts of the plan.”

Next Week on The Business of Government Hour: Conversations with Authors: Don Kettle on Managing Risk, Improving Results. What can government executives learn from the GAO’s high-risk list? What have agencies done over the years to get their programs off the list? How can program stay off the list in the first place? Join host Michael Keegan as he explores these questions and more with Dr. Don Kettl, author of the IBM Center report, Managing Risk, Improving Results: Lessons for Improving Government Management from GAO’s High-Risk List.

Broadcast Schedule: The show airs Monday at 11 a.m., and Friday at 1 p.m. on Federal News Radio 1500AM WFED.

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