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Friday, May 25, 2018
Articles from across the Web that we at the IBM Center for The Business of Government found interesting for the weeks of May 21-25, 2018.

John Kamensky

Agency Reorg: Defense Headquarters Cuts.  Government Executive reports the House approved a bill that “would cut funding for departmentwide activities such as logistics, human resources, services contracts and real property management by 25 percent. The newly created chief management officer at the Pentagon would be responsible for identifying efficiencies to reach the reduction target by 2021.”

Creating a Learning Culture. Andy Feldman and Nick Hart co-authored an op-ed in Government Executive writing: “As part of the President’s Management Agenda, the White House Office of Management and Budget is encouraging every agency to create a learning agenda “that builds and utilizes evidence and evaluation findings to inform agency strategies and decision making.” Agency updates on their learning agendas are due to OMB today.”

Change Management Matters at Defense.  Federal News Radio reports on the implementation of the military’s electronic health record, the MHS Genesis: “Striking the right balance between DoD project managers in Washington who want to standardize MHS implementation and the innovators and providers at the four sites the Pentagon has deployed the new system to so far, has been a tough act to reconcile.”

Data Center Optimization.  A new GAO report concludes: “The 24 agencies participating in the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) Data Center Optimization Initiative reported mixed progress toward achieving OMB's goals for closing data centers by September 2018. Over half of the agencies reported that they had either already met, or planned to meet, all of their OMB-assigned goals by the deadline. This would result in the closure of 7,221 of the 12,062 centers that agencies reported in August 2017.”

OPM Changes Employee Survey. Federal News Radio interviews Mallory Bulman: “The annual federal employee viewpoint survey is now underway and will remain in circulation for another month. But this year’s version includes a few key changes. For one, it’s being administered as a census. It also includes a pair of pilot programs designed to improve the survey in future years.”

Improving ManagementFederal News Radio reports: “To help improve the training of new and existing managers, the Office of Personnel Management is making five recommendations to help improve accessibility, adequacy and effectiveness of supervisory training.

Morass of Data. Federal News Radio reports: “Margaret Weichert, the deputy director for management at OMB, says better customer service means more than just modernizing IT. . . . It’s not about the technology, it’s about what’s going on with the customer.”

Co-Creating Your Work Experience. Howard Risher writes in Governing that “The public sector's workforce challenges won't be solved by the management practices of the past. Employee buy-in is essential.”

Michael J. Keegan

USDS to certify new acquisition specialty. The U.S. Digital Service is adding a digital services contracting certification to create a cadre of "technology acquisition mavericks."

VA health care: Choice program out, MISSION Act in. The Senate passed a long-awaited $55 billion bill that includes an extension of the Veterans Choice Program, but eventually replaces it.

Oversight, leadership falling short at veteran health networks. Lawmakers want to re-examine the structure of the Veterans Health Administration after a report the Veterans Affairs Inspector General referred to as “serious” and “disturbing.”

Agencies need to take more risks in acquisition. The President’s Management Agenda states that efforts to transform government through major acquisitions are hamstrung by processes that “remain captive to a risk-averse culture that rewards compliance over creativity.” The Federal Acquisition Regulation contains a mind-numbing 1,917 pages of policies and procedures that government acquisition officials must follow when buying goods and services. Navigating these rules can be daunting for contracting officers, who often live in fear of something going wrong. But even within the constraints, there is room for flexibility—approaches that deviate from the norm but hold potential to achieve better quality and innovative outcomes while preserving competition, transparency and accountability.

CDM acquisition gets simpler. The General Services Administration is building more flexibility into the acquisition vehicles for cybersecurity services that are part of the Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation Program.

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Next Week on The Business of Government Hour:  How were the initial Cross-Agency Priority Goals (CAP) goals implemented? What has been the impact of the initial CAP goals? How can we improve the implementation of the next round of CAP goals? Join host Michael Keegan as he explores these questions and more with John Kamensky, Senior Fellow at the IBM Center and author of Cross-Agency Collaboration: A Case Study of Cross Agency Priority Goals.

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

If you can't wait, though, you can listen to (or download) this week's program and all our previous interviews at

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