Friday, October 12, 2018
Articles from across the Web that we at the IBM Center for The Business of Government found interesting for the week of October 8-12, 2018.

John Kamensky

An Embarrassment of Data. Federal News Network reports on a presentation by OMB deputy director for management Margaret Weichert: ““We have, even in the Office of Management and Budget, any number of reports that are statutorily required, but where is that data stored? What data is included in them? There’s no metadata about anything, so we almost are paralyzed by the embarrassment of data that we can’t use.” . . . NextGov reports she also said: “It gets my blood boiling to think we have all this data. We should be able to do more with it.”

Commitment to be Seamless.  Federal News Network reports: “The departments of Defense and Veterans signed a joint statement ensuring their commitment to implementing one, interoperable electronic health record. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and VA Secretary Robert Wilkie said they planned to develop a detailed implementation timeline, an organizational structure and a mechanism to hold both agencies accountable throughout the project implementation.”

Stuck. Federal Times reports: “The government’s need for a greater IT- and data-knowledgeable workforce is the reason that federal innovation is not moving forward as quickly as officials would like it, according to the Office of Management and Budget’s Deputy Director for Management Margaret Weichert.”

A Good IDEA? Federal News Network reports: “Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif) said Tuesday that he’s hopeful Congress would pass his bill, the 21st-Century Integrated Digital Experience (IDEA) Act, before the end of the lame-duck session. . . . The IT modernization and customer service bill would push agencies to make more services available online and set minimum standards for federal websites — such as making them making more mobile-friendly and data secure.”

Time Warp. Howard Risher, in a column for Government Executive writes: “Three common threads run through the reform initiatives: organization hierarchies were untouched, manager-subordinate working relationships were not affected, and jobs did not change. Reform to date has not changed the day-to-day work experience or the culture that influences the way employees behave at work.”

Cities Are the New Innovation Hubs. A book review in Governing notes: “Bruce Katz and the late Jeremy Nowak were arguing in their book, The New Localism, that the conventional wisdom that “cities are powerless, mere creatures of the state” is wrong. “Federal and state governments, for the most part, are no longer in the problem-solving business,” the authors write. “They have dealt themselves out of the equation through a combination of dysfunction, incompetence and hyperpartisanship. … As politics has become nationalized, problem-solving has become localized.”

Michael J. Keegan

DHS, FBI chiefs say cyber inflects every security and criminal threat. Cybersecurity isn't the only threat facing the country, but an Oct. 10 Senate Homeland Security hearing hammered home the extent to which the digital revolution touches every problem in the national security space.

 Workforce issues stall IT modernization, data progress. Margaret Weichert laid out her priorities for the workforce and the commercialization of federal data.

At OPM, Weichert pushes direct hire, pay agent changes. Weichert, newly installed as acting director of the Office of Personnel Management, briefed reporters on her plans to jumpstart changes to federal hiring practices and to seek approval from Congress for changes to federal pay structures enshrined in law. In a conference room at OPM, Weichert and several officials who spoke on background told reporters that the agency plans to give direct hiring authority for cybersecurity and IT positions to agencies. Additionally, Weichert is looking for direct hiring authorities to cover six technical occupations. The plan also includes changing special occupational pay and classification.

Veterans, military retirees will see a 2.8 percent COLA boost for 2019. The increase is the largest since 2012 for individuals receiving federal benefits.

Next Week on The Business of Government Hour: Conversations with Avi Bender, Director, National Technical Information Service (NTIS). How is the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Technical Information Service (NTIS) helping to advance federal data priorities? How does it work with the private sector to develop new and improved data products and services? What does NTIS do to deliver value to federal agencies? Join host Michael Keegan next week as he explores these questions and more with Avi Bender, Director of NTIS. That’s next week on The Business of Government Hour.

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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