Weekly Round-up: April 25, 2014
Cities, Smart and Social: StateTech Magazine has a piece about how "Smart Cities" are using technology and innovation to manage their growth: keeping electricity bills and easing traffic flow, for example. Related, in my mind at least, in FedTech, an article about how "Mobility" means far more than BYOD, as the GSA is demonstrating. But not so fast! Justin Herman writes government sometimes lags behind other sectors--"and that's good." And in the NYTimes, Quentin Hardy asks if cities, "our paradises of anonymity, a place for both self-erasure and self-reinvention," are becoming so data-driven that urbanites are losing that anonymity. Next Steps! And if you want that Smart, Social City, how about a hackathon? Jeff Ribiera on GovLoop shares his tips for success. And The Next Web has some guidelines for being more innovative and effective. Lest we get to cocky, however, Colby Hochmuth at FedScoop reports that "Six red FDA projects on IT Dashboard exceed $195 million"
- DOD seeks to improve communications with industry on acquisitions.
- GSA sets new deadline for cloud computing providers under FedRAMP.
- Federal employees believe more support for innovation is needed.
- Is Innovation on Decline? Andy Medici, Federal Times, reports that an analysis of the federal employee viewpoint survey shows a steady decline in employees saying they feel rewarded for creativity and innovation over the past four years: “While 90 percent of employees surveyed report they are always looking for better ways to do their jobs only 54.7 percent feel encouraged to do so and only 33.4 percent believe their agency rewards creativity and innovation.”
- Contracting Declines by 11 Percent in 2013. Charlie Clark, Government Executive, writes that a new Bloomberg Government study says: “With spending on defense contracts slowing by 15 percent, overall federal contracting fell from $516.3 billion in fiscal 2012 to $462.1 billion in fiscal 2013.” So the sequester did have an impact!
- Why DOD IT Challenges Are Hard. Major General Brett Williams writes in Federal Computer Week: “IT acquisition is hard, especially in the Defense Department. More often than not, the delivered solution falls short in one, if not all three, of the following areas: It is over budget, it does not satisfy the end user, or it is a cybersecurity challenge.” He says the challenge is the competing demands among three groups of stakeholders: those who control the money, those who operate the networks, and those who use the networks to deliver on mission.
- IC, DOD IT Consolidations Underway. Jared Serbu, Federal News Radio, says: “The federal government's intelligence community is in the process of building an interdependent system of shared IT services for all 17 of the nation's intelligence agencies. . . . The Pentagon, meanwhile, is on its own path to doing roughly the same thing between the military services and defense agencies. . . . While the governing bodies that oversee those two parallel efforts do communicate with one another, they have different operating models and objectives.
- Doing Less with Less. . . . IRS Cuts. Josh Hicks, Washington Post, says the IRS lost 8,000 staff due to $1 billion in budget cuts from a $12 billion level in 2010 and that the Government Accountability Office released a report finding “the resulting imbalance between service and demand has adversely affected operations.”
- EPA Cuts Result in Reduced Performance Targets. Katie Weatherford, Center for Effective Government, writes that the newly-released five-year strategic plan for EPA reflects the impact of budget cuts over the past few years by lowering its targets and inspections for reducing water, air, and toxic pollutants.
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