Weekly Round-up: August 03, 2012
- Not a Beatles Song: 16 years an hour. Government Computer News reports that Eric Hackathorn, the program manager of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Fragile Earth Studios wants us all to play more video games, and he thinks that if we spend more time gaming (noting that World of Warcraft has eaten up 16 million years of time), we could solve global problems. This is no longer counterintuitive.
- More than Androids and iPhones. What's the next important platform for developers (and government agencies) to think about? How about cars? Appliances? Indoor geolocation? Infoworld has the slideshow.
- What Have You Done for Me Lately? Todd Park responds to a Quora question "What efforts has President Obama made while in office to encourage entrepreneurship and innovation? I'm looking for specific examples of things the Administration has done to foster innovation in the US."
- Young Government Leaders Meet in DC, Talk to NPR about Their Careers, Morale. The next generation of government employees convened at The Next Gen conference this week. GovLoop founder Steve Ressler (and others) were interviewed by NPR affiliate WAMU about their approach to government work, how sequestration will affect the local workforce, and the morale of government employees in this election year.
- Mobile Participatory Budgeting Helps Raise Tax Revenues in Congo. by Alex Howard. Read the whole thing, and you'll understand (1) Gov 2.0 is more than an American phenomenon (2) deployed correctly, it could be transformational in many situations.
Dr. John Bordeaux
- On-scene communications fail during POTUS visit. Frequency management remains elusive - 11 years after 9/11 and 7 years following Hurricane Katrina.
- Put aside the politics of this one - a strong conversation about government's role in securing infrastructure from cyber attack is underway. Voluntary reporting of fragility runs into threats to competitive edge; but overall system frailty remains unknown. This conversation may be over until the next headline. See also: this.
- How to effectively deploy all those out of town utility workers following the next major storm? Give them iPads and clear the airspace.
- Sequester Update. Several media articles this past week touched on the impending “fiscal cliff,” including how the executive branch would respond to the $120 billion in across-the-board cuts starting in January 2013. OMB released high-level guidance (2 pages!) calling sequestration “bad policy . . . never meant to be implemented” But that it “will work with agencies” to develop a plan. Meanwhile, according to Federal Times, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta outlined four different scenarios describing how Defense might respond to sequestration.
- GAO on Privacy. GAO’s Greg Wilshusen testified before Congress this past week on the need to update the 1974 Privacy Act to reflect the advances in technology over the past several decades. He notes, for example, that the Act did not foresee the creation of social media or data mining, both of which potentially risk the privacy of individuals’ data held by the federal government.
- Streamlining Where It Counts. Fixing the political appointment process has long been on the agenda of reformers. This past week, Congress took an encouraging step forward, voting to downgrade 169 political positions so they won’t require the time-consuming process of a Senate confirmation vote. In addition, the bill exempts about 300 military positions from confirmation, creates a 5-year term appoint for the head of the Census Bureau, and creates a nomination paperwork streamlining commission. At the beginning of the Obama Administration, Federal News Radio reports, there were 1,215 positions requiring Senate confirmation.
- Don’t Just “Charge It.” Federal Computer Week reports that the House is on the verge of passing the “Government Charge Card Abuse Prevention Act of 2012.” The Senate has already passed the bill. According to FCW, “The bill would require agencies to keep track of all their card holders and the associated spending limits. It would require approval and the reconciliation of transactions.”
- Memos to National Leaders. The National Academy of Public Administration and the American Society for Public Administration have jointly launched a project to produce a series of memos to incoming elected national leaders this Fall. It has launched a websiteand released a video of its kick-off event, featuring former Cong. Tom Davis and former Maryland governor Parris Glendenning.
- GSA bonuses millions higher than previously reported - Data uncovered by WUSA Channel 9 show that while GSA accounts for 1 percent of federal employees, it doled out 10 percent of the $439 million in bonus money given to federal employees last year.
- EPA cyber breach exposes 8,000 accounts - The Social Security numbers and bank routing numbers of about 8,000 accounts were exposed in a cyber breach of an Environmental Protection Agency database. The breach occurred in March and affected 5,100 current employees and 2,700 "other individuals," according to an EPA statement.
- Data breaches up 19 percent, GAO reports - There were roughly 13,000 incidents reported by agencies in 2010 involving unauthorized disclosures of personally identifiable information — last year, that figure shot up to 15,500, Greg Wilshusen, GAO’s director of information security issues, told the Senate subcommittee on government management oversight Tuesday at a hearing.
- OMB to begin planning for sequestration - Faced with congressional inaction in averting looming across-the-board cuts that take effect in January, the Office of Management and Budget will begin meeting with agency leaders to discuss how the cuts will be implemented.
- DoD extends civilian hiring restrictions through 2018 - The Defense Department intends to continue a wide-ranging freeze on the growth of its civilian workforce for at least six more years, according to documents the Pentagon drafted in preparation for the budget proposal it will release next year.
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