Friday, January 25, 2013
Articles from across the Web that we found interesting, the week of January 21, 2013

Gadi Ben-Yehuda



Dan Chenok


John Kamensky

GAO Fears  DOD Downsizing Leads to Skills GapFederal News Radio’s Jack Moore highlights a new GAO report that raises cautions that Defense’s self-imposed cap on hiring civilians could lead to a gap in “critical skills and competencies needed to achieve current and future missions.”  GAO noted that “In 2006, Congress mandated that DOD conduct competency gap assessments, as part of its strategic workforce planning efforts, which GAO reported in September 2012 was only completed for 8 of 22 mission critical occupations.”

GAO Says Follow Through Is Important.  GAO assessed the status of the executive branch’s progress on implementing major technology investments and concluded that more sustained follow through was needed to ensure the projects stay on track and avoid cost overruns and schedule slippages.

Use of Social Media:  DOE’s PowerPedia.  A great Federal Times article by Nicole Blake Johnson describes how several agencies are using social media to meet mission needs.  One, for example, is the Department of Energy’s creation of an internal wiki, dubbed, “PowerPedia,” which “contains nearly 23,000 pages of information on department acronyms and their meanings, computer assistance, health and fitness services, phone lists, energy-efficiency tips for the office and more.” 

Are We a Kludgeocracy?  Steven Teles, a Johns Hopkins professor, writes an interesting article about the overly-complex approaches government develops in order to solve public problems, calling it a “kludgeocracy.”  He says: “For any particular problem we have arrived at the most gerry-rigged, opaque and complicated response.”  He says sorting out the hidden costs of complexity should rise on the national agenda.

“Open Checkbook” Trend Comes to New York City.  The New York Times reports that New York City government has created a website,, where it will post all city contracts and spending. What’s interesting about the site is that it isn’t just a data dump.  It seems to have been inspired by the federal website in that it provides some interpretation and trend data, along with raw data feeds.


Michael Keegan

GSA names Sharpe new FAS Commissioner
Tom Sharpe, the senior procurement executive of the Treasury Department and long-time federal acquisition expert, has been named the new commissioner of the General Services Administration's Federal Acquisition Service. Sharpe replaces Steve Kempf, who left in July to take long-term medical leave, as the head of GSA's acquisition department. 

VA moves mobile from concept to reality with veteran homelessness app 
The real impact of the Digital Government Strategy isn't any guidance or document, but how agencies use the concepts to respond to mission needs. And there may be no better example of that impact than what the departments of Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development did over the last two weeks. VA and HUD created a mobile application to make it easier for employees to count homeless veterans as part of their annual point-in-time survey. 

Waste in IT spending takes many forms 
Wasteful projects that run over budget or never become operational have long been the ugly reality of federal IT. Now an oversight committee has had enough and is demanding the Office of Management and Budget step up and hold agencies responsible for these lavish failures. 

How to prepare for natural disasters 
Response efforts after recent major natural disasters have demonstrated that the federal government has learned a number of technology lessons from a decade’s worth of extreme weather events. Important considerations, such as continuity of operations and information sharing between key agencies and state governments, were key factors in managing and mitigating the effects of Hurricane Sandy. 


The Business of Government Radio Show: The Business of Government Magazine Fall/Winter 2012 - A Special Edition of The Business of Government Hour

Federal News Radio 1500-AM 
Mondays at 11 a.m., Wednesdays at 12 p.m.

The Business of Government Hour features a conversation about management with a government executive who is changing the way government does business. The executives discuss their careers and the management challenges facing their organizations.

What is NIH doing to advance biomedical research? What is being done to ensure the soundness of the country’s credit union system? How can government better manage risks, reduce waste, and use resources more wisely? What are some of the key issues for governing in the next four years? More about the magazine.

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