Friday, February 1, 2013
Articles from across the Web that we found interesting, the week of January 27, 2013

This post has been updated to include a contribution from Michael Keegan.


Gadi Ben-Yehuda

Thinking about social media:

  1. It's everywhereFederal Agency Social Media Adoption Reaches Near Ubiquity
  2. It can save your life'PulsePoint' app, which helps people get lifesaving CPR, coming to L.A.
  3. The Canadians have something to teach us5 Lessons About Social Media Engagement From the Embassy of Canada's Inauguration Tailgate Party
  4. So learn the basics.  Social media and government contractors: Know your 4 pillars

Bonus: In a video posted by Alex Howard, the president's senior director for multilateral affairs and human rights talks about the importance of open government in the US and the Open Government Partnership.


Dan Chenok


John Kamensky

Want Citizen Feedback?  Got It. Now What?  Federal News Radio’s Josh Lederman writes: “as the Obama administration kicks off its second term, it's upping the threshold for responding to Americans' petitions from 25,000 signatures to 100,000, a reminder that government by the people can sometimes have unintended consequences. In this case, a wildly popular transparency initiative has spawned a headache of the administration's own making.”

Citizen Comments via Federal Rulemaking.  The Government Accountability Office released a report noting that federal agencies could take additional steps to respond to public comments. It found that “Agencies did not publish a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM), enabling the public to comment on a proposed rule, for about 35 percent of major rules and about 44 percent of non-major rules published during 2003 through 2010.”

Threat of Sequestration Cuts Costs Money Already.  A front page article in the Washington Post by Lisa Rein highlights the costs already being incurred by agencies as the deadline for threat of automatic budget cuts creep closer. She notes:  “The drastic $85 billion in automatic spending cuts Congress approved in hopes of heading off another deficit showdown may or may not occur, but federal agencies say the threat has been disrupting government for months as officials take costly and inefficient steps to prepare.”

OPM Staff to Transform to HR Strategists.  Government Executive’s Kelly Lunney reports: “The Office of Personnel Management’s human capital officers no longer will handle day-to-day inquiries from agencies on issues like pay and leave, but instead will focus on implementing the Obama administration’s federal workforce priorities governmentwide.” Here’s the official OPM Memorandum describing the change.  Interestingly, a terrific story by Slate’s Farhed Manjoo describes how Google develops its internal HR policies based on a heavy reliance on analytics. A benchmark for OPM?


Michael Keegan


Can RFP-EZ really change procurement?
A signature project of the Presidential Innovation Fellows program could shift menial and time-consuming tasks from contracting officers to computers and make the federal marketplace less intimidating to small companies. The question is whether it can live up to the hype -- and whether agencies will give it a fair chance. RFP-EZ was one of five projects the fellows program began in August 2012; its beta version launched in December.

VA testing cash prizes to improve its health record system
The Department of Veterans Affairs is trying out a new concept for IT acquisition. Rather than paying vendors to build systems according to rigorous government specifications that might, one day, meet the agency's mission, it's offering cash prizes to any vendor who can prove their product successfully integrates with its electronic health records system. 

The envelope please....announcing the 2013 Federal 100. 
This year's winners, chosen by a select panel of government and industry leaders, include 22 from industry, two from academia, one from state government and 75 from the federal government—with 56 in civilian agencies, 15 in the defense sector and four from Capitol Hill. These individuals represent a wide range of accomplishments, such as guarding against the next wave of cyberattacks and deploying mission-driven big data projects. Also among the winners are some who have helped make e-rulemaking, accessible health data and shared services a reality. 

How to foster better performance
There is immense pressure on government agencies to rein in costs while maintaining the value delivered to citizens. “Doing more with less” is beyond cliché at this point, but that’s exactly the challenge agencies face this year given the austere conditions of the federal workplace, which include shrinking budgets, increasing workloads and hiring freezes. Along with those challenges, a recent study by CEB shows that government leaders believe they need an 18 percent productivity improvement in the performance of their employees to reach mission targets. 




The Business of Government Radio Show: Kevin McAleenan

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.

Kevin K. McAleenan is the Acting Assistant Commissioner, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Office of Field Operations (OFO). OFO is the largest component in CBP and is responsible for securing the U.S. border at ports of entry while expediting lawful trade and travel. In this capacity, Mr. McAleenan is responsible for overseeing CBP’s antiterrorism, immigration, anti-smuggling, trade compliance, and agriculture protection operations at 20 major field offices, 331 ports of entry, and 70 locations in over 40 countries internationally, with a staff of more than 28,000 employees, and an operating budget of over $3.5 billion.

Broadcast Schedule: The show airs Monday at 11 a.m., and Wednesday at noon, 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 and by searching our audio archives.

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