Friday, March 4, 2011
Articles we found interesting the week of February 28, 2011 (with an emphasis on the GAO Report on Duplication and Overlap)

Gadi Ben-Yehuda


  • Legislative Branch: Fake Online IDs Imperil Social Media's Effectiveness.  Polico reports that some legislators want to give up on Twitter--in part because they can't tell if the people who are following them are their own constituents.  (Could they use something like
  • Contapuntally, The Air Force Wants to Manage Fake Personae. There is no doubt that social media could help our armed forces achieve information dominance in theaters of war. The Blaze reports on an Air Force RFP to create an online personae manager that would use social media as an intellegence-gathering platform.
  • The Same Rules Apply. Mark Senak, who writes the blog Eye on FDA, has compiled a few insights on social media and Pharma.  Mark, a former colleague and current friend of mine, offers five tips for communications managers that are every bit as relevant for government.
  • No One Gets Excited about Routers. But this mashable post should at least make teleworkers think about the needs of their home office: "The Future of Your Wireless Home Network


John Kamensky


GAO Report on Duplication and Overlap. GAO’s long-awaited report on program overlap and duplication, a newly-required annual report by Congress, is now out. Media coverage was quite heavy, and varied:

  • Wall Street Journal: “Billions in Bloat Uncovered In Beltway” . . . “Sen. Tom Coburn (R., Okla.), who pushed for the report, estimated it identifies between $100 billion and $200 billion in duplicative spending. The GAO didn't put a specific figure on the spending overlap.”
  • Washington Post: “Government Overlap Costs Taxpayers Billions, GAO Reports,” . . . “The U.S. government has more than 100 programs dealing with surface transportation issues, for example, 82 that monitor teacher quality, 80 for economic development, 56 for "financial literacy," 20 offices or programs devoted to homelessness and 17 grant programs for disaster preparedness, according to a Government Accountability Office report released Tuesday. Among other redundancies, 15 agencies or offices handle food safety, and five agencies are working to ensure that the federal government uses less gasoline.
  • Federal Times: “GAO Details Duplication in Food Safety, Education, and Other Programs,” . . . “although more than two dozen presidential appointees bear some responsibility for defense against biological threats, there is no national plan for coordinating federal, state and local responses in the wake of a bioterror attack.”
  • Ezra Klein, Washington Post blogger:
  1. Comment: “Don't let the length of the report scare you off from giving it a look: The first set of recommendations is summarized on pages 5-7, and the second set on pages 155-158.”
  2. Comment: “At heart many of the GAO recommendations to fix these inefficiencies call for substantial structural reforms of the Federal government. While a structural solution to the problems posed by organizational design seems intuitive, the prognosis for successful reorganization in the Federal government is poor . . . “
  3. Comment: “. . . . it's worth keeping in mind that sometimes it's useful to have multiple small programs instead of one big coordinated program because small programs can experiment with different approaches to see what works best instead of being stifled by a single big bureaucracy.”


Dan Chenok



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