Weekly Round-up: March 23, 2012
- Can you hear me now? Kaifeng Yang, whose 2008 study on citizen particiaption I link to whenever possible, is the principal author of a new book of collected essays and studies on, what else? citizen participation. The State of Citizen Participation in America "proivdes readers an overview of a field at the heart of democratic governance," according to the release notes. I wonder if they'll include information about Maryland's new Health Data Innovation Contest?
- This is also what participation looks like. David Brin would not be surprised to learn that citizens are turning their cameras on the government. Though the question of legalityhas yet to be settled in the United States, a Canadian and an Aussie are looking at citizen surveillance in their own countries and assessing the costs and benefits.
- Apps and Maps. These are two of my favorite things. The Army as opened an App Store and the Map? It's CAP's! (the interactive map shows country-by-country foreign assistance in 2011).
- OMB proposes to reduce cumulative regulatory burden.
- Agency FOIA practices continue to move into the digital age.
- ISPs sign up to combat cyber threats.
- FISMA report suggests cyber attacks on agencies slowing down.
Dr. John Bordeaux
- Thoughtful treatise on the energy debate - an IBM blog that focuses on data first. Citizenship requires discernment among claims - starting with data is a sterling path to truth.
- War by wetware: DARPA explores the use of biological forms as sensors, extending the cyborg population even further.
- A fascinating tidbit in this piece examining brain activity while reading fiction. Your brain, or most of it, treats witnessing an action identically as doing the action. The clues to this behavior may be found in mirror neurons, which may be responsible for emotions such as empathy - the pathology when lacking these may be found in autism. Consider the mental workout you get from reading evocative fiction.
- Senate Hearing on Government Reorganization. According to the Washington Post’sJoe Davidson, The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee held a hearing on President Obama’s request for reorganization authority: Retooling Government for the 21st Century: The President's Reorganization Plan and Reducing Duplication. The hearing witnesses included representatives from the Government Accountability Office and the Office of Management and Budget. GAO’s Pat Dalton described its work on overlapping and fragmented programs while OMB’s Daniel Werfel described progress to date on the President’s efforts to reorganize trade and competitiveness functions in government, along with a plea for statutory reorganization authority.
- Attacking Cumulative Regulatory Burdens. Federal Computer Week’s Matt Weigelt describes an OMB initiative to address the impact of cumulative regulations. In a March 20th memo to agency heads (and in a blog post on Smarter Regulation to everyone else), OMB administrator of information and regulatory affairs Cass Sunstein tells agency heads to talk with the regulated community before issuing new regulations to find out what the impact of new regulations might be in the context of existing regulations, and get the public’s input.
- House Passes Bill on Disposing Excess Federal Properties. According to Jack Moore, with Federal News Radio, “In a February 2011 report, the Government Accountability Office documented more than 45,000 underused properties across the federal government with operating costs totaling nearly $1.7 billion each year.” An OMB inventory identified 14,000 excess properties and has begun efforts to dispose of them. The House-passed bill would create a 5-year pilot program to dispose of 15 “high value properties” and allow agencies to keep a portion of the proceeds rather than having all the sales revenue go to the Treasury.
- Improving Customer Service in the Face of Austerity. The National Park Service and the Fish and Wildlife Service (both in the Department of the Interior) have agreed to integrate six different scientific data bases into a single data base. This will both save money as well as provide better customer service for users of these data. According to Government Computer News reporter Alice Lipowicz, Interior’s customer service plan also describes how the Park Service will be creating real-time dashboards for each national park so customers will be able to see visitor statistics, etc.
The Business of Government Radio Show: Malcolm D. Jackson
Federal News Radio 1500-AM
Mondays at 11 a.m., Wednesdays at 12 p.m., Fridays at 2 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.
Malcolm D. Jackson is EPA’s Assistant Administrator for the Office of Environmental Information and Chief Information Officer. In this dual role, Mr. Jackson is responsible for IT operations and security, information quality and collection, and access to environmental information including the Toxics Release Inventory.
Broadcast Schedule: The show airs Monday, March 26, at 11 a.m., Wednesday, March 28, at noon, and Friday, March 30, at 2:00 PM 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 businessofgovernment.org and by searching our audio archives.