Weekly Round-up: October 05, 2012
- Of Slivovitz and Twitter. This somewhat-ambiguous independent clause of the first sentence of this Washington Post article says everything you need to know: "The Secret Service has formally adopted new policies on the use of alcohol and social media, "
- Of Quads and Quora. Colleges are using social media in more sophisticated ways and for more activities, reports Social News Daily.
- Of Cities and SeeClickFix. People talk about making cities "smart," but what is a smart city, anyway? Boyd Cohen, writing in Co.Exist has some ideas.
- Of Health and Hadoop. Joseph Marks reports that a Big Data Challenge has been issued that "will award the best ideas for tools and techniques for homogenizing disparate data sources and topics. In later contests, [respondents will be asked] for ideas that are more focused in the domains of Health, Energy and Earth Science."
- Big Data report released by the TechAmerica Foundation, identifies practical steps that agencies can take to leverage power of analytics.
- Sequestration baseline contained in continuing resolution.
- Collaborating on Health Care. GAO released a report on the progress VA and the Defense Department are making in improving their collaboration on delivering health care to military service members and veterans. The report examines areas such as IT systems, business processes, facilities construction, and access to military bases and identified opportunities for better joint performance.
- There’s Gold in Them There Hills. Jason Miller, Federal News Radio, reports on a new GAO study saying, “Agencies are missing out on billions of dollars in savings by not using strategic sourcing contracts, particularly when buying services.” The GAO study examines four agencies that comprise more than 70 percent of total federal acquisition spending and found that “. . . when strategic sourcing contracts were used, selected agencies generally reported savings ranging from 5 percent to over 20 percent." GAO found that governmentwide, agencies only spent 5 percent of their budgets through strategic sourcing with a savings of 0.4 percent. In contrast, it reports, “. . leading companies, which generally strategically manage about 90 percent of their procurement spending and achieve savings of 10 to 20 percent of total procurements annually.”
- You Have to Spend Money to Save Money. According to FCW’s Tom Risen, “Although the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative promises to save the government billions of dollars in the long run, short-term problems that include possible budget cuts and inadequate information on agency operations could get in the way of meeting the goal to shut down or consolidate 1,186 data centers by 2015.” He reports on a recent GAO studyof agency progress to meet the Administration’s goal of cutting the number of federal data centers in half.
- Acquisition executives figuring out how to deal with budget woes. Agency chief acquisition officers are not playing a big role in planning for sequestration or even future budget cuts.
- Agencies could be liable for certain costs under sequestration. Agencies will be liablefor many of the costs coming from the termination of contracts, including legal fees and employee compensation costs, if sequestration happens Jan. 2 and if vendors do not issue layoff notices this fall.
- Big ideas about Big Data could win prizes. Government agencies have been using competitions with some success to harness the collective brainpower of the public in solving thorny technology problems. Now three agencies – NASA, the Energy Department and the National Science Foundation -- are using the model to approach big-data conundrums. Separately, the NSF and the National Institutes of Health are funding additional research into Big Data through a more conventional grants process.
- How government created a new secure hash. With its selection as the winner of the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s five-year SHA-3 competition, the Keccak algorithm is set to become the sixth Secure Hash Algorithm recognized under Federal Information Processing Standards. Expected to be designated as SHA-3 within the next year, Keccak will provide an additional cryptographic tool deemed secure enough that agencies can rely on it to authenticate and digitally sign documents.
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Broadcast Schedule: The show airs Monday, October 08, at 11 a.m., and Wednesday, October 11, at noon, on Federal News Radio 1500AM WFED