Friday, December 15, 2023
Articles & insights in public management & leadership for the week ending December 15, 2023

IRS Sets New Leadership Structure; CIO one of Four ‘Chiefs’. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner Danny Werfel announced big steps to reorganize the agency’s leadership structure today, aiming to reflect the transformation goals the agency has been undertaking since the commissioner’s confirmation to his post earlier this year. As part of this new structure, the IRS will have a single deputy commissioner instead of two. This role will be filled by Doug O’Donnell, who currently serves as the deputy commissioner for Services and Enforcement.

Administration Convenes Fed Tech Leaders in Inaugural AI Council Meeting. The White House this week gathered together more than a dozen federal leaders across the government for its inaugural AI Council meeting. The White House AI Council – created by a recent AI executive order – met to discuss implementation of the tasks and directives from the landmark executive order. During the meeting, the AI Council also received a classified intelligence briefing from President Biden’s national security team to discuss the international dimensions and capabilities of artificial intelligence.

Fed CIOs: AI Tech Coming on ‘Fast and Furious’. The growth of AI technology is coming on at a “fast and furious” pace, and Federal agencies need to buckle in and prepare themselves for the technology’s rapid proliferation, a panel of Federal agency chief information officers said this week. One of the agency CIOs who discussed that trend in depth was Guy Cavallo, CIO at the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), at ATARC’s 2023 CIO Summit on Dec. 13. “What I hear from people is we’re not ready for it, we don’t have staff or we need skills,” he said. “Too bad, it’s here … you have to move. We’ve never had a technology hit us as fast and be available worldwide in a short period of time,” Cavallo said.

GAO: TMF-funded Projects Show Small Cost Savings Thus Far. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) said in a new report this week that cost savings generated by Federal agency IT projects funded by the Technology Modernization Fund (TMF) have been relatively small thus far, but could grow much larger as some of those projects proceed further.  The report looks at awards provided by TMF from the program’s inception through February of this year. During that time, TMF received congressional appropriations of $1.23 billion, and issued funding awards totaling $636 million for 37 projects proposed by agencies, GAO reckoned. Breaking down that list of 37 projects, GAO found that eight of the projects have yielded cost savings to agencies of $14.8 million, while another five of the projects expect to generate cost savings totaling $2.6 million.

Agencies Making ‘Notable’ Progress on GAO’s IT Recommendations. Federal agencies are making “notable” progress in implementing Government Accountability Office (GAO) recommendations to improve IT management and reduce duplicative efforts, according to a new GAO report. Twenty-six agencies plan to spend about $95 billion on IT in fiscal year (FY) 2024, according to the report. As of October 2023, GAO said that agencies have implemented 88 percent of its nearly 400 prior IT recommendations, but the watchdog agency said implementing the rest could save the government billions of dollars.

GAO Calls on NIST to Improve Research Security. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) is calling on the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to improve its security to better protect against threats to federally funded research. In a new report, GAO explains that some foreign governments try to acquire U.S. research and technology dishonestly. 

CISA: Collaboration is the ‘Fuel’ of Cyber Operations. As cyber threats continue to evolve in complexity, collaboration is more crucial than ever and serves as the “fuel” of cyber operations, according to David Carroll, associate director for mission engineering at the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). At Splunk’s GovSummit in Washington, D.C., Carroll delivered a keynote speech in which he called on industry to get involved with CISA – especially through its Joint Cyber Defense Collaborative (JCDC).


NEW BOOK: Along with releasing our new book, Transforming the Business of Government:  Reflections on Resiliency, Innovation, and Performance, we began a blog series that excerpts the 15 chapters that compose this book. This week we posted the Introduction and Chapter One - Emergency Preparedness and Response on the Center blog. 

NEW BLOGS: How Can AI Improve Performance in Tax Administration? A recent roundtable discussed the potential for artificial intelligence to improve service and operations for the IRS, and for tax agencies more broadly. 

ICYMITransforming the Business of Government: Insights on Resiliency, Innovation, and Performance. How can we find value in the unexpected? What can we do to be more resilient? How can we leverage innovation to improve government performance? Join Michael Keegan on a Special Edition of The Business of Government Hour as he explores these questions and more marking the 25th anniversary of the IBM Center for The Business of Government