Friday, May 17, 2024
Articles & insights in public management & leadership for the week ending May 17, 2024

Best Places to Work top 10 list has a few new faces, and many familiar ones. After a couple years of uncertainty, satisfaction among federal employees is beginning to rise at many agencies. In a preview of the latest Best Places to Work in the Federal Government rankings, out of the top 10 agencies in each of the four categories — large, midsize and small agencies, as well as agency subcomponents — prioritizing employee engagement was the common thread, the Partnership for Public Service said.

Better federal building upkeep, right-sizing office space key to governmentwide savings, GAO says. The federal government, in the hybrid work era, faces a unique opportunity to get rid of office space they don’t need and invest more in the buildings they keep. The Government Accountability Office is telling Congress that agencies could save millions of dollars, by making better use of federal buildings. GAO, in its latest report on overlapping and duplicative federal programs, states agencies could save about $100 million, if they used predictive models to make smarter decisions about deferred maintenance and repairs.

CDC cuts the digital fat as part of its website redesign. Over the last decade, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website became bloated, making information hard to find. An 18-month long effort, called Clean Slate, helped the CDC cut the digital fat by 65%. Carol Crawford, the director for digital media at the CDC, said the agency used a customer-first approach to modernize its website, which relaunched yesterday.

DoE’s Dunkin Talks Challenges of AI/Zero Trust Integration. As the proliferation of AI technologies across the private and government sectors continues to pick up steam, the top technology official at the Department of Energy (DoE) pointed this week to several areas that are presenting challenges to integrating AI within zero trust architectures moving forward.

OPM Using Cloud Savings to Fund AI Pilots, CIO Says. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is leveraging the savings it generates from its transition to the cloud services to fund AI technology pilots, the agency’s Chief Information Officer (CIO) and Acting Chief AI Officer (CAIO) Guy Cavallo said.

NSF Director ‘Extremely Worried’ as Critical Tech Resources Run Thin. National Science Foundation (NSF) Director Sethuraman Panchanathan urged Congress today to ramp up its investments in critical and emerging technologies, saying he is “extremely worried” the United States is slipping in the global race for technological leadership. The NSF director explained that current spending levels are “nowhere near” where they should be for key technologies such as quantum, AI, and semiconductors.

Labor Dept. Centers AI Guidance on ‘Worker Empowerment’.  The Department of Labor (DoL) today released a set of principles that provide employers with guidance for implementing AI technologies in ways that enhance job quality and protect workers rights. The new document cites “centering worker empowerment” as its North Star when deploying or creating AI. “Workers must be at the heart of our nation’s approach to AI technology development and use,” said Acting Secretary of Labor Julie Su.

TMF Makes First-Ever GenAI Award to Boost State Department Diplomacy. The Technology Modernization Fund (TMF) announced its latest round of awards today, which includes $18.2 million for the State Department to leverage generative AI technology to streamline data processing. As its first generative AI-driven project award, TMF said the investment at the State Department “will play a key role in devising an interagency playbook for the responsible implementation of GenAI practices across government entities.”

Senate Panel Advances IT Procurement, Telework Bills. The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee voted to approve two tech-related bills: the Federal Improvement in Technology (FIT) Procurement Act and the Telework Reform Act. The panel voted 10-0 to approve the Federal Improvement in Technology (FIT) Procurement Act, which looks to streamline the Federal procurement process for agencies and their contractors.  As for the Telework Reform Act, the panel voted 9-2 to approve the bill – which would make it easier for federal agencies to hire qualified candidates for remote work positions.

Army needs flexible contracting to deliver its network. The 101st Airborne Division recently conducted an air assault exercise at Fort Campbell, Ky., leveraging unclassified network infrastructure instead of the traditionally secure SIPRNet, which handles secret classified information. “What we learned is there are some advantages and some disadvantages,” Mark Kitz, chief of the Army’s program executive office for command, control and communications-tactical, said. The Army, Kitz said, needs to create a flexible network environment for those commanders to meet their operational needs instead of providing a one-size-fits-all solution.

DISA Taps Sharon Woods to Lead J6 Directorate. The Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) has appointed Sharon Woods to lead the J6 Endpoint Services and Global Service Center, according to a announcement on LinkedIn. Woods, who most recently served as the director for DISA’s J9 Hosting and Compute Center (HaCC), stepped into her new role on Monday. (The Business of Government Hour Interview with Sharon)

Transformations That Work: Lessons from companies that are defying the odds. More than a third of large organizations have some type of transformation program underway at any given time, and many launch one major change initiative after another. Though they kick off with a lot of fanfare, most of these efforts fail to deliver. The successful programs, the authors found, employed six critical practices: treating transformation as a continuous process; building it into the company’s operating rhythm; explicitly managing organizational energy; using aspirations, not benchmarks, to set goals; driving change from the middle of the organization out; and tapping significant external capital to fund the effort from the start.


NEW BLOGS  ICYMI Executing the Digital Strategy for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

This week Michael Keegan welcomed Andrea Fletcher, chief digital strategy officer and director of the Digital Service at CMS to discuss the intricate landscape of digital transformation and delve into the innovative strategies and initiatives driving digital transformation across CMS, offering key insights into the future of healthcare service delivery.