Friday, November 10, 2017
The IBM Center's Weekly Roundup highlights articles and insights that we found interesting for the week ending November 10, 2017.

John Kamensky


Rethinking VA Benefits.  Federal News Radio reports: “Today … I call for a new way of thinking about benefits,” VA Secretary David Shulkin said Monday during a speech at the National Press Club. “I want to see an ongoing dialogue with stakeholders about rationalizing veterans benefits — a veterans benefit advisory board that can bring clarity to what we’re trying to do for veterans and what’s best and how we can do that in the best way.”

DATA Act Woes. NextGov reports: “Across the board, agencies have uploaded incomplete data or failed to establish a certification process ensuring that the data was accurate. . . . The Government Accountability Office, in its first review of data quality, also dinged OMB and Treasury, concluding less than 1 percent of agencies’ reported grants, contracts and loans were consistent with information obtained from authoritative sources within the agency.”

Evidence Bill Advances.  Federal News Radio reports: “The Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act is moving quickly in the House, said Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Texas), one of the legislation’s co-sponsors. With House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) as the bill’s key sponsor, agencies may have new mechanisms in place to improve data management as early as next year.” In fact, the bill was reported out of committee the day after it was introduced!

Improving Use of Metrics.  In an op-ed for Government Executive, Marc Berson and Howard Risher write: “The value of metrics and more recently analytics has been proven repeatedly. When used effectively in managing performance, the gains can be impressive.”

Government Reorg: VA.. Government Matters TV’s Francis Rose: “sat down with Gregory Giddens, Executive Director in the Office of Acquisition, Logistics & Construction at the Veterans Affairs Department, to discuss how the agency is approaching the Office of Management and Budget’s reorganization memo, and acquisition priorities for FY18.”

State Budgeting Practices.  RouteFifty reports: “the Volcker Alliance released a report examining and grading the budgeting practices of the 50 states in an effort to show which have effective budgetary procedures and those that fall short.”  The multi-year study was based on work by more than 50 academics at 11 universities.


Michael J. Keegan


Why it's harder than you think to hack a voting machine. Despite the fear and hype, there are several obstacles that make the most direct form of tampering, altering vote counts, extremely difficult.


DATA Act oversight highlights growing pains. The first round of oversight reports on financial reporting under the Data Act shows that most agencies are experiencing growing pains when it comes to implementing the recent law. Those growing pains ranged from reporting deficiencies and late reporting to noncompliance to billions of dollars in spending gaps, according to agency watchdogs.


Agencies failing key agile test. Most agencies are failing to certify implementation of incremental development on major software projects, despite a FITARA requirement that they do so, according to a new oversight report. The Government Accountability Office looked at 166 major software development investments posted on the federal IT Dashboard, and found that most did not include certification from the agency CIO that incremental development was being used.


Joyce: Civilian cyber could use more discipline. If civilian federal agencies want to succeed at cyber, they should take a page out of the Defense Department's book and quit deliberating so much, according to White House cyber coordinator Rob Joyce. Coming from the National Security Agency and working with Cyber Command, Joyce, who was speaking at Nov. 9 Defense One Summit in Washington, D.C., said being on the civilian side has been a learning experience in decision-making and leadership.


My Boston airport lost and found stories: good government, good citizens. Sometimes, Steve Kelman writes, the system works.


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The Business of Government Hour: Dr. ButlerDr. Barclay P. Butler, Component Acquisition Executive at the Defense Health Agency. What are the strategic priorities for the Defense Health Agency’s Component Acquisition Executive? How is DHA Changing the Way it Acquires Products and Services? Join host Michael Keegan, next week on The Business of Government Hour as he explores these questions and with Dr. Barclay P. Butler, Component Acquisition Executive at the Defense Health Agency.  Next week on The Business of Government Hour.

Broadcast Schedule: The show airs Monday at 11 a.m., and Friday at 1 p.m. on Federal News Radio 1500AM WFED