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DorobekINSIDER poll: What is the government word of the year?

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The team at the Oxford American Dictionaries have selected GIF as the 2012 word of the year.

In case you don’t know:

GIF verb to create a GIF file of (an image or video sequence, especially relating to an event): he GIFed the highlights of the debate

The GIF, a compressed file format for images that can be used to create simple, looping animations, turned 25 this year, but like so many other relics of the 80s, it has never been trendier. GIF celebrated a lexical milestone in 2012, gaining traction as a verb, not just a noun. The GIF has evolved from a medium for pop-cultural memes into a tool with serious applications including research and journalism, and its lexical identity is transforming to keep pace.

Read the full blog post on the subject, including the other words that were in competition.

I’m not sure that would be my word of the years, but…

What should be the government word of the year?

Written by cdorobek

November 13, 2012 at 11:04 PM

Posted in Circuit, community, poll

05.07.2012 DorobekINSIDER: And the SAMMIES nominees are…; EPA turns trash into energy; and the Newseum’s New Media Gallery

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On today’s program for Monday May 7th, 2012:

  • The nominees are in for the Oscars for Federal Employees – The Service to America Medals award.
  • Turning garbage into energy at the EPA — just one of the amazing SAMMIES nominees.
  • Taking an inside virtual tour of the Newseum’s new media gallery here in Washington… and what it means for government.

Big federal government contracting news this morning: GTSI, which government marketing guru Mark Amtower called the grand-daddy of government resellers, is being sold. GTSI announced this morning that Unicom, based in Los Angeles, is buying the company for $77 million. Washington Technology says it is quite a fall from grace for the company, particularly after the company’s run-in with the Small Business Administration over its small business sales.

Did you see 60 Minutes last night? CBS News correspondent Leslie Stall spoke to two Air Force pilots who refuse to fly the F-22 Raptor — the most expensive fighter ever — because it has been plagued by a mysterious flaw that causes its pilots to become disoriented, apparently from a lack of oxygen.

DorobekINSIDER’s: SEVEN stories that impact your life for Monday the 7th of May, 2012
  1. 12.1 — that’s the percentage of spending cuts agencies could see next January if Congress does not come up with an alternative to sequestration. Federal News Radio says the cuts are based on agencies’ fiscal 2012 discretionary budgets. The Budget Control Act passed last August called for reducing federal spending by $1.2 trillion over the next decade with half of the cuts come from defense spending. Congress returns today, and the House will take up an alternative to sequestration.
  2. There could be another rounds of base closures. The Washington Post says the Defense Department is gearing up for consolidation once again, putting local companies and lobbying firms on alert. Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta says that despite the controversy that normally surrounds such moves, “it is the only effective way to achieve infrastructure savings.”
  3. Former Immigration and Customs Enforcement intelligence chief James Woosley pleaded guilty for part in a scheme to file almost $600,000 in false travel expense reports for contractors.  MSNBC says Woosley must surrender over $180,000 of his profits in a scheme that also included several other ICE employees and contractors. He faces 18 to 27 months in jail and a potential fine.
  4. We told you about this last week, but the Washington Post is reporting this morning that the Air Force plans to restart the IT contracts after protests from losing companies. The April 16 award for network equipment is valued at $6.9 billion.  General Dynamics and technology company GTSIwere among nine contractors picked to share the network equipment contract. The Government Accountability Office says the Harris Corp and Dell, were two of those contractors challenging the deal.
  5. Speaking of contracting – government relationships….The White House has just released a second round of advice for how government and its contractors can communicate more freely. Federal News Radio says the announcement is part of a new memo from the Office of Federal Procurement Policy that outlines eight myths plus eight realities to dispose of them. The so-called Mythbusters 2 is signed by acting procurement chief Lesley Field. The new memo emphasized industry misconceptions. The original 2010 Mythbusters memo dealt with myths held by government.
  6. ‘Tis not the season—to be moving Christmas trees, that is. The National Christmas Tree succumbed to “transplant shock” after being moved from the White House lawn, the National Park Service reported Saturday. The Park Service says it already has a replacement in mind for the Colorado blue spruce that occupied a spot on the White House’s South Lawn, and it will be in place by the time the holiday season rolls around next winter. The new tree reportedly will not be planted until October.
  7. And on GovLoop, we go myth busting with the federal sector equal employment opportunity (EEO) complaint process. Yeah, it doesn’t sound like all that much fun. But it’s an important part of government that many people don’t understand. We separate fact from fiction in a post by GovLoop member David Grinberg.

A Few Closing Items: 

  • It hasn’t happened since Richard Nixon was president — the government shrank. The New York Times’ Floyd Norris reports that for the first time in 40 years, the government sector of the American economy has shrunk during the first three years of a presidential administration. Spending by the federal government, adjusted for inflation, has risen at a slow rate under President Obama. That increase has been more than offset by a fall in spending by state and local governments, which have been squeezed by weak tax receipts. In the first quarter of this year, the real gross domestic product for the government — including state and local governments as well as federal — was 2 percent lower than it was three years earlier, when Barack Obama took office in early 2009, the Times says. The last time the government actually got smaller over the first three years of a presidential term was when Richard M. Nixon was president. That decrease was largely because of declining spending on the Vietnam War.
  • A budget update:The Hill reports that House Republicans will bring their budget up for a vote this week. The Hill says that House lawmakers will return to a familiar debate over the deficit when they come back to Washington today. Republican leaders are planning to bring up a $260 billion measure to slash the budget gap and replace across-the-board spending cuts set to take effect in 2013. And we mentioned this earlier, but… The bill, known as a ‘reconciliation’ proposal, is the product of six House committees and will be combined into one piece of legislation by the House Budget Committee… Principally, the GOP measure would replace $78 billion in sequestered cuts resulting from the failure of the congressional ‘supercommittee’ to strike a bipartisan deficit deal last fall… In addition to the $78 billion in sequester replacement, the bill contains an additional $180 billion in cuts aimed at reducing the deficit. Among the federal programs hit are food stamps, funding for the 2010 healthcare and financial regulatory laws and the refundable child tax credit.
  • The Human Capital League has a wonderful post… Top 10 HR Lessons from Star Wars -Number 10: Nepotism doesn’t work… and they have Darth Vader saying, ‘Luke, you know, I really think you should reconsider Imperial employment. We pay competitively, and we have a great benefits package.

–Emily Jarvis

Written by jarvisdorobek

May 7, 2012 at 12:21 PM

DorobekINSIDER: Martha Johnson’s last words to GSA… and Dan Tangherlini first

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Despite everything else, the big story of the week is The Conference — GSA Public Building Service’s now infamous 2010 Western Regions Conference, as highlighted by the GSA Inspector General report.

This week, Martha Johnson, the GSA Administrator, decided to fall on the sword, despite the fact that by every account, she had nothing to do with the planning of this conference. Johnson was finally confirmed by the Senate in February, 2010 — a mere eight months before the Western Regions Conference took place in October 2010. It is sometimes remarkable to me that people who claim government is incompetent somehow now somehow contend that Johnson crafted this conference — or that it somehow blights her view of government ethics. Those of us who know Johnson — now and through the years — know that, regardless of how they feel about her decisions within the agency, she would never do anything to blight GSA’s reputation. Many of us would argue she hasn’t. (Kudos to Gartner analyst Andrea Di Maio, for his truly fair and balanced assessment: Why it’s chief’s resignation should make GSA proud.)

Personally, I continue to believe the situation is terrible. Without taking anything away from the new acting administrator, I believe it was a bad decision to get rid of Johnson… and it will hinder good government. Mistakes were made. Nobody questions that. Personally, I would argue that any event that involves clowns is a bad idea. But if we want good government — if we really want good government and value our empoyees — it is time to stop the scapegoating and drive-by judgements.

That being said, the DorobekINSIDER has obtained Johnson’s final words to the agency… and acting administrator Dan Tangherlini first words.

First, Johnson’s parting remarks to the agency:

Martha Johnson

On April 2, 2012, I submitted my resignation as the Administrator of the U.S. General Services Administration to President Obama and he has accepted it.

I take this action with great sorrow. GSA holds a special place in my heart. It has been a singular honor to lead you as Administrator and I am enormously proud of everything this innovative and agile agency has been able to do.

I leave a GSA deeply committed to its mission of helping government organizations deliver on their missions to the nation. I have been privileged to be able to translate the President’s agenda into effective strategies that range from more energy efficient buildings and vehicle fleets to innovative use of cloud technologies, and much more. I am proud of our progress and believe it has been a catalyst for important change to affect government operations.

The Agency, however, has made a significant mis-step. Reports of an internal conference in which taxpayer dollars were squandered led me to launch internal reviews, take disciplinary personnel action, and institute tough new controls to ensure this incident is not repeated. In addition, I feel I must step aside as Administrator so that the Agency can move forward at this time with a fresh leadership team.

Collectively, the people of GSA now must review, repair, and rebuild. I am absolutely confident that this work of renewal can be done by the hard working people of GSA and that our creative abilities will continue to find true value for our government and nation.

With the deepest regard,

Martha

After the break, read Tangherlini’s first words to GSA…

Dear GSA:

Daniel Tangherlini

Today, I am joining your team to serve as your Acting Administrator. I recognize that this is not easy, but I am confident that you will not allow circumstances to slow your momentum or progress in the many important areas of the federal government where GSA plays a vital role.

As the Assistant Secretary for Management and CFO of the Treasury Department and GSA customer for the last three years, I am impressed by the progress of this agency, as both a service provider and a business partner.  Over the course of the last several years, GSA has made tremendous strides to promote efficiency and cost savings throughout the federal government.  This is a mission we remain committed to through programs such as the Green Proving Grounds, our efforts to increase sustainable buildings in our government portfolio, and effectively executing the President’s Executive Order around fleet efficiency.  We cannot allow mistakes or misjudgments of a small number of individuals to slow our progress or take our focus from our goals.  GSA’s business is to solve customers’ problems; we are acting quickly to address them.

We are making immediate actions to ensure that our customers maintain their faith in our services and their basic value proposition.  Some immediate steps that we are undertaking include:

·         Reviewing all planned and proposed conferences and meetings that involve travel or substantial expenditures of public funds.
·         Canceling a number of conferences that only or primarily involve internal staff.
·         Launching an evaluation of our GSA conference and travel policies and business justification.
·         Enhancing our focus on oversight by improving our management of risk.

As the provider of services and solutions to the federal government and its agencies, we have a special responsibility to ensure that we conduct our business at the highest level of efficiency, delivering the best value to the American people and in a way that is beyond reproach or question.  We need to redouble our efforts to those core values and ensure they are reflected in every action we take.  We will continue to demonstrate our value proposition to our customer agencies through our own improved internal efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

Every step of the way I will work with you, the talented, committed members of the GSA team to leverage the challenges we face today as an opportunity to build an even stronger GSA.  I look forward to meeting you, talking to you, and hearing your ideas for improving our agency.  We’ll be exploring ways to more formally engage you in the discussion, but until then, if you have an idea, suggestion, or concern, please do not hesitate to contact me at Dan.Tangherlini@gsa.gov.

The success of federal agencies is determined by their workforce.  I am confident that the excellent women and men of GSA can continue to deliver service excellence and integrity.

Dan Tangherlini
Acting Administrator

Good luck, Mr. Tangherlini… and I deeply hope the workers at GSA, most of whom have started to show true innovation over the past three years, demonstrate the courage that comes with true public service.

View this document on Scribd

Written by cdorobek

April 5, 2012 at 9:31 PM

Posted in Circuit, GSA, Workforce

DorobekINSIDER: USDA CIO Chris Smith retiring

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USDA CIO Chris Smith

Chris Smith, the chief information officer at the Agriculture Department, is going to retire, friends and industry sources tell the DorobekINSIDER.

Smith, who is widely respected in government IT circles, has been with USDA since 2008. He served as the acting CIO and was given the post in May 2009.

Insiders say Smith will leave in three weeks and has not said where he will go next.

USDA Deputy CIO Charles McClam will serve as acting CIO, insiders say.

Read Smith’s bio… after the break:

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by cdorobek

March 8, 2012 at 3:17 PM

DorobekINSIDER: See the President fire a marshmallow cannon – and it’s not a euphemism

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Yes, David Letterman may have marked 30 years on late night television with tricks like throwing stuff off a five-story building… but the President now has his own version: The White House marshmallow cannon.

No — really!

From the White House blog:

At today’s White House Science Fair, President Obama got the chance to shoot a marshmallow across the State Dining Room using 14-year-old inventor Joey Hudy’s “Extreme Marshmallow Cannon.” Hudy designed and built the machine, which can launch the fluffy white confections up to 175 feet away using pressurized air.

My favorite part of the video is right after the President suggests that they should shoot the marshmallow cannon, there is an audible gasp in the room.

Written by cdorobek

February 7, 2012 at 7:48 PM

Posted in Circuit

DorobekINSIDER: Amazon’s cloud coup: Frank DiGiammarino

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Frank DiGiammarino

Frank DiGiammarino

Amazon’s Web Service’s government arm has scored a coup — hiring Frank DiGiammarino, who left the White House late last year.

The DorobekINSIDER has confirmed that DiGiammarino has been named Amazon Web Service‘s director of innovation and global expansion for Amazon Web Services, which is mostly known for books but has been making a big play in the cloud — and in government. And that includes some smart hires. Last year, Amazon hired Teresa Carlson, who had led Microsoft Federal.

DiGiammarino left the White House earlier this year where he served as an advisor to the Vice President for recovery implementation and director of the Recovery Implementation Office. In that job, he was responsible to ensuring the $787 billion in stimulus got out into the economy as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Here he is at 2010′s Gov 2.0 Summit talking about the stimulus spendings impact on innovation:

DiGiammarino is widely respected, previously serving as the vice president of strategic initiatives for the National Academy of Public Administration, where he helped created the innovative Collaboration Project. The Collaboration Project was developed along with Lena Trudeau, who is now at the General Services Administration’s Federal Acquisition Service’s Associate Commissioner, Office of Strategic Innovations. It was designed to be a place where government could collaborate around collaboration.

This is only the latest in some high profile people jumping into the cloud. Carlson joined Amazon Web Services last year, and Viveck Kundra, the former federal chief information officer, announced that he is joining Salesforce.com.

After the break… read DiGammarino’s full bio…

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by cdorobek

January 24, 2012 at 3:07 PM

DorobekINSIDER: All this shutdown talk — what’s the cost of that?

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Federal workers and contractors seemly have dodged yet another shutdown — I’ve actually lost count about how many there have been this year. (Federal Computer Week says there have been five.)

Last night, I was invited to the annual holiday party hosted by ASI Government, formerly Acquisition Solutions. Not surprising, the buzz of the night was about… the change of leadership at ASI Government — former Agriculture Department CIO Anne Reed stepping into the role of chairwoman after seven years, and Kimberly “Kymm” McCabe has taken over the role as ASI Government’s President and Chief Executive Officer…

McCabe specifically mentioned the end of the war in Iraq

But most of the focus was on… the then potential of a government shutdown. Last night, as the festivities were going on, there seemed to be progress toward a resolution, but it was only late last night that the sides announced they had found common ground. But there was still interesting discussion around the topic. One person — now in industry after a distinguished government career — said that the shutdown threat had almost become SOP. It has become standard operating procedure. Yet several govies showed up late specifically because they were working on shutdown contingency plans.

But 1105 President Anne Armstrong asked about the costs of all this.

The short answer is… there is no easy answer.

The Congressional Research Service actually looked at the shutdown issue back in September 1995.

The estimated costs of shutting down the federal government during a lapse in appropriations are incomplete and sketchy at best. That is especially true in the brief shutdown periods that occurred prior to 1995. In those federal shutdown experiences, the General Accounting Office (GAO) attempted to evaluate such government-wide costs, but incomplete and lack of response by various agencies hampered this undertaking. Certain limited costs have been identified over the years, however. GAO found costs of about $1 million resulting from having to issue split or late paychecks in October 1979 and approximately $1.1 million from having to prepare agency shutdown plans in 1980.

In 1991, GAO found that the estimated partial costs for the federal government shutdown over the Columbus Day Holiday week-end in 1990 was $1.7 million.

There have been two other CRS reports — one on September 27, 2010: Shutdown of the Federal Government: Causes, Processes, and Effects. The other is more of a round-up of information about shutdowns from April 8, 2011: Past Government Shutdowns: Key Resources.

Regardless, there was almost uniform agreement among government insiders that the shutdown threats, ongoing continuing resolutions and general budget upheaval have an enormous impact on the government’s ability to accomplish agency missions. (Going out on a limb there, aren’t we?)

To be honest, the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget has seemed to put forward 12 fairly reasonable principles for the discussion — regardless of political viewpoint.

The 12 principles are:

  • Make Deficit Reduction a Top Priority.
  • Propose Specific Fiscal Targets.
  • Recommend Specific Policies to Achieve the Targets.
  • Do No Harm.
  • Use Honest Numbers and Avoid Budget Gimmicks.
  • Do Not Perpetuate Budget Myths.
  • Do Not Attack Someone Else’s Plan Without Putting Forward an Alternative.
  • Refrain From Pledges That Take Policies Off the Table.
  • Propose Specific Solutions for Social Security, Health Care, and the Tax Code.
  • Offer Solutions for Temporary and Expiring Policies.
  • Encourage Congress to Come Up With a Budget Reform Plan as Quickly as Possible.
  • Remain Open to Bipartisan Compromise.

Find the September 1997 CRS report after the break…

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by cdorobek

December 16, 2011 at 2:02 PM

DorobekINSIDER: HUD’s Chris Niedermayer to retire

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HUD Dept. Chris Niedermayer

HUD Dept. Chris Niedermayer

Chris Niedermayer, the Deputy CIO for Business and IT Modernization at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, has announced internally that he is retiring after 33 years of public service, the DorobekINSIDER has learned.

His last day will be Dec. 3. He has told friends that he plans to take two or three months off to “decompress” and that he will start looking for new opportunities after the new year.

Niedermayer is well respected in the government IT community having worked in a number of key posts, most recent at the Patent and Trademark Office, and before that at the Agriculture Department. He was recruited by HUD CIO Jerry Williams to be a  key part of the IT leadership team at the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Earlier this year, Niedermayer was struck with Lyme Disease. After a tough battle, he has now fully recovered.

Read Niedermayer’s full bio… after the break.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by cdorobek

December 2, 2011 at 8:52 AM

DorobekINSIDER: GovLoop Insights Issue of the Week: The budget

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The GovLoop Insights Issue of the Week with Chris Dorobek…  where each week we try to pick a issue… idea… person… or topic that defined the past 7-days… but also choose one that will define the days… weeks… and months ahead… As always, we focus on six words: Helping you do your job better.Generally we hold off telling you what the big story is, but… not this week. This week’s big story is the budget. And there was a lot of budget news this week…

But before we talk budget… some of the other stories that defined the second week of first week of November 2011…

After the break, we highlight some of the big stories of the week… including a fed jobs bill… USAJobs update… TSP’s October numbers…

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by cdorobek

November 4, 2011 at 7:14 PM

DorobekINSIDER: ELC 2011: UNsessioning about YOUR role in government innovation

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Innovation — we all know it’s important, particularly in these rapidly changing times. We also know that it is hard. At the 2011 Executive Leadership Conference, hosted by the American Council on Technology and the Industry Advisory Council, we are going to try to help. And even if you are not at ELC 2011, there is still a way for you to participate — even if you aren’t here in Williamsburg.

ACT-IACToday, as part of ELC’s technology innovation track – the last panel of the day – and we are trying an ELC innovation about innovation. We are holding an UN-session. For the past several years, there have been un-conferences. Un-conferences — and, by extension, our un-session — is very open. There is a topic, but there are no set list of speakers. It is wisdom of the crowds in the conference format — it enables open, collaborative learning using a format that “creates space for peer-to-peer learning, collaboration and creativity.”

I’m thrilled to be working with Kathy Conrad, the principal deputy associate administrator of GSA’s Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies.

The UN-session is the final panel of the ELC’s technology innovation track. And our goal is to walk out of the UNsession with… homework, for lack of a better term. We want to come up with tools that people can take — and try — in their organization that encourage and enable innovation. And we are then continuing the sharing after ELC ends — I’ve created a section on GovLoop, the social network for government, where I hope people will share their lessons… what worked, what didn’t. (Hear Conrad talk about some of her thoughts on the GovLoop Insights Issue of the Week podcast from this past week.)

One of my new favorite books is Little Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge from Small Discoveries — and I think it is a book about innovation. It’s about making it a part of your live and your thinking. (A preview: The DorobekINSIDER book club will be coming back next year — and, if we can work out schedules, this will be our book. More to come. Stay tuned.)

Read our thoughts — and our notes for the un-session — after the break.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by cdorobek

October 24, 2011 at 11:31 AM

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