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03.12.2012: DorobekINSIDER: New media matures – and changes the VA; how to take responsibility; and having good conflicts

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The start of our second week… thanks for being here.

GovLoop InsightsAnd there was some significant news on Friday — a new nominee to be the Obama administration’s chief technology officer — Todd Park. Park has been serving as the chief technology officer at the Department of Health and Human Services. He is an awesome guy… and he has done some remarkable things. We’ll chat about that more later… And HHS has also named Frank Baitman as the new chief information officer at the HHS. Baitman has served most recently at FDA and SSA. That post has been filled in an acting capacity for some time.

And did you order an iPad HD? Well, if not… Apple’s cupboards are bare, for the moment. Apple’s good marketing aside, it mostly means you have to wait a bit… like a few days. No need to panic.

We have a great show for you today…

  • Remember when everybody was talking about NEW media — you needed a new media person to change how you get information out to the public? Well, that term is becoming passe. But new media — whatever you want to call it — it is more that just messaging. It has really changed the very nature of how organizations work and operate. And we’re going to talk to the person who has led new media at the Department of Veterans Affairs about their challenges in 2012…
  • Accountability — we’re always talking about accountability in government, right? As if there isn’t enough accountability… but sometimes people don’t feel really responsible for the agency’s goals and mission. We’re going to talk to a professor who has studied this subject — and he’s written a new book… Stepping Up: How Taking Responsibility Changes Everything. We’ll talk to him about responsibility.
  • Ever have a big of a fight with somebody at work? Nothing physical, but… is there a way to have happy conflicts? Seem too good to be true? We’ll talk to an expert about how you can turn a negative into a positive.

All that ahead… but after the break, we start off with the stories that impact your life for Monday 12 March, 2012… your government world in 120-seconds…

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Written by cdorobek

March 12, 2012 at 1:19 PM

DorobekINSIDER: GovLoop Insights Issue of the Week: Finding needles in haystacks — and the changing government market

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GovLoop InsightsHey there — I’m Christopher Dorobek — the DorobekINSIDER — and welcome to the GovLoop Insights Issue of the Week with Chris Dorobek.

Each week, our goal is to where each week, our goal is to find an issue — a person — an idea — then helped define the past 7-days… and we work to find an issue that will also will have an impact on the days, weeks and months ahead. And, as always, we focus on six words: helping you do your job better.

This week, we’ve talked about the challenges of dealing with big data. We’re going to tell you about a company that is going just that — for the intelligence agencies… for the Recovery Board… it’s a story of the Silicon Valley coming to Washington successfully, and it may also be an indication of the direction of government contracting. We’ll talk about the company Palantir.

And as we head into the weekend, we’ll have your weekend reading list… weekends are a time to rejuvenate — but also some time to take a step back and ponder. And we’ll have some reading that may guide you as you work be innovative… to think outside of the box. We’ll have information about the DorobekINSIDER Book Club — it’s coming up on Tuesday Wednesday at the Adobe Government Assembly… and we’ll have details.

But… after the break… we start off as we do every week with a look at the week that was for government… for the first week of February 2012…

 

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Written by cdorobek

February 4, 2012 at 10:34 AM

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.

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Written by cdorobek

October 24, 2011 at 11:31 AM

DorobekINSIDER: Kundra names Schlosser as deputy federal CIO

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Lisa Schlosser has been appointed the next deputy administrator in the Office of E-Government and Information Technology in the Office of Management and Budget. She will start in that post on July 5, sources tell the DorobekINSIDER.In that role, she effectively serves as the deputy federal CIO.

Schlosser has been at the Environmental Protection Agency since 2008, initial overseeing the Office of Information Collection and most recently as the principal deputy associate administrator for EPA’s Office of External Affairs and Environmental Education. Before that, she was the CIO at the Department of Housing and Urban Development. (NOTE: This information has been updated at of 06.02.2011.)

She will replace Mike Howell, who left the OMB post late last year to become deputy program manager for the Information Sharing Environment.

Schlosser is widely respected within the CIO community and she has an impressive resume having experience across a wide variety of issues, including cyber-security. She also served as a military intelligence officer for the Army. Her efforts have also been recognized with Federal Computer Week’s 2008 Fed 100 award and the Laureate Award by the Computerworld Honors Program.

Before HUD, she was the associate CIO and chief information security officer at Transportation Department and she served as the vice-president for Business Operations and Response Services for Global Integrity and a a senior manager for Ernst & Young.

Schlosser is a lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserves and did a tour of duty in the Middle East during the Iraq war.

Read her full bio after the break:

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Written by cdorobek

June 1, 2011 at 4:15 PM

DorobekINSIDER: The Federal News Radio Book Club selection: The New Social Learning

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It’s back — the Federal News Radio Book Club. In fact, we haven’t had a “meeting” since April when we discussed Daniel Pink’s book Drive.

For newcomers… Think of the Federal News Radio Book Club as a wonky version of the Oprah book club. Unlike most book clubs, we don’t meet in a physical location. We’ll hold the book club “meeting” right on the air on Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s DorobekINSIDER and/or online at DorobekINSIDER.com. And during the hour, we will be joined by the authors of the book… and by a few other people who can spur the discussion… and we’ll take questions and comments about the book.

There are several ways you can participate. There is a Federal News Radio Book Club section on GovLoop, where I’d love to get your thoughts… and a Facebook page… you can Tweet about the book…

All of that being said, let me give you the details…

When: Friday, November 12, 2010 at 3p ET
Where: On Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s DorobekINSIDER… and online at DorobekINSIDER.com.

The New Social Learning

The New Social Learning

And the book: The New Social Learning: A Guide to Transforming Organizations Through Social Media by Tony Bingham and Marcia  Conner. Bingham [Twitter] is the is President and Chief Executive Officer of the American Society for Training & Development (ASTD). Conner Bingham [Twitter] is a partner at Altimeter Group, which creates strategies for collaborative culture, social business, and workplace learning with enterprise leaders and technology providers who serve them.

Why this book?

Regular readers and listeners probably know that I am fascinated by what I call collaborative tools. (I am not a fan of the term “social media” — and I think it is more then just a question of semantics.) I continue to believe that these tools are fundamentally altering the way we have done business along a whole array of areas — government being one of them for a number of reasons.

This book fascinated me because… the authors spoke to government… and it focuses on doing business better. But in the end, it is about change — and change management. We all talk about how difficult it is to change government. (I actually think government gets a bad rap — it is difficult to change large organizations, and federal agencies are large organizations.)

One of my favorite pull quotes from the book so far:

Training often gives solutions to problems already solved. Collaboration addresses challenges no one has overcome before.

Love that.

I have to say up front that I have not finished the book yet — my Kindle tells me I’m 39 percent of the way through. (There are no page numbers in an e-book — because you can change the font size.)

That being said, I get the gist — and there is enough there already to make it worth some time.

This book is specifically not about marketing using social networking… or building your brand. It is about training — and learning, where there is so much evolution going on.

Here is how the authors describe the focus of the book:

Many employers see it as simply a workplace distraction. But social media has the potential to revolutionize workplace learning. People have always learned best from one another, and social media enables this to happen, unrestricted by physical location and in extraordinarily creative ways.

Again, I will share my thoughts about the book as I’m reading it. I hope you will too… here… on GovLoop… on Facebook… or Tweet using #DIbookclub. We’ll use all of the comments as part of our discussion on Nov. 12.

I have also pulled reviews and further reading together here.

I look forward to your thoughts.

Previous Federal News Radio Book Club “meetings”:
* The SPEED of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything by Stephen M.R. Covey. Read more and find a link to the book club session here.
* What Would Google Do? by Jeff Jarvis. Read more and find a link to the book club session here.
* Grown Up Digital: How the Net Generation is Changing Your World by Don Tapscott. Read more and find a link to the book club session here.
* Fired Up or Burned Out: How to reignite your team’s passion, creativity, and productivity by Michael Lee Stallard. Read more and hear the book club meeting here.
* Payback: Reaping the Rewards of Innovation by James P. Andrew, Harold L. Sirkin, and John Butman. Read more and hear the book club “meeting” with Andrew and Federal CTO Aneesh Chopra find a link to the book club session here.
* Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel Pink. Read more and hear the book club “meeting” here.

DorobekINSIDER: Crowdsourcing Gulf Coast oil spill info

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Government as a platform — in the Gulf Coast oil spill.

NASA photo

We have covered a lot of the cases of people coming together to help in crisis situations — many of them around so-called Crisis Camps, but we’ve also seen Random Hacks of Kindless, and even post-Haiti, there were remarkable efforts of people coming together to use available tools to share vital information.

While NOAA is tracking the spill — and there are even NASA satellites tracking the slick — but the Louisiana Bucket Brigade is banding together to track the slick on their own.

A band of people calling themselves the Louisiana Bucket Brigade that are using those tools to track the massive oil spill — called the Oil Spill Crisis Map.

As the massive Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster drifts toward land, residents of the Gulf Coast can report sightings of fishermen out or work, endangered wildlife, oil on shore, oil sheens, health impacts and other problems using a new tool known as the Oil Spill Crisis Map. The reports, submitted via text message, the web or email will appear on a web based map of the Gulf Coast, alerting officials and the public alike of the extent of the damage.

“The Oil Spill Crisis Map compiles and maps eyewitness accounts of the oil’s effects in real time,” said Anne Rolfes of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade. “This is a tool for all of us to understand the extent of the damage.”

Reports can be made and viewed at http://oilspill.labucketbrigade.org.

How does it work?

Mobile phone users can text reports to (504) 27 27 OIL
Reports can also be sent to bpspillmap@gmail.com
Twitter with the hashtag: #BPspillmap.

Eyewitness reports for the map require a description, and location information such as address, city and state, zip‐code or coordinates. Citizen reporters can remain anonymous or disclose their contact information. Photos and video can be uploaded via the web.

Written by cdorobek

May 5, 2010 at 4:12 PM

DorobekINSIDER: The Better Buy Project: Seeking to build a better procurement process

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Let’s be honest — innovation in government can be difficult. It isn’t because government workers are less innovative. The the contrary — in my experience, government workers are more victims of bureaucracy then they are purveyors of it. Yet those of us who watch government closely understand the real courage that goes into significant change.

Of course, the government’s anti-innovation reputation is really proposterous. After all, it was the U.S. federal government that spurred the creation of the Internet — and there have been few innovations that have changed all of our lives more then that innovation. But the creation of the Internet, of course, grew from an effort to enable to the government to do it’s job better — the goal was to create a redundant network. Essentially, the innovation grew out of an effort to do business better.

The challenge with government innovation: There is little upside that comes from success, but the risk of failure has significant. To put it simply, the government does tolerate failure — and innovation is difficult, if not impossible, without the chance of failure. (It is one of the reasons why I appreciated Jeff Jarvis’s book, What Would Google Do? — and featured it in the Federal News Radio Book Club last year.)

More recently, there are innovations like the intelligence community’s IntellipediaTSA’s Idea Factory, since expanded to all of the Homeland Security Department… and even blogs at TSA and the CIOs at the Navy and NASA. (See the case library at the National Academy of Public Administration’s Collaboration Project for scores of examples.)

With that as background, all of that brings me to the Better Buy Project, a marvelous, innovative — and courageous — initiative to try and improve the government procurement process. It is an attempt to tap the wisdom of crowds, openness and transparency to the government contracting and procurement process.

The initiative has had several steps — it started out as a discussion in GovLoop’s Acquisition 2.0 community. It then became a stand-alone initiative by the General Services Administration, the National Academy of Public Administration’s Collaboration Project, and the Industry Advisory Council where the groups simply asked for help by asking — very publicly — ideas about how the government procurement and contracting process can be improved.

The Better Buy Project has reached a significant new milestone — a open, public collaborative platform — a public wiki using the same software that runs Wikipedia. GSA courageously is looking for thoughts on how to build a better contract, specifically focusing on the Data.gov contract… and the effort to replace a GSA servers.

You can read more here. We featured the Better Buy Project last week on Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris. We spoke to Mary Davie, Assistant Commissioners of GSA Federal Acquisition Service’s Office of Assisted Acquisition Services, and Chris Hamm is the Operations Director at the GSA Federal Acquisition Service’s Federal Systems Integration and Management Center (FEDSIM).

Some additional resources:

Written by cdorobek

April 12, 2010 at 5:57 AM

DorobekINSIDER: Assessing transparency and open government

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Last weekend, open government advocates gathered in Washington, DC for the second Transparency Camp — an un-conference, which is one of these events where bright people come together and decide what they want to talk about. Read the Twitter feed from that event by checking out #tcamp2010 — and even the Washington Post wrote a story about the event this year.

I could only be there on the second day, but there were great folks with great ideas…

I have been fascinated by the Obama administration’s transparency and open government initiative. Among previous posts:

The DorobekInsider transparency, openness and data.gov reader [May 22, 2009]

DorobekInsider: The first draft from the Open Government and Innovations conference [July 21, 2009]

DorobekINSIDER: On NewsChannel 8 talking government openness and transparency — the liner notes [February 25, 2010]

Signal magazine column: Why Transparency Matters [May 2009]

Signal magazine column: Contract Transparency Poised to Open Up [September 2009]

And O’Reilly media has just published a book Open Government: Collaboration, Transparency, and Participation in Practice. I’ve just started it, but… the early parts of the book are well worth reading.

And this coming week will be a big week for the open government as the Office of Management and Budget and agencies will issue their open government plans.

There were several interesting aspects that came out of transparency camp.

* Most agencies get transparency: Most of the employees I know get transparency and open government. They understand why it matters and how it can help. In theory, they get that one of the powerful parts of transparency is the acknowledgment that more wisdom exists outside any organization than it does inside an organization. That being said, there is a difference between theory and practice. At Transparency Camp 2010, there were a number of staffers from Capitol Hill, which, by and large, is horrible at transparency. And some of the Hill staffers even suggested that if bills are created in a more open framework, well, that’s what staffers do. And the argument is that they know more then… well, those people out there.

Even still, the theory of transparency is one of those ideas that goes against the grain. It’s akin to the Mike Causey example that he uses for investing: When a car starts sliding on ice, you’re supposed to turn into the slide. It just doesn’t feel natural. In many ways, transparency is unnatural.

Furthermore…

* Transparency and open government still isn’t fully defined: As I said last year, transparency continues something akin to a Rorschach test — everybody sees transparency very differently. Each person has very different ways of defining what transparency means and how it can be implemented. A lot of that is good at this point — it is important to note that we are still very early in this and everybody is still learning. But it will be interesting to see how it actually gets implemented.

* Transparency and open government moves a lot of cheese around… and I’ll take a simple example: Freedom of Information Act Requests. It has always seemed to me that this is a process that is just made for openness and transparency. Why can’t all FOIA requests be posted in a public fashion… and agency responses be posted online. One reason: We journalists don’t want others knowing what we are working on.

* Open government and transparency needs to help government operate better: If this is going to take hold — if this is going to be real, I continue to believe that it needs to help agencies do their jobs better.

* Open government and transparency aren’t just a bludgeon: In many ways, Recovery.gov is the poster child for transparency and open government. In fact, Earl Devaney, the chairman of the Recovery, Accountability and Transparency Board told Federal News Radio that the transparency of the site actually has helped the Recovery Board operate more effectively. But it has been difficult at times. We remember the stories about the recovery dollars that were listed in phantom congressional districts. And everybody went nuts. The fact is that incorrect data was probably always there. We just didn’t know it before. Now we know — and it has been fixed. In fact, that is the power of open government, transparency and collaboration. Yet too often we use it as a bludgeon.

The fact is, this is new — and there are going to be mistakes.

But there are real opportunities out there. One of my favorites is the Better Buy Project. This is an innovative initiative by GSA, the National Academy of Public Administration’s Collaboration Project, and the Industry Advisory Council. And the goal is to build a better acquisition process by tapping the wisdom of the crowds, something I had discussed last year. They are actually trying it. The Better Buy Project started in the GovLoop Acquisition 2.0 community, then evolved to a way of having people suggest ideas (hear GSA’s Mary Davie talk about it on Federal News Radio) … and it is now a wiki where you can actually help GSA build a better contract both for Data.gov and for the replacement of GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service’s mainframe computers. More on this later this week, but… it is such a remarkable way of seeking people’s ideas.

We’ll be talking to the folks at GSA who are leading this project later this week. You can also read more on the Better Buy blog.

There are many examples and ideas how transparency and open government can help agencies do their jobs better. It is fun to watch!

DorobekInsider: Germain to lead NAPA’s Collaboration Project, while NAPA’s Munz joins GSA

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We told you yesterday that Danielle Germain decided to step down as the General Services Administration’s chief of staff for “other opportunities.” Her last day was yesterday.

That left many questions about what those opportunities are. The DorobekInsider has learned that Germain will return to the National Academy of Public Administration as the director of it’s innovative Collaboration Project, which helps federal agencies use these collaborative tools to accomplish their missions. The Collaboration Project has really been one of the remarkable under-reported stories. In fact, back in 2008 when NAPA launched the Collaboration Project, I thought it was important enough to put on the cover of Federal Computer Week. And I think the NAPA team have proven that was a good decision. The Collaboration Project has enabled some of the very innovative ideas ranging from the Bush administration’s dialogue around health IT security and privacy the the current Better Buy Project with the General Services Administration. The Collaboration Project also highlighted wonderful projects such as Virtual Alabama, which is becoming a prototype for a Virtual USA, and TSA’s Idea Factory, which the Homeland Security Department has just decided to use across the agency.

Meanwhile, NAPA’s Dan Munz, who has been working with NAPA’s Collaboration Project, has announced that he is joining GSA’s Office of Citizen Services And Communications.

In my new role, I’ll be helping to build an initiative that’s still in its developing stages, but couldn’t come at a more important time: the GSA citizen engagement program.

The note he sent to friends:

If you’re getting this note, it might be because you, like me, have spent some portion of your life — maybe years, maybe weeks — being interested in how collaboration and social media can bring people together and help build a better government from the outside in. “Government 2.0,” as it’s sometimes called, has a lot of different moving parts to it. For about the past two years, my interest and passion have been particularly drawn to public engagement: The question of how technology can enable leaders in government to hear the voices of citizens and leverage the wisdom of crowds.

That’s why I’m so excited to share the news that, as of January 11th, I’ll be joining the U.S. General Services Administration’s Office of Citizen Services and Communications. In my new role, I’ll be helping to build an initiative that’s still in its developing stages, but couldn’t come at a more important time: the GSA citizen engagement program.

GSA has long been a leader in connecting citizens to government using the Internet, and some of GSA’s recent initiatives — like go.USA.gov and the Apps.gov portal — have been some of the coolest innovations I’ve seen in enabling government to really take advantage of the ubiquity of social platforms. I’m so excited to be joining an incredible team with an incredible mission.

So what, exactly, is the mission? Well, it’s rapidly evolving — that’s part of the fun! — but it’s basically this: Over the past few years, I’ve been honored to meet hundreds of public servants who are passionate about engaging people in the work of government, and leveraging their effort and expertise to make government better. That passion deserves to be matched by easy access to the tools, resources, and best practices that can make this vision a reality. That, broadly, is our mission: Connecting people with each other, challenges with solutions, and citizens with their government.

The team is also, as the great philosopher Peter Griffin once put it, friggin’ sweet. I get to work with Bev Godwin, Dave McClure, Martha Dorris, and tons of other great folks at GSA. And, of course, the thousands of innovators across and outside of government who share this mission. I count among my colleagues a pretty amazing community.

So while it was a big decision to leave my current home at the awesome National Academy of Public Administration, I’m really excited about this new opportunity — I think I have a lot to share, and I know I have a ton to learn. It’s been an honor to be part of the Gov 2.0 movement so far, not least because of the incredible partnerships and friendships that I’ve built and hope to keep building. I can’t wait to get started.

Written by cdorobek

January 7, 2010 at 12:15 PM

The DorobekInsider reader: Howard Schmidt as cybersecurity coordinator

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Somehow it feels that the White House it clearing off its desk before the end of the year. What else would explain Tuesday’s announcement that Howard Schmidt would be the Obama administration’s cybersecurity coordinator — just shy of seven months after the creation of the post was originally announced.

The announcement is curious because Schmidt was one of the first names that was tossed around — and in so many ways, he seems to have the skills necessary for this still-being-defined post.

But this strikes me as an important — and complex — job. So, as we often do around these kinds of big events, I like to pull together resources, analysis and opinions around key topics. (Previous DorobekInsider readers: Obama cyber-security policy review, the Defense Department’s National Security Personnel System pay-for-performance reports and Veterans Day.)

Obama-Schmidt

President Obama meets with cyber-coordinator Howard Schmidt

Right at the top, I should note that the DorobekInsider reader: Obama cyber-security policy review has links to the administration’s policy review and much more.

From the White House itself:

* WhiteHouse blog: Introducing the New Cybersecurity Coordinator, which includes a short video with Howard Schmidt.

* To see how Schmidt’s thinking has evolved, read the National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace, which he helped craft before he left the Bush administration. Find the report from DHS here.

Federal News Radio 1500 AM and FederalNewsRadio.com coverage

Federal News Radio 1500 AM has has team coverage of the announcement.

* On Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris… we spoke with Karen Evans, former administrator of e-government and information technology at the Office of Management and Budget, and Randy Sabett, a partner at Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal, where he is a member of the Internet, Communications & Data Protection Practice. Sabett served on the Commission on Cybersecurity for the 44th Presidency, which had recommended the creation of the cyber-coordinator post.

Evans:

Now, think about it. He was doing cybersecurity in Microsoft when it wasn’t cool. So, for him to be able to do that — that experience there within a company as big as that company is and the focus that they had, which was at that point pretty consumer-oriented, [but] has now switched to a very comprehensive type of cybersecurity strategy going forward with solutions for consumers, as well as other folks — that’s due to Howard’s insight and education. That experience will really help when he’s talking with private industry people and what their part is in this.

Sabett:

The difference between the two relates to the areas where the frustration has been felt in the past. The so-called cyber czars — many of them, including Howard — have expressed the idea that they had all of the responsibility but they didn’t have the authority. I think the difference here is the emphasis on coordination, which is a recognition that that there are many pockets, both within the government and within the private sector, of excellence — of people doing really good things in the cybersecurity area. Those don’t need to be shaken up. At the same time, they do need to be coordinated and . . . having this position be the Executive Office of the President is, I think, a significant difference from where the so-called cyber czar positions have been in the past.

You can hear and read parts of those interviews here.

* Federal News Radio’s Jason Miller culled reaction from industry, while Federal News Radio’s Max Cacas got the reaction from Capitol Hill — Cacas notes that one of the more interesting comments came from Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME).

Ranking minority member of the Homeland Security Committee, Senator Susan Collins from Maine, was even more blunt, releasing a statement outlining her “disappointment at the Administration’s decision to add yet another czar at the White House.” Collins wants Schmidt’s new job elevated to one that would be subject to Senate confirmation.

Read and hear Cacas’s full story here.

* Federal News Radio’s Jason Miller is hearing Sameer Bhalotra, a staff member from the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, is a leading candidate to be the deputy cyber coordinator. Miller also spoke to Melissa Hathaway, the former senior director for cyberspace for the National Security Council under President Obama and now president of Hathaway Global Strategies:

“I would advise him to visit those centers and know what they are doing and have a good operational understanding of what’s out there,” she says. “He should know how the partnership is growing between the different departments and agencies.”

Read and hear Miller’s full report here.

Just as an aside, something worth reading: Hathaway’s Five Myths about Cybersecurity. Number 3: Government has the solutions and will protect me. Not necessarily, Hathaway says. Read more here.

* The Federal Drive with Tom Temin and Jane Norris, soon after the announcement, Alan Paller, director of research at the SANS Institute, praised Schmidt’s appointment.

Paller:

Of all the people they were looking at, only two had on the ground experience, and this is a field you can’t do without on the ground experience. This is a job you can’t do without on the ground experience because you get lied to by people, and if you don’t have the experience of having actually managed security, you just can’t do the job.

Read more and hear the full interivew here.

And this morning on the Federal Drive with Tom Temin and Jane Norris, Jim Lewis, director and senior fellow of the Technology and Public Policy Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies spoke about the appointment. Hear that interview here.

Other coverage…

Needless to say, there was a whole lot of coverage of Schmidt’s appointment, so if you’re looking for everything, Google News can do that. I’m just pulling some of the more interesting stories that have some above-and-beyond insights to highlight here.

* As attacks increase, U.S. struggles to recruit computer security experts [WP, 12.22.2009]
My favorite quote was right at the end from Bob Gourley, the former CTO at the Defense Intelligence Agency.

Cybersecurity lawyers, researchers and policymakers are also in short supply. The Pentagon, for instance, lacks a career path to develop “expert decision-making in the cyber field,” said Robert D. Gourley, a former Defense Intelligence Agency chief technology officer. “The great cyber-generals are few and far between.”

* Workforce Hurdles for New Cyber Czar [NextGov's WiredWorkplace blog, 12.22.2009]
Along the lines of Gourley’s comments:

Underlying all of these goals is the challenge of improving the recruitment and retention of a top-notch federal cyber workforce. In July, the nonprofit Partnership for Public Service released a report that found that the federal government faces major human resource challenges, such as difficulty in recruiting and retaining high-skilled workers, poor management and a lack of coordination that leaves some agencies competing against one another for talent. Such problems are particularly acute within the federal cybersecurity workforce, the Partnership found.

* Obama cyber czar pick looks to secure smartphones, social nets [ComputerWorld, 12.22.2009]
Calls on social media firms to alert users about various security threats

* Finally, A Cyber Czar [Forbes.com, 12.22.2009]
The new U.S. cybersecurity coordinator, Howard Schmidt, is an impressive leader in government and industry. He’s also Obama’s fourth choice at best

At least three other candidates had been privately offered the position and turned it down, as Forbes reported in July (see: “Obama’s Unwilling Cyber Czars“). Cybersecurity industry watchers told Forbes at the time that was because the position had been stripped of much of its power in an effort to ensure that new cyber regulations didn’t hamper economic recovery.

In a campaign speech at Indiana’s Purdue University in July of 2008, Obama promised to “declare our cyber-infrastructure a strategic asset, and appoint a national cyber advisor who will report directly to me.” In the year that followed, cybersecurity has only grown as a public issue following a steady drumbeat of foreign hacking incidents that have allowed cyberspies to steal military information and breach the power grid.

But Schmidt will hardly report directly to Obama. Instead, according to a report that resulted from a 60-day government cybersecurity review ending in May, the cyber coordinator position will be “dual-hatted,” reporting to both the National Security Council and the National Economic Council under Obama’s economic advisor Larry Summers.

How Dangerous is the Cyber Crime Threat? [PBS's NewsHour, 12.22.2009]
Talking to Jim Lewis, director and senior fellow of the Technology and Public Policy Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies

* National cybersecurity coordinator choice widely applauded [GCN.com, 12.22.2009]

* Obama’s New Cyber Security Chief, Howard A. Schmidt, Speaks in Gibberish, but Not the Highly Technical Kind [Seattle Weekly, 12.22.2009]

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