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Archive for May 2009 Kundra clears up the ‘go around the CIO’ controversy

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The post is long overdue — but I think it is still important… and I wanted to get it on the record for our ACT/IAC Management of Change panel Monday regarding the changing role of the CIO…

I posted earlier about federal CIO Vivek Kundra’s comments at AFCEA’s Bethesda, Md. chapter earlier last month, which some people interpreted as suggesting people should bypass their IT shops to get things done. As I said then, I don’t think it is what Kundra was inferring, but… it is the way many people took what he said. [Find a link to the audio from the AFCEA Bethesda event here.]

A few weeks ago at the GSA sponsored 2009 Government Web Managers 2–Day Conference, Kundra further clarified his comments. You can hear him for yourself here … but… What he was saying, I believe, is that IT organizations — and CIOs — need to enable their organization to use technology toward their mission. And that too often CIOs have been CI-Nos — they have been the folks who tell you why something can’t get done, rather then the people you go to when you want to get something done. The challenge now is that people can go around the IT organization to get things done.

I sent Kundra a note letting him know how people were interpreting his comments — and he explained that isn’t what he was inferring.

You can hear Kundra explain further form the Government Web Managers conference. I have posted the clip of that specific segment here. You can hear the full presentation here.

Essentially, my interpretation of what Kundra is saying is telling IT organizations that if you want to remain relevant, you have to be an enabler. You cannot be the CI-No. And that means looking at all the options out there that can help the agency accomplish its mission — and that may include potentially free tools.

Meanwhile, Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s Max Cacas was at the government Web managers conference. And he filed several stories.
* Web managers meet fed new media superstars [Federal News Radio, April 30, 2009]
* White House team uses Web 2.0 to reach out to public [Federal News Radio 1500 AM, May 1, 2009]

Written by cdorobek

May 31, 2009 at 10:29 AM

The DorobekInsider reader: Obama cyber policy review

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As most people know, President Obama spoke today about cyber-security and the White House posted the results of the 60-day top-to-bottom review of the government’s cyber-security initiatives. (I was on DC’s WTOP radio earlier today talking about this issue. You can hear that here.)

Some of the links:

* The President’s remarks themselves. You can hear President Obama’s remarks here.

* The White House cyber-security policy review: Titled Cyberspeace Policy Review: Assuring a trusted and resilient infomration and communications infrastructure [PDF]

* blog post by Melissa Hathaway, Cybersecurity Chief at the National Security Council — Securing Our Digital Future

We are late in addressing this critical national need and our response must be focused, aggressive, and well-resourced. We have garnered great momentum in the last few months, and the vision developed in our review is based on the important input we received from industry, academia, the civil liberties and privacy communities, others in the Executive Branch, State governments, Congress, and our international partners. We now have a strong and common view of what is needed to achieve change. Ensuring that cyberspace is sufficiently resilient and trustworthy to support U.S. goals of economic growth, civil liberties and privacy protections, national security, and the continued advancement of democratic institutions requires making cybersecurity a national priority.

* Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris will be all over this story this afternoon. More links to come, but you can find them all here.
Among the people we have heard from today:

— Federal News Radio’s Jason Miller spoke to a number of people today about the report including Karen Evans, among others. Hear Miller’s report here
— Randy Sabett… he is a partner in the Washington office of Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal; served as a Commissioner on the Commission on Cyber Security for the 44th Presidency. Hear our conversation with Sabett here
Greg Nojeim, senior counsel at the Center for Democracy and Technology. Read CDT’s assessment here… Hear our conversation with Nojeim here

* Federal Drive: Fmr ODNI CIO Meyerrose analysis of cyberchanges [05.29.2009]

* NYT: Pentagon Plans New Arm to Wage Cyberspace Wars [5.29.2009]

The Pentagon plans to create a new military command for cyberspace, administration officials said Thursday, stepping up preparations by the armed forces to conduct both offensive and defensive computer warfare.

Some background:

* Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s Federal Security Spotlight featuring highlights of a speech by Hathaway. Hear part one herepart two here.

* Commission on Cyber Security for the 44th Presidency… Read the commission’s fact sheet [PDF]

* Congressional Research Service report: Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative: Legal authorities and policy considerations [PDF, March 10, 2009, hat tip: TechPresident]

Of course the big question now — who will be the cyber “czar.” (Reuters has an interesting story about the Obama czars. My favorite quote from the story: Obama has “more czars than the Romanovs,” who ruled Russia for three centuries — Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)

Written by cdorobek

May 29, 2009 at 12:57 PM

DorobekInsider: The new TSA CIO — Emma Garrison-Alexander

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We have been hearing for weeks now that Homeland Security’s Transportation Security Administration was close to naming a new CIO… and we have heard that it was a woman and we have heard that she came from DOD. We are now hearing a name: Emma Garrison-Alexander, a senior executive at the Defense Department, according to her LinkedIn profile. (I couldn’t find a DOD bio. If you have one, send it along.)

UPDATE to the UPDATE: We now have confirmed that Garrison Alexander is the TSA CIO. Her note to staff is below.

UPDATE: We are hearing that Garrison-Alexander actually started on Tuesday.

One other point: Garrison-Alexander has her doctorate in management, graduating in 2008 from the University of Maryland University College from the Graduate School of Management and Technology program. Her dissertation topic: “The Impact of Knowledge Management on Interagency Collaboration.” I would gladly add that to my reading list. (What can I say — I love this stuff.)

This is not confirmed yet, but… it seems like the pieces are starting to fit together. We’ll let you know when we get confirmation.

UPDATE: This has been confirmed. Here is the note she sent to TSA staff:


It is my pleasure to join TSA as Assistant Administrator for the Office of Information Technology and Chief Information Officer.

I arrive at TSA after more than twenty years with the National Security Agency, starting as an electronic engineer; followed by both technical and managerial assignments in the Research and Development, Technology and Systems, Signals Intelligence, and Information Assurance organizations. These assignments included Senior Operations Officer where I operated on behalf of the Director of NSA in the command and control of time-sensitive signals intelligence and information assurance missions. Most recently, I served as the Deputy Counterterrorism for SIGINT Development Services.

I hold a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering, Masters of Science in telecommunications management and Doctorate in management with a focus on technology and information systems.

Over the past few days I have been introduced to many of the employees that make TSA’s management and delivery of quality IT services so highly admired across the Department. I look forward to meeting many more of you in the coming weeks, to learn quickly about TSA’s existing IT successes and challenges, and to work with all of OIT to continue providing top-notch IT services to TSA employees at Headquarters and in the Field.

Next week, OIT will hold an All Hands meeting where I will have the opportunity to introduce myself to all of you in person. Sheila Klein will issue the invitation shortly via email. I look forward to working with all of you.

Dr. Emma Garrison-Alexander
Assistant Administrator
Chief Information Officer
Office of Information Technology

Written by cdorobek

May 28, 2009 at 5:18 AM

DorobekInsider: May 27 — Links mentioned on Federal News Radio’s Daily Debrief

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Among the links mentioned on Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris

* The Federal News Radio Book Club… our new book is Fired Up or Burned Out: How to reignite your team’s passion, creativity, and productivity. The “meeting” will take place Friday, June 12 at 2p ET on Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s In Depth with Francis Rose program. Read more about it here.

* The DorobekInsider on NewsChannel 8’s Federal News Tonight. Find a link to the video here

* The Open Government Dialogue on openness and transparency. Read the DorobekInsider reader on the Obama openness and transparency initiative here. Among the items we specifically mentioned:
– The top rated item comes from House Minority Leader John Boehner, Support a 72-Hour Mandatory Public Review Period on Major Spending Bills

* Writing a job description in 140-characters: John Monroe, my friend and former colleague over at Federal Computer Week, has a wonderful post soliciting submissions of tweeted job descriptions. As you know, Twitter only allows 140-character submissions. What if you had to write a job description in 140-characters or less. This is one of these posts where you want to read the comments. One of the suggestions: “I read, write, think, create, innovate, to make things no one wants yet, nor can understand…for pay.” Read the post — and the comments — here.

* From Brain Drain to Brain Gain: Fixing U.S. Government College Recruitment: The report by Harvard Kennedy School of Government graduate student Stephen Ader. UPDATE: Hear our conversation with Ader from the Daily Debrief here. The report is posted below. Earlier this month on the Daily Debrief, we spoke with Harvard Kennedy School Prof. Steve Kelman, who helped Ader with the report. Hear that conversation here… and read Kelman’s blog posts about Ader and his paper here… and here. (Kelman’s blog, The Lecturn, can be found here.)

View this document on Scribd

Written by cdorobek

May 27, 2009 at 1:57 PM

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DorobekInsider: NewsChannel 8 talking transparency — the video

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I mentioned earlier that I was on DC’s NewsChannel 8 tonight — their Federal News Tonight program — talking about transparency. You can read the “liner notes” here.

But they have posted the video of the interview. You can see it here.

20090526 news8

Written by cdorobek

May 26, 2009 at 9:12 PM

DorobekInsider: On DC’s NewsChannel 8 tonight talking transparency – the liner notes

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I’ll be on DC’s NewsChannel 8 in the 7:30p ET half-hour — their Federal News Tonight program — and I’ll be talking about (what else) transparency. They stream the show live… and I’ll post the video when they post it.

For those looking for more information, here are the liner notes:

* The DorobekInsider transparency, openness and reader: Just last week, I pulled together The DorobekInsider transparency, openness and reader, which has many of the links related to the Obama administration’s openness and transparency initiative.

* Open Government Dialogue: This is the site established where, through Thursday, the administration is seeking your ideas on transparency and openness. Today on Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris, we spoke to John John Kamensky is Senior Fellow and Associate Partner at the IBM Center for The Business of Government, spoke to us about the process so far. Hear that conversation here.

Thanks for Federal News Radio Internet Editor Dorothy Ramienski, pulled together some notes from that conversation.

* 12,000 visits so far on the Open Government Dialogue site as of this afternoon;
* 42,000 page views
* 600 total unique ideas/posts so far
* 6,000 votes for the different ideas
* participation from every state, as well as visits from over 90 different countries

Kamensky also notes that the most voted on item is one recommended from Republican Minority Leader John Boehner recommendation that there be a 72-hour mandatory waiting period to allow public comment on all spending bills.

* DorobekInsider column in Signal magazine on transparency: Find a link to the Signal magazine column on transparency here… or read the column here.

* This is the Obama administration’s main transparency and openness site

* This is federal CIO Vivek Kundra’s baby, and it is similar to one he created when he was the DC CTO. The site will be a place where public, machine readable data is posted.

* Apps for Democracy 2: Similar to DC’s Apps for America that Kundra led while the DC CTO, the Sunlight Foundation is sponsoring Apps for America 2, which is offering real prize money — up to $25,000 — for the best application developed using data. Find all the information about the Apps for Democracy 2 contest here.

DorobekInsider: June’s Federal News Radio Book Club book — Fired Up or Burned Out

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I am happy to announce the next selection for the Federal News Radio Book Club selection — the book is Fired Up or Burned Out: How to reignite your team’s passion, creativity, and productivity by Michael Lee Stallard.

Fired Up or Burned OutJust to details out of the way, our book club “meeting” will take place Friday, June 12 at 2p ET on Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s In Depth with Francis Rose. On that day, the author of the book, Michael Lee Stallard, will join us, as will Martha A. Dorris, the acting Associate Administrator Citizen Services and Communications for the General Services Administration. Dorris actually recommended this book to me — and Stallard has spoken to teams at GSA, so he has some idea of the challenges facing federal agencies.

Just a reminder about how the Federal News Radio Book Club works — it is something akin to the Oprah book club except we talk about books that help feds do their jobs better. So unlike other book clubs, our “meetings” take place on the radio — Federal News Radio 1500 AM. And we’d love to hear your thoughts about these issues. Comments will soon be available here. I have also set up a Facebook event page for the book club.

And here Here is the Fired Up or Burned Out Web site and you can read Michael Lee Stallard’s blog at

I literally just started the book, so I’ll finish it this weekend. But I hope you’ll join us Friday, June 12 at 2p ET on Federal News Radio 1500 AM.

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.

Written by cdorobek

May 22, 2009 at 1:16 PM