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DorobekInsider: Intel on the gov 2.0 front lines – and a new report assessing A-Space

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Editor’s note: This item is re-posted from earlier this week. Unfortunately, for some reason, the item has just disappeared. Federal News Radio’s tech team is working on it, but… it is one of my favorite posts — so I am just re-posting it.

When the history of government 2.0 is written, the intelligence community will get several chapters. In fact, I’m finishing up a pre-publish copy Harvard Business School Prof. Andrew McAfee‘s wonderful book Enterprise 2.0: New Collaborative Tools for Your Organization’s Toughest Challenges (set for November release – although there is an active effort to move up the publication date). Anyway, in McAfee’s book, Intellipedia ends up being one of his four enterprise 2.0 case studies — right up there with a case from Google.

First off, a definition for people who don’t know what Intellipedia — or even a wiki — is. Wikis are Web sites designed for collaboration where groups can come together to collect and edit data. Of course, the best known wiki is the enormously successful Wikipedia, the free, online encyclopedia that taps into the wisdom of crowds. Intellipedia started out as a Wikipedia-like wiki for the intelligence community. And Intellipedia has evolved into a suite of Web. 20 tools for the intelligence community — the Intellipedia wiki, which uses the free, Wikimedia software; a photo sharing tool akin to Flickr; a social bookmarking tool akin to Delicious (my Delicious bookmarks)… and on and on…

In so many ways, this remarkable suite of tools has been at the cutting edge of the transformation of how government uses information. Not only is Intellipedia significantly ahead of most government agencies — therefore they are often requested for speaking posts — but I would argue that the intelligence community is well ahead of many private sector organizations.

And one cannot discount the challenges facing the intelligence community. One just has to go back and read the 9/11 Commission’s final report as a reminder, as McAfee recounts in his book: The 9/11 Commission’s “conclusions can be summarized using two phrases that became popular during the investigations: even though the system was blinking red before 9/11, no one could connect the dots.” (If you either have never read the 9/11 Commission’s report or it has been awhile, it is a remarkable piece of work — almost chilling… and a surprisingly readable narative of what happened. And owners of the Amazon Kindle, you can get it for only 99-cents.)

The goal was to create tools that enable dot connecting — that make data visable and more usable. The goal is share data — and, by extension, knowledge — across the traditional and very well established boundaries in the intelligence community.

In Intellipedia team has recently posted a video that describes what this is all about much better then I could.

So out of the mistakes of 9/11… and out of the 9/11 Commission report… developed the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which is supposed to bring the myriad of intelligence organizations.

There were undoubetedly the organizational and systemic changes, but what also started happening was — to put it simply — stuff. Among the stuff were these tools — and they developed both with some top-down help, but they also evolved organically.

As I mentioned, Intellipedia is way ahead of just about everybody else. So they are fascinating to watch develop because they are facing issues that most organizations will face in the coming years.

Last year, GCN’s Joab Jackson wrote a much discussed story provocatively titled Intellipedia suffers midlife crisis. And Intellipedia is at an interesting place at its evolution. (When the GCN story can out, I thought the headline was preposterous — after all, these tools have been around for a few years. My sense is the baby is barely walking. Yet the headline was more provocative then accurate — but it ended up spurring a very good discussion around standardization. The question at the heart of the argument is: Should these tools eventually be required use within organisations?)

One of the tools is A-Space. The more formal definition of A-Space is “a common collaborative workspace for all analysts from the USIC. That is accessible from common workstations and provides unprecedented access to interagency databases, a capability to search classified and unclassified sources simultaneously, web-based messaging, and collaboration tools.” Think of it more as a Facebook for the intel community. (Read more about A-Space in FCWInformation Week… even CNN… and a post from Lewis Shepherd, who was chief of the innovation directorate of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and is now with Microsoft.

It is a fascinating way of trying to share information.

The Defense Intelligence Agency recently commissioned a study assessing A-Space. The study, conducted by Nancy Dixon, a knowledge management expert, has recently been completed and the report is fascinating. Dixon blogs the conclusions and links to the full report [PDF]. I have also posted it below.

In short, A-Space shows real promise.

I’ll just provide bullet items of her conclusions, because you can read more detail about them for yourself in her report, but… I will quote the top one:

  • A-Space Creates a Collaborative Culture that Serves as a Model for Collaboration

The most significant feature of A-Space is the open, collaborative, and appreciative culture that is developing. Through the on-line interaction, counterparts in agencies are coming to know each other as valued colleagues. The willingness to help others on A-Space is evident everywhere. The informality of the language and the friendly banter create the feel of a comfortable conversation among peers. There is a growing sense of trust that makes it acceptable to offer to one’s thinking even when it is not completely formed. As A-Space numbers grow, it has the potential to make the interagency collaboration that is so needed, a reality. It is this culture of trust along with the functionality of A-Space and the classification level, which supports the analytic benefits that are accruing through analysts’ interaction on A-Space, and could be a model of collaboration for any occupational skill in any venue.

The others:

  • A-Space Classification Level Provides Access to Long Obscured Documents
  • A-Space Functionality Promotes Networking Across Organizational Boundaries
  • A-Space Enhances Users Situational Awareness
  • A-Space Allows Users to Augment their Ability to Interpret Information
  • Analysts use A-Space to Test Ideas and Theories Early in the Knowledge Creation
  • Process

Also be sure to read the challenges… and the recommendations. It is a fascinating study.

View this document on Scribd

Written by cdorobek

July 22, 2009 at 6:41 PM

DorobekInsider: 1105 GovInfo promotes Rapp – and 1105 GovInfo promotes Rapp – and hires Corrin as DOD reporter

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The 1105 Government Information Group has hired a new reporter to cover the Defense Department and has promoted David Rapp, who was hired originally as the 1105 GovInfo editorial director. Rapp has been promoted to 1105 Government Information Group vice president of content.

First Rapp:

Insiders tell me that the title matches the role that Rapp is playing, which has a much wider scope as content increasingly isn’t just a print product anymore. Rapp is reorganizing the newsroom around content first — and secondarly on where that content goes, whether it be print or Web or even events. The new title puts Rapp on par with 1105’s VP of events and the still being sought VP of sales (group publisher).

And welcome to 1105 GovInfo’s new DOD reporter, Amber Corrin. Corrin most recently was at editor of the newsletter group of Hart Energy Publishing, according to her LinkedIn profile… before that, she was at AFCEA’s SIGNAL magazine. She started at 1105 on Monday.

I found this bio from when she was Signal:

Amber Corrin
Assistant Editor
Amber Corrin is SIGNAL’s assistant editor. Corrin is responsible for the production of SIGNAL Connections and writes the International Events and Chapter items. For SIGNAL Magazine, she compiles and edits the Chapter News, Progressions and International Calendar columns. She also covers AFCEA events.

Corrin has covered international affairs, foreign policy and consumer health for United Press International; she previously freelanced for the Charleston (West Virginia) Daily Mail, including ground reporting of the first post-Hurricane Katrina Mardi Gras and 9th Ward clean-up efforts in New Orleans. A graduate of West Virginia University’s Perley Isaac Reed School of Journalism, she helmed one of the nation’s premier college newspapers and has won awards for her editorial writing and for young veteran coverage.

[EDITOR’s CAVIAT: I write a column for Signal magazine, and, of course, I used to work for 1105 GovInfo. Take all of that for what it’s worth.]

Congratulations to both.

I hear there were other changes within the organization, but I haven’t been able to nail those down.

Written by cdorobek

July 22, 2009 at 6:28 AM

Posted in press

DorobekInsider: Identity management — the liner notes

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I am moderating a panel this morning on identity management — it is a custom event that 1105 Government Information Group is putting on for Juniper Networks titled Why Network Security Demands Trusted Identity Management. And, as you can see on the agenda, before my panel, they have two great speakers — Tom Donahue, the director of cyber policy for the national security staff, and Dale Meyerrose, Vice President and General Manager for Harris Corporation and the former CIO for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. [Up until my panel starts, I am taking notes — and posting them with the caveat that these are my raw notes. You can read them here.]

And then there is my panel, which focuses more on the issues of where the rubber meet the road — how do you make this happen.

Session 3 — Discussion Panel 10:25 – 11:40am Implementing Identity Management: Keys to Security and Success Moderator: Chris Dorobek , Co-Anchor, The Daily Debrief, Federal News Radio Panelists:

  • Mary Dixon, Director, Defense Manpower Data Center, Defense Department
  • Stephen Duncan, Director, The Center for Identity Management and Information Assurance, Office of Integrated Technology Services, Federal Acquisition Service, General Services Administration
  • Steve Hanna, Distinguished Engineer, Juniper Networks

What Attendees Will Learn:

  • Trends across government to strengthen converged credentials for employees and contractors
  • What makes an identity management program successful and secure
  • How government organizations are deploying trusted identity management initiatives
  • How agencies can improve existing identity management programs
  • Lessons learned from seasoned professionals from the public and private sectors
  • Common mistakes to avoid and opportunities to maximize proven technologies
  • How agencies are moving ahead to deliver secure, reliable physical and logical access to government information assets and facilities
  • What’s next for identity management and why it is critical to broader national security goals

On Tuesday on Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris, we spoke to Bob Dix, Vice President of Government Affairs & Critical Infrastructure Protection for Juniper Networks. Dixformerly served as the Dix served as the Staff Director for the House Government Reform Subcommittee on Technology and Information Policy. Hear our conversation here. What is fascinating is how identity management issues really have changed and evolved. It has moved beyond the almost tedious but important question of who has given out how many HSPD-12 cards to the much more interesting question of what do you do with those cards — and how do you secure the identity information behind those cards. In our prep call, Dixon told me that as identity management becomes one of the critical ways of ensuring the security of the network, suddently the databases that contain all that information about identity become critically important. After all, if you take out that information, you cripple everyting else. (Anybody else see the movie Eagle Eye where the computer essentially erases Shia LaBeouf identity.) As always, when I speak, I sometimes make reference to conversations I have had on Federal News Radio 1500 AM, so… if you want that information, here are the liner notes… and I may add to this after the presentation depending on what we talk about.

A lot of this is being spurred by the Obama administration’s cyber-security review, which was issued earlier this year. You can find all sorts of resources about the Obama cyber-review in the DorobekInsider reader: Obama administration cyber-security policy review.

I recently had the opportunity to talk to Google’s chief Internet evangalist Vint Cerf, the man widely referred to as the father of the Internet, as part of Federal News Radio’s Meet the Innovator series. He told me that in some important ways, the Internet is still incomplete — and one important part is the lack of identity management. You can hear part one of my conversation with Cerf… and part two. And I’ll add to this post if there are other links that people reference today.

UPDATE: Juniper’s Steve Hanna mentioned Trusted Network Connect, which, according to Wikipedia:

Trusted Network Connect is an open architecture for Network Access Control, promulgated by the Trusted Network Connect Work Group (TNC-WG) of the Trusted Computing Group (TCG). It aims at enabling network operators to provide endpoint integrity at every network connection, thus enabling interoperability among multi-vendor network endpoints. The U.S. Army has planned to use this technology to enhance the security of its computer networks.

The link recommended by Juniper’s Hanna is this one: a white paper that provides an overview of Trusted Network Connect [PDF]. Find more on Trusted Computing Group’s developers page, including a link to the PDF of the Federated Trusted Network Connect (TNC) Version 1.0

Written by cdorobek

July 22, 2009 at 6:22 AM

Posted in Events, security, Technology

DorobekInsider: The first draft from the Open Government and Innovations conference

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They say that journalism is the first draft of history. Well, with the transparency and openness out there these days, my guess is that most journalism is actually the second draft of history… with Tweets being the first draft. That being said, I mentioned earlier that this morning that I was 1105 Government Information Group’s Open Government and Innovation conference. And, as I do at these conferences, I post my notes in a public way (with the caveat that these are only notes).

The 1105 team had two screens featuring tweets for the event — what a great way to share thoughts in real time. And the use of the #ogi hashtag showed up on Twitter today.

There was a lot of good stuff in the morning sessions — I had to get back to Federal News Radio to do the radio show. But I wanted to post some initial thoughts as soon as possible… and hopefully there will be additional analysis to come…

* Dave Wennergren, deputy CIO at the Defense Department

Wennergren [bio in PDF] is one of the CIO rock stars — a real leader in the government IT community for his vision, intelligence, passion, and vision. And Wennergren has been one of the leaders in having the government experiment with collaborative technologies. And he gave a rousing introduction to the conference this morning. (I’ll post the audio when I have more time.)

Some bullet points from Wennergren’s speech:

* “Relentlessly sharing is what the world is going to be all about”
* Self-inflicted denial of service attack: There is a real need to balance security and collaborative technologies. Security is absolutely essential, but if security becomes too strict, it ends up becoming a “self-inflicted denial of service attack.”
* On transparency: He said that in some ways, transparency ends up being management by embarrassment. Of course, it can also be management by showing off the best and the brightest.
* Book mentioned: The book that was the first meeting of the Federal News Radio Book ClubThe SPEED of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything by Stephen M.R. Covey.
* Book mentioned: Polarity Management: Identifying and Managing Unsolvable Problems by Barry Johnson

Still to come… bullet points on Obama CTO Aneesh Chopra’s presentation this morning… and publisher Tim O’Reilly, the creator of the term Web 2.0.

DorobekInsider: The Roll Call-CQ marriage announcement

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DorobekInsider: The Roll Call-CQ marriage announcement

The worst kept secret in town is now official — Roll Call newspaper’s parent company, The Economist Group, today announced that it is buying the Congressional Quarterly group. Here is the AP story.

WASHINGTON (AP) – The owner of Roll Call is buying Congressional Quarterly in a deal that will bring two well-known publications covering Capitol Hill and Washington politics under the same corporate umbrella.

Terms of the deal announced Tuesday were not disclosed.

Read slightly more here.

Here is the release:

Roll Call Acquires Congressional Quarterly

New CQ-Roll Call Group to be Leading Provider of Comprehensive Information on Capitol Hill

WASHINGTON, July 21 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Roll Call Group today announced it has agreed to acquire Congressional Quarterly from the Times Publishing Company. Under the terms of the agreement, Roll Call, a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Economist Group, will purchase CQ to form a new company to be known as the CQ-Roll Call Group.

“We are delighted to welcome Congressional Quarterly to Roll Call,” said Laurie Battaglia, Managing Director and Executive Vice President of Roll Call Group, who will become the executive leader of the new merged enterprise.

“The new CQ-Roll Call Group will have the largest and most experienced newsroom covering Washington and will be the leader in providing insight and analysis about the workings of Congress,” Battaglia said. “CQ and Roll Callare both highly regarded for unbiased, authoritative journalism and excellence.”

“The Times Publishing Company takes great pride in the success of Congressional Quarterly, and takes great pleasure in knowing that it has a very bright future as part of The Economist Group,” said Paul Tash, the Chairman and Chief Executive of the Times. He said the Times is retaining its Governing Magazine division in D.C.

Each company has a storied and distinct history covering Congress and Washington politics and policy. Since 1945, CQ has been the “publication of record” providing factual, unbiased coverage of congressional activity. In recent years, CQ has been at the forefront of developing Internet services that provide real-time intelligence on the workings of Congress.

Roll Call, founded in 1955 and acquired by the Economist Group in 1992, has been at the center of the Capitol Hill community providing a look into the people, politics and personalities that drive the legislative process. This focus on community has led to strategic expansion into trade association-based grassroots mobilization with the acquisition of Capitol Advantage in 2008.

The CQ-Roll Call Group intends to maintain each company’s unique editorial voice, and thus there are no current plans to eliminate any products. In addition, the great majority of the CQ staff will join the merged organization.

Robert W. Merry, President and Editor-in-Chief of CQ for the past 12 years, will not be retained by the merged company. “As in many such instances of two companies coming together,” Merry said, “one CEO inevitably becomes extraneous. In this situation, that’s me.” He will pursue other publishing and journalistic opportunities.

Congressional Quarterly was represented by The Jordan, Edmiston Group, Inc., a New York City-based investment bank that specializes in the media, information, marketing services and related technology industries.

Both companies have approved the transaction, which is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to close in the third quarter of 2009.

About Roll Call Group
Founded in 1955, Roll Call Group is the leading news source for coverage of the people, politics and personalities that shape the legislative landscape. From the daily Capitol Hill newspaper, Roll Call, to the grassroots mobilization product, CapwizXC, Roll Call Group provides its readers with the tools, data and access they need to understand and influence Congress. Visit www.rollcallgroup.com for more information.

About Congressional Quarterly
With more than 160 reporters, editors and researchers covering Capitol Hill and Washington, CQ keeps policy professionals and opinion leaders updated in print and online on a weekly, daily and real-time basis. CQ’s award-winning product line includes: CQ Weekly, CQ Today, CQ.com, CQ Politics, CQ Homeland Security, CQ Budget Tracker, CQ HealthBeat, CQ MoneyLine, CQ Transcripts and CQ StateTrack. Founded in 1945, CQ has a rich history of providing comprehensive, credible and objective information on Congress, politics and public policy. For more information, visit www.cq.com or www.cqpolitics.com.

About The Economist Group
The publications and services delivered under The Economist brand are The Economistmagazine, Economist.com, Economist Intelligence Unit, Economist Conferences, The World Inand Intelligent Life. The Group’s other brands include: CFO, a publication for senior finance executives; EuroFinance, a cash and treasury management event business; and Roll Call Group (including Capitol Advantage) and European Voice (aimed at decision-makers on Capitol Hill and Brussels respectively). The Economist Group is privately owned. For more information, visit www.economistgroup.com.

About Times Publishing Company
The Times Publishing Company is based in St. Petersburg, Florida, where it publishes Florida’s largest daily newspaper, the St. Petersburg Times, the winner of eight Pulitzer prizes. The Times also offers Governing Magazine, Florida Trend Magazine, the free daily tbt*/Tampa Bay Times, the award-winning web site PolitiFact.com, the web portal TampaBay.com, and specialty publications including local weeklies and niche products. For more information, visit www.TampaBay.com

There are several interesting stories in here, not the least of which is the growing battle between Roll Call and Politico, which has grown into a power house… and actually, it is more like Politico against Roll Call and the Washington Post and The Hill…. (If you didn’t read the story in Vanity Fair about Politico… it is a fascinating read.)

Another may have been answered already: The Mike Mills question. Politico reports that Laurie Battaglia, managing director of Roll Call Group, will oversee the merged enterprise. Battaglia said that there are no plans to eliminate any print brands, since they are profitable and have “separate, distinct voices.” But Politico says that there are plans to integrate the newsrooms over the next 18 months. And… Mike Mills will get a post that he was passed over previously. Mills, who formerly was with CQ then went to the Washington Business Journal before joining Roll Call, will become editorial director of the combined newsroom.

Meanwhile CQ editor-in chief Bob Merry will be leaving.

But many of us will also be watching what The Economist/Roll Call does with Governing magazine, which has covered the state and local market. The state and local market has been… what is worse then awful?

And while neither side is saying anything official, we will also likely start hearing numbers. The buzz is that there weren’t many bidders… and those bids came is well under what Times Publishing Company had expected.

Many things to watch as this deal moves forward.

Written by cdorobek

July 21, 2009 at 1:14 PM

Posted in press

DorobekInsider: Attending the Open Government conference Tuesday morning

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On Tuesday morning, I am attending 1105 Government Information Group’s Open Government conference. I don’t know if the event ended up being profitable, but… they have put together a very good line-up.

(NOTE: 1105 asked if I would record calls that went out to 1105’s list — you may have received one. I should note that I didn’t get paid for doing it. I did it because I think the conversation is valuable and I hope they get a good turn out.)

I will only be there for the morning so I can get back to Federal News Radio 1500 AM and work on the Daily Debrief. That being said, I want to see Federal CTO Aneesh Chopra, who will be joining us later this month for the Federal News Radio Book Club on July 31 discussing Payback: Reaping the Rewards of Innovation. I also am very much looking forward to seeing Tim O’Reilly of O’Reilly Media, the person credited with creating the term Web 2.0. O’Reilly Media, of course, is also sponsoring the Gov 2.0 Summit in September, which I hear has a really stellar line-up.

I also want to stay the session titled Web 2.0 & National Security. As I have said as recently as today talking about Intellipedia and A-Space, this is a fascinating area — and, in many ways, the intelligence community is way ahead of everybody else. So… I look forward to the panel. (Two of the panelists, Mark Drapeau and Linton Wells, both of the Center for Technology and National Security Policy at the National Defense University, have written a paper looking at Web 2.0 and national security. You can read that paper hereHear Drapeau talk about it here.)

As I usually do, I will be posting my raw notes from Tuesday morning’s sessions. You can read them here as I am taking them — assuming I have Internet connection, of course.

On the top of my notes, I post this editor’s note:

EDITOR’S NOTE: These are notes. They are provided for informational purposes but should NOT be seen as a verbatim transcript of the event. That is not the intent. The idea is that information is power — and that information is more powerful when it is shared. That being said, it also requires people assess the information that they receive. Raw, unanalyzed information is probably less accurate then information that has been prepared, edited and assessed in some formal way. All of that being said, I believe that information is power — and therefore I am sharing it.

It is sometimes interesting to me how people will sometimes don’t fully assess information. Raw information at times can be more accurate, but generally, it gets better as we think, ponder and analyze. So… take the notes for what they are worth — they are my notes. And I’ll try and post my thoughts about the sessions as soon as I can… and I can’t wait to compare notes with others… and we hope that it all furthers the discussion.

I will be tweeting about the session too using #oig. I look forward to following others at the conference.

Written by cdorobek

July 21, 2009 at 12:09 AM

DorobekInsider: Intel on the government 2.0 front lines – and a new report assessing A-Space

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When the history of government 2.0 is written, the intelligence community will get several chapters. In fact, I’m finishing up a pre-publish copy Harvard Business School Prof. Andrew McAfee‘s wonderful book Enterprise 2.0: New Collaborative Tools for Your Organization’s Toughest Challenges (set for November release – although there is an active effort to move up the publication date). Anyway, in McAfee’s book, Intellipedia ends up being one of his four enterprise 2.0 case studies — right up there with a case from Google.

First off, a definition for people who don’t know what Intellipedia — or even a wiki — is. Wikis are Web sites designed for collaboration where groups can come together to collect and edit data. Of course, the best known wiki is the enormously successful Wikipedia, the free, online encyclopedia that taps into the wisdom of crowds. Intellipedia started out as a Wikipedia-like wiki for the intelligence community. And Intellipedia has evolved into a suite of Web. 20 tools for the intelligence community — the Intellipedia wiki, which uses the free, Wikimedia software; a photo sharing tool akin to Flickr; a social bookmarking tool akin to Delicious (my Delicious bookmarks)… and on and on…

In so many ways, this remarkable suite of tools has been at the cutting edge of the transformation of how government uses information. Not only is Intellipedia significantly ahead of most government agencies — therefore they are often requested for speaking posts — but I would argue that the intelligence community is well ahead of many private sector organizations.

And one cannot discount the challenges facing the intelligence community. One just has to go back and read the 9/11 Commission’s final report as a reminder, as McAfee recounts in his book: The 9/11 Commission’s “conclusions can be summarized using two phrases that became popular during the investigations: even though the system was blinking red before 9/11, no one could connect the dots.” (If you either have never read the 9/11 Commission’s report or it has been awhile, it is a remarkable piece of work — almost chilling… and a surprisingly readable narative of what happened. And owners of the Amazon Kindle, you can get it for only 99-cents.)

The goal was to create tools that enable dot connecting — that make data visable and more usable. The goal is share data — and, by extension, knowledge — across the traditional and very well established boundaries in the intelligence community.

In Intellipedia team has recently posted a video that describes what this is all about much better then I could.

So out of the mistakes of 9/11… and out of the 9/11 Commission report… developed the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which is supposed to bring the myriad of intelligence organizations.

There were undoubetedly the organizational and systemic changes, but what also started happening was — to put it simply — stuff. Among the stuff were these tools — and they developed both with some top-down help, but they also evolved organically.

As I mentioned, Intellipedia is way ahead of just about everybody else. So they are fascinating to watch develop because they are facing issues that most organizations will face in the coming years.

Last year, GCN’s Joab Jackson wrote a much discussed story provocatively headlined Intellipedia suffers midlife crisis. When the GCN story can out, I thought the headline was preposterous — after all, these tools have been around for a few years. My sense is the baby is barely walking. Yet the headline was more provocative then accurate — but it ended up spurring a very good discussion around standardization. And Intellipedia is at an interesting place at its evolution. The question at the heart of the argument is: Should these tools eventually be required use within organizations?

One of the tools is A-Space. The more formal definition of A-Space is “a common collaborative workspace for all analysts from the [intelligence community]. That is accessible from common workstations and provides unprecedented access to interagency databases, a capability to search classified and unclassified sources simultaneously, web-based messaging, and collaboration tools.” Think of it more as a Facebook for the intel community. (Read more about A-Space in FCWInformation Week… even CNN… and a post from Lewis Shepherd, who was chief of the innovation directorate of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and is now with Microsoft.

It is a fascinating way of trying to share information.

The Defense Intelligence Agency recently commissioned a study assessing A-Space. The study, conducted by Nancy Dixon, a knowledge management expert, has recently been completed and the report is fascinating. Dixon blogs the conclusions and links to the full report [PDF]. I have also posted it below.

In short, A-Space shows real promise.

I’ll just provide bullet items of her conclusions, because you can read more detail about them for yourself in her report, but… I will quote the top one:

* A-Space Creates a Collaborative Culture that Serves as a Model for Collaboration

The most significant feature of A-Space is the open, collaborative, and appreciative culture that is developing. Through the on-line interaction, counterparts in agencies are coming to know each other as valued colleagues. The willingness to help others on A-Space is evident everywhere. The informality of the language and the friendly banter create the feel of a comfortable conversation among peers. There is a growing sense of trust that makes it acceptable to offer to one’s thinking even when it is not completely formed. As A-Space numbers grow, it has the potential to make the interagency collaboration that is so needed, a reality. It is this culture of trust along with the functionality of A-Space and the classification level, which supports the analytic benefits that are accruing through analysts’ interaction on A-Space, and could be a model of collaboration for any occupational skill in any venue.

The others:

* A-Space Classification Level Provides Access to Long Obscured Documents
* A-Space Functionality Promotes Networking Across Organizational Boundaries
* A-Space Enhances Users Situational Awareness
* A-Space Allows Users to Augment their Ability to Interpret Information
* Analysts use A-Space to Test Ideas and Theories Early in the Knowledge Creation Process

Also be sure to read the challenges… and the recommendations. It is a fascinating study.

We are working with DIA to get officials on Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris. I’ll keep you posted.

View this document on Scribd

Written by cdorobek

July 20, 2009 at 6:32 AM

DorobekInsider: Most read DorobekInsider and Federal News Radio 1500 AM Daily Debrief items for the second week of July 2009

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The most read items on DorobekInsider and on Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris for the second week of July… I also have some of my favorite investivews of the past week at the bottom…

First… for the DorobekInsider:

  1. DorobekInsider: Recovery.gov contractor Smartronix speaks — in a statement
  2. DorobekInsider: The real story behind the Recovery.gov contract: The need for govt contracting trans
  3. DorobekInsider: The Recovery Board speaks out on the Recovery.gov contract award
  4. DorobekInsider: Learning more about Transportation Department CIO Nitin Pradham
  5. DorobekInsider: Most read items for the first week of July
  6. DorobekInsider: Recovery Board responds to questions — and even posts the Recovery.gov statement of work
  7. DorobekInsider: The celebration of the Summer of Gov (2.0)
  8. DorobekInsider: Recovery Board – and Recovery.gov vendor – get pressure on transparency
  9. DorobekInsider: New DOT CFO nominee… and a possible DOT CIO nominee
  10. DorobekInsider: ACT/IAC hires former 1105er Kristyn Rivellese for events post
  11. DorobekInsider: 45 VA programs under temporary stop order pending fixes
  12. DorobekInsider: Ed DeSeve to join the Obama administration
  13. DorobekInsider: A picture worth almost 1,000 words – Obama and the IT dashboard
  14. DorobekInsider: UPDATED date for the (barely) July Federal News Radio Book Club book: Payback: Reapi
  15. DorobekInsider: Hey funny guy — Uncle Sam wants YOU! No, really… UPDATE: Treaury’s Bureau of Public Debt eventually cancelled this contract. Read the updated notice on FedBizOps here… or the Associated Press story here.
  16. DorobekInsider: Coming and going – A new DOT CIO (mostly confirmed), Frank Puglese, former SSA CIO joins CSC
  17. DorobekInsider.com: Is the Economist’s CQ marriage official?
  18. DorobekInsider.com: Catching up on the past week while I was away — dashboards, salaries, and
  19. DorobekInsider: Management of Change panel: The changing role of the CIO – the liner notes
  20. DorobekInsider: GSA’s Dorris, Army’s Sorenson, HP’s Hempfield earn AFCEA Bethesda
  21. DorobekInsider: GSA names Danielle Germain as chief of staff
  22. DorobekInsider.com: Hear the July 2009 Federal News Radio Book Club meeting – Fired Up or Burn
  23. DorobekInsider: Cyber-attack 2009 – what does it mean?
  24. Congratulations on the wedding of Bob Suda and Joanne Connelly
  25. DorobekInsider: The new TSA CIO — Emma Garrison-Alexander
  26. The DorobekInsider returns… and the most read items for June 2009
  27. DorobekInsider: The real story behind the Recovery.gov contract: The lack of transparency in contracting
  28. DorobekInsider: ConnellyWorks scores a coup hiring ACT/IAC’s Kelly Olson
  29. DorobekInsider.com: Jerry Williams to take the HUD CIO helm
  30. DorobekInsider: Leadership changes at Government Executive – Dunie takes the reins, Vito shift
  31. DorobekInsider weekend extra: Mintz: What I Did For My Summer Vacation

The most read and listed to items from Federal NewsRAdio 1500 AM’s Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris for the second week of July 2009:

  1. TSP Talk: Where is the market going?
  2. Defense Business Board releases NSPS recommendations
  3. Will the Senate cure the ‘FERS flu’?
  4. Energy Department CFO talks about the agency’s plans for stimulus dollars
  5. Taking a long look at NSPS
  6. Meet the Innovators: Vint Cerf Part II
  7. TSP Talk: Tobacco Bill signed into law
  8. Recovery Board speaks about recovery.gov contract
  9. Update: Sunlight Foundation’s bid on Recovery.gov
  10. Concerns about recovery.gov contract
  11. Analysis: Recovery.gov controversy
  12. Learning about the Federal Service Student Ambassador Program
  13. Connecting dashboards to performance
  14. Should Alaskan native corps. get special considerations?
  15. Update: NTSB releases recommendations for Metro
  16. In case of emergency, read blog
  17. Happy Birthday, GovLoop!
  18. IRS pushes for online filing
  19. Benefits for domestic partners of federal workers?
  20. Career fair coming next week
  21. Happy Birthday, Smokey!
  22. Update: Cloud computing conference
  23. The trouble with Web 2.0 . . .
  24. Drupal and the ‘Decade of Data’
  25. GAO: Personnel Security Clearances backlog a problem
  26. A possible cure for the FERS flu?
  27. GAO: Security problems abound throughout FPS
  28. Meet the Innovators: DAU’s Mark Oehlert
  29. National Data Catalogue launched by Sunlight Foundation
  30. Monday Afternoon Newsstand
  31. AFGE speaks out against NSPS
  32. How a wiki is helping the Open Government Initiative
  33. Go to the 14th annual Excellence in Government Conference
  34. Celebrating the 40th anniversary of Apollo 11
  35. DoD, VA update House on shared health info
  36. Update: Dependents of feds health care benefits
  37. Report seeks to help gov’t. better manage performance
  38. New SES survey released
  39. Dashboards: coming soon to an agency near you?
  40. Proposed Budget Would Limit Raises in 2010
  41. No COLA for federal retirees?
  42. Congresswoman: DHS’s NPPD deserves recognition
  43. New Jobs for young people at PPS
  44. The Making a Difference Federal Internship Program
  45. Causey on Pay-for-Performance
  46. Update: Smartronix wins Recovery.gov redesign contract
  47. Past, Present and Future at GSA
  48. Breaking Down the BearingPoint Bankruptcy
  49. Committed to E-Verify?

A few editor’s favorites from the week:

* Vint Cerf: Getting to talk to one of the people who helped create the Internet was such a treat, but… he was even better then I had hoped talking about government innovation. Hear that here… and hear all of Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s Meet the Innovator series here.

* The Recovery Board contract award: We had a numer of interviews about the Recovery Board’s $9.5 million contact to Smartronics for the new Recovery.gov Web site, which created much controversy. Recovery Board Chairman Earl Devaney was on Federal News Radio talking about the process… and GSA’s acting chief acquisition officer David Drabkin, who led the acquisition process. We also spoke to Venable’s Robert Burton, the former OFPP administrator, and OMB Watch.

* Other items through the week… Energy Department’s CFO talking about the challenges in processing all those stimulus dollarsHappy Birthday Smoky Bear!… the Sunlight Foundation’s announcement of the National Data Catalog, which will pull goether all the Data.gov data — plus much more… and a good cautionary warning that we should move slowly with all that Web 2.0 hype from somebody who believes in Web 2.0…

Over all, not a bad week.

On to the third week in July…

Written by cdorobek

July 19, 2009 at 1:23 PM

DorobekInsider weekend extra: Mintz: What I Did For My Summer Vacation

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Editor’s note: The following is a guest post by Dan Mintz, the former Transportation Department CIO, now with CSC. He is on a family trip to see a solar eclipse — in China. He told me he will dend along a follow-up note on his return. This was written before he left earlier this week.

What I did for my summer vacation

By Dan Mintz

On Monday, July 13th at 8am, my wife Ellen and my two daughters, Miriam and Tamar, and I are getting on a plane at Dulles Airport. Approximately 18 hours later, we land in Shanghai, China at 1:55pm, July 14th.

The Mintz family in China

The Mintz family in China

Eight days later we hope to see the longest total solar eclipse in this century, slightly less than six minutes long at Wuhan, China. Regardless of the viewing conditions that morning, we will get an all too short glimpse of this still controversially emerging global super-power between July 14th and July 27th when we leave Beijing to return home.

How This Trip Came About – Turkey

The possibility of the trip to China actually began in late 2004, when I decided that it was important for me to see a total solar eclipse. It turned out that one was scheduled to occur in March, 2006 in Turkey, a country I had always been interested in because of the many cultures that had occupied that territory over time.

Searching around the Internet I came across a web site called Eclipse Chasers and was referred to someone who organized Eclipse tours, Rick Brown.

My wonderful wife, Ellen, was used to these kinds of random thoughts, and while Turkey was probably not on her top three list of countries to visit next, acquiesced to going.

We had a wonderful time in Turkey, saw many wonderful sites, and had a great time watching the eclipse in Side, Turkey, at a resort on the Mediterranean. We literally were able to see the shadow of the eclipse come at us from the water and cross over us as the eclipse became total.

For those who are interested in what it was like to be in Side, here is a summary from one of the participants

We made many new friends, a number of whom we have kept in active touch with and who have since visited our home. And, of course, we enjoy the Turkish rug we bought while there – is it possible to go to Turkey and not get a rug?

One final story from the Turkey visit is that before I left I had started serious conversations with the Bush Administration about joining the Department of Transportation as the Chief Information Officer. We had gotten to the point where the next step was to make an ‘almost’ final decision and then have that likely choice meet Secretary Mineta for a final sign-off.

When we arrived, tired and jet-lagged late afternoon, I confirmed that I had received no phone calls or emails. Assuming this likely meant that they were delayed in deciding or had decided to select someone else, I called the White House liason. Though it was very late in the day, she was still cheerful, I was to learn she always was, telling me she really looked forward to seeing me at 10am the next day for my meeting with Secretary Mineta.

The next morning I arrived at the Department, thankful that I had checked in but to be honest barely awake. Evidently I didn’t make a complete fool of myself because within a day after that final meeting I was offered the position and happily accepted leading to almost three greats years working with some of the finest people I have ever had the good fortune to meet.

How This Trip Came About – China

The first email from Rick Brown, the organizer of the Turkey eclipse trip, about joining him in 2009 in China came in September, 2006.

Though we really hadn’t planned to go on still another eclipse trip, both Ellen and I had talked about visiting China and once we found out both of our daughters would be interested in going, we let Rick know we were in.

The plan for the trip is pretty extensive. (Read the entire plan here.)

Our group this year is almost 50 percent bigger than last year — about 90 people. We will typically be going in three buses when on land.

We land in Shanghai, tour for a few days while getting used to the time change. Then fly inland to take a cruise down the Yangtze River. During the four days we are on the Yangtze we take a number of side excursions visiting the three gorges and other sights.

July 21st we fly back to Wuhan where we will watch the eclipse the next day. Up at 5am the current plan is to go to a local university to watch the eclipse.

For those who are interested, the University of North Dakota plans to do a web cast from our site. You can see that at  www.sems.und.edu.

And I am told we will have a New York Times reporter joining us in Wuhan.

After the eclipse we leave Wuhan that afternoon, flying to Xian to see the Terra Cotta soldiers and finally to Beijing.

Assuming we have no problems accessing flickr, we plan to upload pictures on Flickr from time to time. Find photos here: www.flickr.com/technogeezer.

As we finish packing for the trip and our older daughter comes back to DC from NYC, where she continues her efforts at perfecting her acting craft.

Our excitement only builds; from the opportunity to see China, to spend two weeks with our entire family, and naturally to see another eclipse, a very special experience.

Written by cdorobek

July 18, 2009 at 11:47 AM

Posted in Circuit, community

DorobekInsider: 45 VA programs under temporary stop order pending fixes

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The new CIO at the Department of Veterans Affairs, Roger Baker, is wasting no time in putting troubled VA IT systems on notice. Baker announced today that it will “temporarily halt 45 information technology projects which are either behind schedule or over budget.”

I should note that Baker will be on Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s In Depth with Francis Rose this afternoon. In Depth airs from 1-3p ET.

Here is the release — and the list of systems:

Initial 45 Projects Targeted for New Department-Wide Management System

WASHINGTON – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced today that it will temporarily halt 45 information technology projects which are either behind schedule or over budget. These projects will be reviewed, and it will be determined whether these projects should be continued.

“Leveraging the power of Information Technology to accelerate and modernize the delivery of benefits and services to our nations Veterans is essential to transforming VA to a 21st century organization that is people-centric, results-driven and forward thinking,” Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki said.

Secretary Shinseki ordered a review of the department’s 300 IT projects and implementation of the PMAS, designed to increase the department’s accountability for IT projects.

Each of the 45 projects will be temporarily halted. No further development will occur and expenditures will be minimized. A new project plan that meets the requirements of Program Management Accountability System (PMAS) must be created by the project manager and approved by VA’s Assistant Secretary for Information and Technology before resuming.

“VA has a responsibility to the American people, who are investing millions of dollars in technology projects, to deliver quality results that adhere to a budget and are delivered on time.” Shinseki said. “They need to have confidence that the dollars they are spending are being effectively used to improve the lives of our Veterans.”

PMAS is a management protocol that requires projects to establish milestones to deliver new functionality to its customers. Failure to meet set deadlines indicates a problem within the project. Under PMAS, a third missed customer delivery milestone is cause for the project to be halted and re-planned.

“Our goal is to increase our success rate for our systems development projects,” Roger W. Baker, VA’s Assistant Secretary for Information and Technology, said. “We will use every tool at our disposal to bring about greater accountability and ensure that taxpayer dollars are being spent wisely. PMAS and the IT Dashboard will be critical indicators of whether our IT projects are on schedule and on budget, and if they are not, we will take swift action to cut down on waste and redundancy.”

PMAS, in conjunction with the analytical tools available through the IT Dashboard, will ensure early identification and correction of problematic IT projects. The IT Dashboard, launched last month, is a one-stop clearinghouse of information, allowing the American people to track federal information technology initiatives and hold the government accountable for progress and results.

Over the next year, all IT projects at VA will be required to move to PMAS.

The Obama Administration has made management reform a key government-wide priority. From IT accountability to personnel and contracting reforms, the administration is committed to providing better value, efficiency, and effectiveness for taxpayers’ dollars.

Below is a complete list of all projects temporarily halted under PMAS at this time:

  • Scheduling Replacement
  • Laboratory System Reeingeering Project (LSRP)
  • Pharmacy Re-Engineering Pre .5
  • Health Data Repository (HDR) II
  • Pharmacy Re-Engineering Pre1.0
  • HeVet Middleware Services
  • Person Service Identity Management
  • Administrative Data Repository (ADR)
  • Document & Ancillary Imaging
  • Clinical Data Service
  • VA Learning Management
  • Home Telehealth (HT) Development
  • Occupational Health Record Keeping System (OHRS)
  • Enrollment System Redesign (ESR) v4
  • CHDR – Chemistry & Hematology: ADC Automation
  • Clinical Flow Sheet – CLIO
  • E-Gov: E-Training
  • Barcode Expansion
  • Delivery Service
  • Organization Service
  • Enrollment System Redesign (ESR) v3.1
  • Health Data Repository (HDR) Data Warehouse
  • Home Telehealth (HT) Infrastructure Enhancements
  • Radiology Outside Reporting
  • BCMA Inpatient Medication Request for SFG IRA
  • Blood Bank – VBECS v1.0
  • Prosthetics Enhancements
  • VIC (Veterans Identification Card) Development
  • Spinal Cord Injury & Disorders Outcomes v3.0
  • Radiology HL7 Interface Update
  • Ward Drug Dispensing Equipment (WDDE) Interface
  • Lab Data Sharing & Interoperability (LDSI) – Anatomic Pathology/Microbiology
  • HBPC Medical Foster Home (MFH)
  • eClaims Plus
  • ASISTS Modification – Case Management
  • National Teleradiology Program
  • CAPRI Enhancements
  • Master Patient Index
  • RMS – Rights Management Server
  • National Teleradiology Program
  • Problem List Standardization
  • Radiology Standardization
  • LDSI Terminology Support
  • Clinical/Health Data Repositories (CHDR) Phase II
  • Fee Data and HERO

Meanwhile, federal CIO Vivek Kundra is using the Federal IT Dashboard blog to say this is exactly what is supposed to happen…

Evidence-based decisions

Today, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), under the leadership of Secretary Shinseki and VA CIO Roger Baker, announced that it will temporarily halt 45 IT projects which are either behind schedule or over budget and work to determine whether these programs should be continued. We’re not talking about a trivial sum here—the Fiscal Year 2009 combined budget for the 45 projects is approximately $200 million. The worst offender of the bunch was 110% over budget and 17 months behind schedule.

We were able to catch these contracts, in part, thanks to our new tool, the “IT Dashboard” which helped shed light on the performance of projects across the federal government.

During the next few weeks, the VA will audit these 45 projects to determine whether additional resources or new management teams can get them back on schedule. If they can’t be fixed, the projects will be canceled.

If you are just hearing about the IT Dashboard for the first time, it allows you to see which IT projects are working and on-schedule (and which are not), offer alternative approaches, and provide direct feedback to the chief information officers at federal agencies.

Given the size and complexity of the federal IT portfolio, the challenges we face are substantial and persistent. The dashboard is not a substitute for good management. Its value comes from leaders who use the information to make tough, evidence-based decisions on the future of IT investments.

The VA’s announcement is part of a broader effort by the Administration to make the federal government more transparent and to boost accountability and drive better performance. From IT accountability to personnel and contracting reforms, the administration is committed to providing better value, efficiency, and effectiveness for taxpayers’ dollars.

Written by cdorobek

July 17, 2009 at 10:46 AM