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Archive for the ‘Circuit’ Category

DorobekINSIDER: Helping out a Postal employee in a time of need

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Those here in DC may have heard the horrible case of Vanessa Pham, a young woman who was murdered. Her body was found on Sunday.

The connection to the federal workforce: Pham’s mother is a postal worker — and family friends let me know that the family is having struggling financially to make ends meet. Friends have established a memorial fund to raise money for the funeral and burial costs.

Contributions may be sent to:
Navy Federal Credit Union
Vanessa Pham Memorial Fund
P.O. Box 3100
Merrifield, VA 22119-3100

More about Pham from the Washington Post:

Pham had just finished her freshman year at Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia, where she was studying fashion design. She had received a “distinguished senior” award from Madison for her work in fine arts, and her family said she was a talented artist and designer.

Pham’s body was found about 3:30 p.m. Sunday inside her Scion hatchback. The hatchback had been driven into a ditch along Route 50 in the Falls Church area of Fairfax County, near the intersection with Williams Drive just before Gallows Road. Police publicly identified her on Monday.

More on Pham’s murder from the Washington Post:

Vanessa Pham was on her way to realizing her dream of being a fashion designer. Then someone left her to die in her car in a ditch just a few yards from a busy Fairfax County highway.

Fairfax police on Monday identified Pham, a 19-year-old Northern Virginia native, as the woman whose body was found in a white Scion hatchback shortly after 3:30 p.m. Sunday. She had been stabbed multiple times, sources familiar with the investigation said.


Written by cdorobek

June 30, 2010 at 1:47 PM

Posted in Circuit, community

DorobekINSIDER: Robert Carey joins Navy cyber command

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Federal News Radio told you that Robert Carey, the widely respected CIO for the Department of the Navy, would be leaving that post.

The DorobekINSIDER has confirmed that Carey will join the Navy’s Fleet Cyber Command/U.S. Tenth Fleet, which is responsible for directing the Navy’s cyberspace operations. Carey has been one of the leaders for government cyber-security efforts and initiatives. And Carey mentioned the Fleet Cyber Command in a recent blog post.

No word on a timetable.

Also no word on Carey’s replacement as the Navy CIO, although I’d put money you’ll see a uniformed person in that post. (The almost unnoticed trend among DOD CIOs is that they are shifting from civilian posts to military posts. The notable exception, of course, is the nomination of Teri Takai to be the Defense Department CIO and Defense Department Assistant Secretary for Networks and Information Integration. That being said, no word on where that nomination stands.)

More on the mission of the Fleet Cyber Command and the U.S. Tenth Fleet:

The mission of Fleet Cyber Command is to direct Navy cyberspace operations globally to deter and defeat aggression and to ensure freedom of action to achieve military objectives in and through cyberspace; to organize and direct Navy cryptologic operations worldwide and support information operations and space planning and operations, as directed; to direct, operate, maintain, secure and defend the Navy’s portion of the Global Information Grid; to deliver integrated cyber, information operations cryptologic and space capabilities; and to deliver global Navy cyber network common cyber operational requirements.

U.S. TENTH Fleet Mission:

The mission of Tenth fleet is to serve as the Number Fleet for Fleet Cyber Command and exercise operational control of assigned Naval forces; to coordinate with other naval, coalition and Joint Task Forces to execute the full spectrum of cyber, electronic warfare, information operations and signal intelligence capabilities and missions across the cyber, electromagnetic and space domains.

The Fleet Cyber Command is led by Vice Admiral Bernard J. “Barry” McCullough III, and his deputy, Rear Admiral William E. Leigher.

Written by cdorobek

June 30, 2010 at 8:36 AM

DorobekINSIDER: Treasury’s Gross to be deputy CIO at Interior

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Lawrence Gross, the Treasury Department’s associate CIO for e-government, is moving to the Interior Department.

Gross will leave Treasury at the end of this week. Starting June 28, Gross will be the Interior Department’s deputy chief information officer.

Prior to his tenure at Treasury, Gross served at the Energy and Justice Department. He also served as the Chief, Information Technology and Telecommunications at United States Navy Reserve.

Last month, Interior named Bernard Mazer to be its new chief information technology officer. Mazer, who has been CIO at Interior’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), will start his new post June 7. That came after Sanjeev “Sonny” Bhagowalia left to become the deputy associate administrator for innovative technologies at GSA.

Written by cdorobek

June 21, 2010 at 11:49 AM

DorobekINSIDER: Take your puppy to work day

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Yes… if DorobekInsider producer Emily Jarvis sounds a bit distracted during the program today, here is why:


Ruby is visiting Federal News Radio 1500 AM today — something like ‘take your dog to work day.’ Ruby is my third. See the other two here.

Yes – she is a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. She is 9-weeks old. And she is much smaller in real life.

Written by cdorobek

June 18, 2010 at 1:49 PM

Posted in Circuit, DorobekInsider

DorobekINSIDER: Is cybersecurity over-hyped?

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I had the pleasure last night to attend the Intelligence Squared debate series — the first one held in Washington, DC. (Yes, it was a wonk-fest. After all, there were some other big events in DC last night. Washington Nationals pitching sensation Stephen Stassburg was proving worthy of all the hype over at the Washington Nationals ballpark… and James Taylor and Carole King were in DC for their tour. Moderator John Donvan from ABC News joked that people had to be really wonky to show up given the competing events.)

The packed house at the Newseum were treated to a fascinating debate focused on the “motion”: The cyber war threat has been grossly exaggerated.

Arguing in favor of that contention:
* Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC)
* Bruce Schneier, the cryptographer, computer security specialist, and writer who is the founder and chief technology officer of BT Counterpane, formerly Counterpane Internet Security. He writes the popular Schneier on Security blog.

Arguing in opposition to that contention:

* Mike McConnell, former vice admiral in the Navy, the former director of the National Security Agency and the former Director of National Intelligence. He now works for Booz Allen Hamilton.
* Jonathan Zittrain, professor of Internet law at Harvard Law School and a faculty co-director of Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society. He writes the Future of the Internet blog and is on Twitter.

The debate started out by polling the audience asking us the question: The cyber war threat has been grossly exaggerated.
Initial results:
* Yes: 24 percent
* No: 54 percent
* Undecided: 22 percent

Before we offer more about the debate, how would you vote?

The debate actually focused on the question: Yes, there is a treat, but is it war?

The proponents of the arguement essentially made the point: Show me the war. Schneier said that the Internet has proven to be more resiliant then expected then anticipated or expected. While both he and Rotenberg acknowledged the threats, they argued that the “war” terminology is exaggerated… and dangerous.

“What you do with a threat of war is you call in the military, and you get military solutions,” Schneier said.

Rotenberg argued the militarization of the Internet is part of a long effort by the military and intelligence organizations to take the reins of the Internet — and he pointed to the infamous “clipper” chip from the 1990s, which would have given the government the keys to strong encryption. The argument: If something becomes a “war,” then other important issues — such as privacy — get shoved aside.

McConnell argued that the treats are very real, and, essentially, the country needs to understand how significant they are. And yes, there hasn’t been a “cyber Pearl Harbor,” but… during the Cold War, there were no nukes fired. The question is how you best prepare and defend these mission critical systems. He argues that society depends on trust and interdependency.

The cyber-war debate (Parente photo)

Zittrain said there is little argument that these are, in fact, hostel actors out there who are interested in attacking U.S. interests and livelihood. And he argued that these technologies are more fragile then we might believe.The two sides even disagreed about the now infamous Russian — or, more accurately, believed to be Russian — cyber-attack on Georgia. Schneier argued that it amounted to a fancy denial of service attack and he scoffed arguing that is it really a war if you can’t go to the Department of Motor Vehicles? McConnell, however, argued that the Russian attack helped bring Georgia to its knees.

Somewhat surprisingly, there wasn’t much discussion about the motivation of those stoking the cyber-war stories. Let me just say I’m not saying that the threat is exaggerated. From the people I talk to, there are real threats out there. And I have spoken to the people who, for example, are responsible for the the network at the Pentagon itself, which sustained a major attack back in 2007. That attack forced DOD officials to spend years even trying to determine what data was stolen. I am also keenly aware of how dependent we are on technology. But I thought there would be some discussion of the Threat Level piece from earlier this month that raised the issue of whether we can trust the people assessing the threats. From’s Danger Room blog:

Coincidences sure are funny things. Booz Allen Hamilton — the defense contractor that’s become synonymous with the idea that the U.S. is getting its ass kicked in an ongoing cyberwar — has racked up more than $400 million worth of deals in the past six weeks to help the Defense Department fight that digital conflict. Strange how that worked out, huh?

Read the full post.

The panel was asked to make policy recommendations. McConnell stressed that we are a nation of laws, and therefore we need to get the laws correct. Although somewhat unrelated, Rotenberg scoffed at that idea and pointed to NSA’s warrentless wiretapping as a case where he says the laws don’t get implemented.

Rotenberg policy proposal: More openess and transparency. And this is one that I think is important. In fact, I’m hearing a lot of cyber-security minded people talk about the importance of sharing some information. Earlier this year, I moderated a panel at the AFCEA homeland security conference. On that panel was Marcus Sachs, Verizon’s executive director for national security and cyber policy. He formerly worked at the Army was with the Joint Task Force for Computer Network Defense and for the National Security Council’s Director for Communication Infrastructure Protection. And he suggested that there needs to be more of a conversation around cyber-security. Hear highlights here. I have been quite concerned that the Web 2.0 advocates have been almost loggerheads with cyber-security advocates, when I still think there is an opportunity to collaborate around cyber-security problems.

After all the debating was done, the audience was again asked to vote on the question: The cyber war threat has been grossly exaggerated:
* Yes: 23 percent
* No: 71 percent
* Undecided: 6 percent

What do you think?

A special thanks to Chris Parente, managing director at Strategic Communications, who invited me to the debate. Very much appreciated. Parente has posted his take of the event here.

Also read Fierce Government IT’s coverage.

Written by cdorobek

June 9, 2010 at 1:43 PM

DorobekINSIDER: GSA reorganizes, Interior shuffles – and the CIO moves

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These posts are often difficult to write because… well, the situation appears fluid and the facts aren’t all in place yet. And given the nature of the issues, people don’t really want to talk about it. That being said, it appears there are a number of changes afoot at GSA, where GSA Administrator Martha Johnson is continuing her broad reorganization of that agency, and at the Interior Department.

As I said, details are still sketchy and it doesn’t appear that everything is locked down yet, but… here is what we are hearing:

* GSA’s Office of Citizen Services and Communications will be transformed into the Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technology. Dave McClure, the Associate Administrator of the U.S. General Services Administration Office of Citizen Services and Communications, will have two deputies, we hear. Martha Dorris, the Deputy Associate Administrator for the Office of Citizens Services, will lead the citizen services part of the organization… and Sanjeev “Sonny” Bhagowalia, currently in the Interior Department CIO, will become something like the Deputy Associate Administrator for innovative technologies. In that role, he will be leading issues like cloud computing and

We hear that Bhagowalia’s last will be tomorrow — and he will start at GSA on Monday, May 24. Bhagowalia was testifying just this morning before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee regarding the transition — or lack thereof — to the Networx telecommunications contract. Federal News Radio’s Jason Miller tried to ask him about his shift, but Bhagowalia said he couldn’t answer questions. (So… we have tried to get this information from official sources.)

* Interior Department CIO organization… We haven’t been able to nail these down precisely either, but… we hear that Bhagowalia will be replaced by Bernie Mazer, who is currently the CIO at Interior’s Fish and Wildlife Service.

* Interior Department’s National Business Center… There have also been changes at Interior’s National Business Center. Doug Bourgeois, Director of the Interior Department’s National Business Center, has left that post and is now at VMwar as the vice president and chief cloud executive. We hear there could be other changes. Donald Swain, who had been serving as NBC’s chief of staff, is the acting director.

Written by cdorobek

May 21, 2010 at 12:47 PM

DorobekINSIDER: Commerce quietly names Szykman as the new CIO

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Very quietly, the Commerce Department has named Simon Szykman as the agency’s new CIO.

Szykman previously served as the CIO of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)… and before joining NIST, he was the director of the National Coordination Office for Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD).

Commerce Department sealSuzanne Hilding had been serving as the Commerce Department CIO since March 2008. Commerce Department officials were not immediately available with information about where Hilding had gone. Hilding never granted many interviews or spoke publicly often and therefore was not very well known within government IT circles.

Here is Szykman’s bio as posted on the Commerce Department OCIO Web site:

Simon Szykman
Chief Information Officer

Simon Szykman was named the Chief Information Officer (CIO) of the Department of Commerce in May, 2010. Prior to moving into this position, Dr. Szykman served over three years as the CIO of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

Before joining NIST as CIO, Dr. Szykman served as the Director of the National Coordination Office for Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD), where he was responsible for the coordination of planning, budget, and assessment activities for the Federal NITRD Program. In this role Dr. Szykman reported directly to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the National Science and Technology Council.

Dr. Szykman arrived at the National Coordination Office from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate, where he served as the Department’s first Director of Cyber Security R&D. At DHS he led the development of cyber security R&D plans, programs, and budgets in support of the Department’s mission, and led the development of the Government’s first interagency Federal Plan for Cyber Security R&D.

Dr. Szykman joined DHS after an 18-month assignment at OSTP. In the role of Senior Policy Analyst, his portfolio included a variety of information technology-related issues, including cyber security, high-end computing, and functioning as liaison for the NITRD Program, among others. Prior to joining OSTP, Dr. Szykman spent several years as a member of the technical staff at NIST.

Dr. Szykman received Ph.D. and Master of Science degrees from Carnegie Mellon University, a Master of Engineering Management degree from George Washington University, and a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Rochester.

Written by cdorobek

May 18, 2010 at 9:32 AM

DorobekINSIDER: Former GSA CIO Piatt returns — but at OGP

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We told you that Bill Piatt had left his post as the chief information officer at the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation — and we suggested that he might be back in the federal world. In fact, he is coming home again — kind of.

Kathleen M. Turco, who just took the helm as Associate Administrator of GSA’s Office of Governmentwide Policy told staff Wednesday that Piatt will be joining OGP as the Director of the Office of Technology Strategy.

Piatt had previously served as GSA’s chief information officer.

Here is Turco’s note to staff:

To All OGP staff,

I am happy to announce that on May 24, 2010, Mr. Bill Piatt is joining the Office of Governmentwide Policy as the Director of the Office of Technology Strategy (ME). Mr. Piatt brings with him a wealth of extensive practical experience in delivering business results through information technology and strategic direction in both public and private sector institutions. He is noted for delivering breakthrough performance in large and small businesses as well as large and small federal agencies. Throughout his career, he has implemented robust programs and project management disciplines and revamped functions to streamline decision making and enhance accountability.

His extensive work background includes: Chief Information Officer for the International Finance Corporation in Washington, DC; Vice President of the Global Public Sector Marketing for CGI in Montreal, Canada; Chief Information Officer at General Services Administration (GSA); and Country Director for the Peace Corps as a Country Director in Prague, Czechoslovakia and Bratislava, Slovakia, and Lome, Togo.

I ask each of you to join me in welcoming Bill Piatt and know that each of you will provide him with outstanding support.

Kathleen M. Turco
Associate Administrator
Office of Governmentwide Policy
U.S. General Services Administration

Written by cdorobek

May 13, 2010 at 7:17 AM

DorobekINSIDER: Federal News Radio’s programming changes become officially official

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We told you about it earlier, but… the changes are officially official today.

Here is the press release:

Federal News Radio Introduces New Lineup

WASHINGTON, D.C. May 12, 2010 – Federal News Radio 1500 AM today announced that it will debut a new line-up that will include changes to both morning and afternoon drive.

Afternoon anchor Amy Morris will join Tom Temin for “The Federal Drive” program airing weekday mornings from 6-10 a.m. Morris has over ten years of Washington radio experience and has been with Federal News Radio since 2006.

Chris Dorobek, will now be the host of “The Dorobek Insider,” – a talk show airing weekday afternoons from 3-7 p.m. “The Dorobek Insider” will complement his already popular federal blog, also titled “DorobekInsider.” Chris’ new show will cover all the bases including federal procurement, management, IT and human resources. Prior to joining Federal News Radio in 2008, Dorobek served as the editor-in-chief of Federal Computer Week.

Program Director Lisa Wolfe says, “These exciting changes highlight the specific skills and strengths of our staff and create something brand new in federal media space.”

The new drive time lineup will begin Monday May 17. “In-Depth with Francis Rose” will continue to air weekdays from 10 am to 3 pm.

Federal News Radio 1500 AM is a primary outlet for federal managers and contractors seeking news and information about the business of the federal government. Its website features audio archives of all its programming as well as local and national federal news, original content, blogs, and more.

The station is also home to play-by-play sports, including being the flagship station for Washington Nationals baseball and Washington Capitals hockey. Federal News Radio and its sister station, all-news WTOP Radio, is owned by Bonneville International Corporation.

The Washington Post’s Federal Eye blogger Ed O’Keefe has written about it:

[Jane Norris’s] departure means afternoon anchor Amy Morris will join Tom Temin for “The Federal Drive” morning show. Morris’s current co-host, Chris Dorobek — of DorobekInsider fame — will go solo from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. with “The Dorobek Insider.” Francis Rose and other programs will fill the hours in between.

WFED 1500 AM is the sister station of Washington’s all-news powerhouse WTOP and though it usually places dead last in the local radio ratings, it’s a cash cow for owner Bonneville International thanks to advertisements and infomercials purchased by defense contracting firms, federal labor unions and other interest groups. It’s also the radio home of the Washington Nationals and Washington Capitals thanks to a powerful AM signal that can be heard as far away as Cape Cod in the evenings.

Just as an explainer: Technically, we are tied at the bottom of the radio ratings. That being said, one of the wonderful things about Federal News Radio — In the end, radio ratings aren’t really relevant to what we do. Radio ratings using polling sampling techniques — and for Federal News Radio to register in ratings, you would have to be a registered people metered person. It is a very different business model… and it is one of the aspects of this station that I love. It is media people being innovative about how to meet the needs of a specific audience.

Written by cdorobek

May 12, 2010 at 4:46 PM

DorobekINSIDER: The blog becomes a radio show… and programming changes at Federal News Radio 1500 AM

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There will be some changes coming to Federal News Radio 1500 AM.

We told you last week that Jane Norris, who has been one of the anchors on Federal News Radio 1500 AM for the four years, is moving into private industry joining Deloitte. We got to talk to her about her tenure here.

Federal News Radio Program Director Lisa Wolfe will join us next week to talk about some of the changes she is making to the station. Needless to say, Norris’s departure is leading a number of other changes. (And this is a bit of a preview — the official announcement comes early next week… and we will walk to Wolfe next week, but… )

Here is what will be happening starting Monday, May 17:

My co-anchor, friend and my “work wife,” Amy Morris, will join the Federal Drive working with Tom Temin… And the afternoon drive program will change — the Daily Debrief will go and, on May 17, it becomes the DorobekINSIDER… on the radio.

We are still working on what exactly the DorobekINSIDER radio show will be — and thoughts are more than welcome.

The way that I have been describing the show is Charlie Rose, but on caffeine… and/or ‘the federal water cooler — but on the radio.’ The thing I love about PBS’s Charlie Rose Show is that it is almost always thought provoking. It is smart people having a discussion about important issues — and about issues that matter.

So we have gone through an exercise of coming up with the words that would describe the DorobekINSIDER on the radio. Among the words I’ve come up with: buzz… news… connected… innovative… thoughtful… helpful… celebrate success… embrace failure… curious… collaborative… information sharing… helpful… fun… 2.0 (or whatever)… assessing conventional wisdom… challenging conventional wisdom… community… and did I mention fun? Well, it is worth mentioning again.

Turning those words into a radio program is going to be an evolution. The DorobekINSIDER that airs on May 17 will probably be a different program a month later… six months later…

One of the remarkable aspects of Federal News Radio 1500 AM is that we are an ongoing evolution — in some ways, I think the station is really an experiment in radio. It is the first radio station in the world (as far as we know) to move from the dot-com world, to a relatively small frequency, to now blasting on one of the biggest AM frequencies in the Mid-Atlantic. And we are using that booming broadcast voice to reach a community — to you.

We want to continue to push those boundaries — while always keeping our eye on OUR mission: To help the government operate better.

There are a number of questions remaining… for example, I’d love for you to be involved. How do you WANT to be involved?

Yet I have always tried to operate in an open and transparent way. We will address those questions here as they arise… and I hope you will help create the show that accomplishes that mission: To help government operate better.

As we say in radio… stay tuned.

Written by cdorobek

May 7, 2010 at 1:03 PM