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DorobekINSIDER: CA CIO Teri Takai to be named DOD CIO

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The much respected California CIO Teri Takai will be named the Defense Department CIO, insiders confirm. She told her staff yesterday.

The Takai appointment was first reported by NextGov’s Bob Brewin, but the official announcement could come very soon, insiders say.

The DOD CIO post has been vacant since John Grimes retired in April 2009.

Takai is widely respected among state CIOs. She has served as the California CIO since December 2007. Before that, she served as the director of the Michigan Department of Information Technology from 2003 to 2007.

Takai has been expected to take a federal post. It just wasn’t clear what job she would take.

Brewin says:

If Takai gets the nod, she would be the first woman Defense CIO and the first without any experience in the military.

Takai’s bio from the State of California:

On December 6, 2007, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger announced the appointment of Teri Takai as Chief Information Officer for the State of California. As a member of the Governor’s cabinet, she advises him on the strategic management and direction of information technology resources as the state works to modernize and transform the way California does business with its citizens.

Prior to her appointment in California, Takai served as Director of the Michigan Department of Information Technology (MDIT) since 2003, where she also served as the state’s Chief Information Officer. In this position, she restructured and consolidated Michigan’s resources by merging the state’s information technology into one centralized department to service 19 agencies and over 1,700 employees. Additionally, during her tenure at the MDIT, Takai led the state to being ranked number one four years in a row in digital government by the Center for Digital Government.

Before serving in state government, Takai worked for the Ford Motor Company for 30 years, where she led the development of the company’s information technology strategic plan. She also held positions in technology at EDS and Federal-Mogul Corporation. In 2005, Takai was named “Public Official of the Year” by Governing magazine. She is Past-President of the National Association of State Chief Information Officers and currently serves as Practitioner Chair of the Harvard Policy Group on Network-Enabled Services and Government.

Takai earned a Master of Arts degree in management and a Bachelor of Arts degree in mathematics from the University of Michigan.

Written by cdorobek

February 4, 2010 at 4:46 PM

DorobekINSIDER: Operation Jump Start is a GO for tonight

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We told you last week about Operation Jump Start, the marvelous program that helps soldiers of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom transition to civilian careers.

Washington has a chance of snow tonight — and there have been a number of questions about whether the event was a go. I just got word — it’s a go!

From the organizers:

Like the service men and women we are honoring and serving tonight we are undaunted by threats of any kind and “OPERATION JUMPSTART VI WILL BE HELD TONIGHT AS PLANNED! So don’t let a few snowflakes stop you from coming out tonight. BE BRAVE!

And if you haven’t registered, you and your donation are welcome at the door!!

Last week, Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris spoke to Ed Meagher, who spearheads this event.

It’s a remarkable event to help some remarkable people.

Written by cdorobek

February 2, 2010 at 1:11 PM

DorobekInsider recommended event: Operation Jump Start VI – helping transitioning soldiers

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It’s just a few days away — and it is one of the most marvelous events of the year if you’re looking to help other people and have a dramatic impact on somebody’s life — it is called Operation Jump Start.

The long and short of it is this: Help soldiers of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom transition to civilian careers.

Suits from Operation Jump Start 2009

This is now the sixth year of Operation Jump Start, which is co-sponsored by the Federal CIO Council, 1105 Media, and TechAmerica — along with AFCEA Bethesda, ACT-IAC and AFFIRM— and it is open to anybody who wants to help.


Date: Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Time: 5:30pm – 8:30pm
Location: Army Navy Country Club
1700 Army Navy Drive
Arlington, VA

See coverage of last year’s event here. And hear Ed Meagher talk about the event from last year — we’ll be talking to him later this week.

More information is available on Facebook here… and I’ve posted some details below…

Register here

Or just donate here

As I’ve said before, one of the most touching parts of this event happens near the end of the evening when soldiers are trying on the suits.

But if you don’t have suits left over, there are other ways to donate.

SPECIAL NOTE: Organizers are only able to take items on that night only — this is a volunteer run organization so they don’t have resources to pick-up and transport items. That being said, if you want to get things to the event but you’re not able to get there on that night, if you can get it to me here at Federal News Radio 1500 AM in Northwest DC, I’ll make sure it gets there.

All the information is posted below:

Please join the organizing sponsors, Federal CIO Council, 1105 Media and TechAmerica on Tuesday, February 2, 2010 as we hold our sixth annual “Operation Jump Start VI” event to help the soldiers of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom transition to civilian careers. The event is also supported by AFCEA-Bethesda, AFFIRM and ACT-IAC and open to all who want to give.

We are pleased to announce this year’s Honorary Chair from our community – the Honorable Roger Baker, CIO, Department of Veterans Affairs.

Event Details
Please join us for hors d’oeuvres and the music of the Bank Street Band. There will also be a cash bar. We will also have special VIP visitors from Walter Reed Medical Center and anticipate a full house, so registration is required!

To Register: Please register online at
Registrations will be accepted through January 30th. In case of Inclement Weather the day of the event, please check the website. IF YOU CAN’T ATTEND, and want to contribute – you can!! Go to:

The price of admission is a donation to support the soldiers as they “jump start” their new career.
Suggested and valued donations are as follows:

All Phases: Cash donations
Cash donations are always appreciated and will go into a special, non-profit, tax-exempt fund established for the soldiers and their families. Make checks payable to the 501(c)3 organization The Aleethia Foundation, Tax id #51-0529300. This fund is used 100% to support special needs for the recovering soldiers and their families as they work to build new lives, whether it is a “first month/last month” deposit, bills forgotten while recovering or to meet other educational/emotional needs.

Phase 1: Still in the Hospital, Keeping in Touch, Building up Strength
1. Gift cards in $5 increments from Dunkin Donuts or Burger King (all at the hospital).
2. Gift cards for a nice meal out with the family – Macaroni Grill is close to Walter Reed
(Takoma Park/Silver Spring metro) – in increments no larger than $25 please.

Phase 2: Transitioning to the Work Force, Moving Up and Out
1. Dry-cleaned mens and ladies suits, coats, ties, etc. for office wear. This is not a
clothing drive; emphasis is on mint quality, not quantity. Donate only what you
would be proud to see our soldiers wearing as they dress for success on the way
to a new career.

PLEASE MARK CLOTHES with a TAG indicating the SIZE of the item (makes
disbursement easier).
ALSO, formal wear for both men and women appreciated, as many of these soldiers and their spouses are invited to attend formal functions around town.

2. Gift Certificates to Target (daily shuttle), Macy’s, and Safeway (in increments of $20-25 denominations makes disbursement easier). All are within easy access of Walter Reed/Navy Bethesda.
3. Thumb drives
4. New Laptops

What has made this event so successful in the past is that everyone is there to give back to the soldiers for giving so much for us. Although the event is sponsored by several organizations and companies for monetary and organizational support, all are doing this for one purpose – the soldiers. Thank you.

Written by cdorobek

January 27, 2010 at 2:07 PM

DorobekInsider: What happened in the federal government when we were away on vacation

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Let’s admit it — we just don’t pay as much attention over the summer. But there were all sorts of things that did go on this summer — even aside from fuming at health care town halls.

But it actually was a somewhat busy summer.

I hope you got to participate in the fifth meeting of the Federal News Radio Book Club, talking about the book Payback: Reaping the Rewards of Innovation by James P. Andrew and Harold L. Sirkin. Joining us in Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s Studio 1-A was the author, Jim Andrew, and federal chief technology officer Aneesh Chopra, who was the one who suggested the book. You can read more and hear the book club meeting here.

Some things that happened — or didn’t happen — this summer…

* No cyber-czar
One big thing that did not happen this summer — the appointment of the Obama cyber czar. In fact, it has been more than 14 weeks… 101 days, to be exact — since President Obama announced the creation of the post. And, in fact, one of the leading candidates — Melissa Hathaway — has since announced that she is leaving government.

The other big event this summer was all the brouhaha around the Defense Department’s National Security Personnel System. The Defense Business Board formed a task group to make recommendations on what to do with DOD’s controversial pay-for-performance system. Essentially, the Defense Business Board task group said that NSPS is broken, and it cannot be “fixed” but instead needs to be “reconstructed.” Read those recommendations here.

* VA IG report… and VA IT
All sorts of… well, stuff… going on about the Department of Veterans Affairs IT organization. A report by the VA inspector general found all sorts of problems within the organization. The reports essentially found that former high-ranking information technology officials at VA gave preferential treatment to certain contractors, engaged in nepotism in hiring and, in one case, took advantage of a relationship with a supervisor for personal gain.

Of course, it comes as the new VA CIO Roger Baker has been working to rework the agency’s IT organization. Earlier this year, Baker put a hold on 45 IT projects because they were behind schedule or over budget.

Something that didn’t happen this summer — confirmation of Martha Johnson to be the new administrator of the general Services Administration — although we did learn that Sen. Kit Bond (R-MO) who has put a hold on Johnson’s nomination.

But meanwhile, there has been a lot of developments at GSA. Among them… the merger of the Office of Governmentwide Policy and the Chief Acquisition Officer’s office… the appointment of Michael Robertson to lead those organizations — hear Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s interview with Robertson here… the appointment of Dave McClure to lead GSA’s Office of Citizen Services… hear Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s interview with McClure here… the appointment of Bob Peck to head GSA’s Public Building Service

There are still a lot of people watching the Recovery, Accountability and Transparency Board redesign of the Web site. But this summer there were — and, frankly, still are — lingering questions the contract award. Read more here.

I have also asked the editors of the government focused publications for their thoughts on the top stories.

I have only heard from Steve Watkins, the editor of Federal Times. His big stories:

The biggest stories of the summer for our readers were both agency specific: the Postal Service’s continuing financial flame out, and the near-death of the Pentagon’s National Security Personnel System. Both are continuing stories and we’ll see how they roll out from here.

Meanwhile, there are a couple ongoing governmentwide stories that affect our readers a lot yet have oddly not prompted many headlines (no doubt because they are far less flashy): the continuing quiet execution of the government’s gigantic stimulus projects and the gradual filling of senior leadership posts by Obama appointees.

Finally, the Obama administration has foreshadowed for us a few stories sure to attract much attention — big reform initiatives targeting the important areas of pay, hiring and contracting — but it’s still too early to see exactly where those are heading.

Finally, the Obama administration has foreshadowed for us a few stories sure to attract much attention — big reform initiatives targeting the important areas of pay, hiring and contracting — but it’s still too early to see exactly where those are heading.

Tom Shoop, editor of Government Executive… his big stories:

In addition to the stories I don’t think anyone could’ve missed on the annual pay raise battle and the report on the future of NSPS, here were some of the big hits on GovExec this summer:

Meanwhile, here are the most read items for DorobekInsider for JuneJuly… and August.

Written by cdorobek

September 8, 2009 at 2:43 PM

DorobekInsider: What govt person made Fast Company’s 100 most creative in biz list? Anyone?

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So who in government would make a list of the 100 most creative people in business?

Fast Company magazine has compiled their list — And yes, a government person did make the list… there at number 12: DISA CIO John Gerring , right there between Prith Banerjee, the director of HP Labs and fashion designer Stella McCartney.

From Fast Company:

12. John Garing
Chief information officer
Defense Information Systems Agency

John Garing powwowed with such luminaries as Amazon’s Werner Vogels and’s Marc Benioff to bring cloud computing, network services, and Web 2.0 tools to the Department of Defense. Garing’s biggest challenge: overcoming the “box hugging” impulse to control servers, data, and process. His version of cloud computing, called RACE (rapid-access computing environment), acts as an open-source innovation lab for military developers, complete with peer-review certification. “Projects that used to take seven months to approve now take a matter of days,” he says. — by Ellen McGirt

Here is how Fast Company describes the list:

There are no rules about creativity. Which made constructing our list of the 100 Most Creative People in Business a tricky task. We looked for dazzling new thinkers, rising stars, and boldface names who couldn’t be ignored. We avoided people we’ve profiled in the recent past. We emphasized those whose creativity addresses a larger issue — from the future of our energy infrastructure to the evolution of philanthropy to next-generation media and entertainment. So read on. Enjoy. Quibble. Complain.

Read the full Fast Company list of 100 most creative people in business here.

Anybody you would add? Let me know.

Written by cdorobek

May 20, 2009 at 9:38 AM

DorobekInsider: Godspeed Paul Nolan, husband of AFCEA’s Becky Nolan

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I mentioned on Federal News Radio 1500 AM today the sad news that AFCEA International vice president Becky Nolan‘s husband, Paul, passed away today unexpectedly.

Here is the note from Kent R. Schneider, AFCEA International’s President and CEO:

It is with great sorrow that I write you today to inform you that Paul Nolan, husband of Becky Nolan, died unexpectedly Monday. Many of you have had the opportunity to meet Paul at AFCEA events and know him as a personal friend. He will be greatly missed by the AFCEA family.

Visitation will be held this Saturday, May 9, 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. at Everly-Wheatley Funeral Home, 1500 West Braddock Road, Alexandria, VA 22032. Funeral services and interment will be held at a later date at Arlington National Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to:
Lab Rescue of LRCP, Inc.
P.O. Box 1814
Annandale, VA 22033

Of course, our thoughts and condolences go out to Becky Nolan, their family and friends.

Written by cdorobek

May 7, 2009 at 5:16 PM An update on’s National Dialogue… and DOD asks for help

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Regular readers will know that I am fascinated with the National Dialogue on Information Technology Solutions — a somewhat clunky name for the conversation that the Obama administration has opened up on ways to solve the vexing problem of encouragingtransparency in the stimulus spending. [The first DorobekInsider post about the announcement that this was going to happen is here … and the Tuesday update can be found here.]

I find it interesting because it is a real opportunity to test the wisdom of the crowds — to get ideas, and to have people vote on the ideas that have been submitted.

Yesterday on Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris, we had P.K. Agarwal is a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administrators and Chief Technology Officer for the State of California. He gave us an update on the National Dialogue mid-way through… but he also spoke about what state officials are hoping come from the National Dialogue. Hear that conversation here. [Last week, before everything started, we spoke to Lena Trudeau of the National Academy of Public Administration about the National Dialogue. Hear that conversation here.]

This morning, Earl Devaney, the chairman of the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board — yes, the RAT Board — and Ed DeSeve, special advisor to the President for recovery implementation, sent out the following message to registered Dialogue members:

Dear Dialogue Participants,

We would like to thank you for taking the time to participate this week in the Recovery Dialogue on Information Technology Solutions. We want to remind you that the Dialogue will continue through the weekend, and we hope that you will allow some time to log back in to continue to vote and comment on ideas.

The Dialogue has brought forth lively discussion on how to make a place where the public can monitor the expenditure and use of recovery funds. The growing number of users and ideas posted on the site in just a few days illustrate how interested the IT community is in impacting the operation of

Now with three days left in this week-long Recovery Dialogue, we are receiving some interesting and thoughtful submissions. However, there are a few key concepts around which we need your ideas and approaches:

– Metamodel for that considers data models used by source systems

– Middleware operated by that can be used to accept varying data inputs from source systems and normalizes the data into a data base

– Application Programmable Interfaces (API) that can be operated by to make all recovery data available to the public

Now is a perfect time to check back on the site to help us rate and tag ideas so that the best ones rise to the top. You can still follow us on Twitter at @natldialogue to receive event reminders and updates.

For more information on the Recovery Dialogue, view our one-page summary of the initiative at [PDF; note: I have it posted here too in a non-PDF Flash viewer.] If you have additional questions, or if you have recommendations for others who should be contacted, please email or call 202-204-3633.

Thank you again for joining the discussion and sharing your innovative ideas.

Warm regards,

Earl Devaney
Chair, Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board

Ed DeSeve
Special Advisor to the President for Recovery Implementation

Finally, the’s Federal Eye Ed O’Keefe scored the first interview with Devaney.

Devaney has $84 million at his disposal and will soon finish hiring a staff of 30 to oversee the site and coordinate oversight efforts with federal inspectors general and state auditors.

The Web site must be able to collect and display spending information on each stimulus-funded project by mid-October. Devaney’s team already has several critics: High-tech firms and good government groups want the ability to download and analyze spending figures and redistribute them across third-party sites. Some Web designers dislike the site’s current design. Lawmakers worry thatDevaney has not acted quickly enough to report on funds already distributed. Still others say this week’s forum has been dominated by technology companies looking for an easy way to pitch their products to government officials.

In response, Devaney pleas for patience and suggests skeptics grade the site’s progress on a monthly basis. The board has considered several design models, including a display that mirrors traditional newspaper Web sites, he said.

Read the full piece here.

The National Dialogue finishes up this weekend, so… if you have an idea or want to vote on other people’s ideas…

Meanwhile, just a brief highlight — I’m trying to get more information — of The Defense Department’s New Idea Portal. (Hat tip: Armed with Science on Twitter.) is a portal through which innovative companies, entrepreneurs, and research organizations can offer potential solutions to the Department of Defense. This portal, and the team behind it, are designed to encourage companies that have never considered doing business with
DoD to participate. Our process depends on direct communication with you when you submit an idea that is attractive in an area where we need a solution. The review process is continuous to avoid internal delays in decisions and review.

Just fascinating!

Written by cdorobek

May 1, 2009 at 1:21 PM