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DorobekINSIDER: The role of the CIO – and NASA gives the CIO authority

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One of the longest running — and somewhat tedious — debates within the government IT community: Does the CIO have a ‘seat at the table.’ I say tedious, but… most people believe it is also critically important. And therefore it garners regular discussion. For example, I moderated a panel at the 2009 Management of Change conference that looked at the changing role of the CIO… NextGov executive editor Allan Holmes when he was at CIO magazine wrote one of the seminal articles on the role of the CIO back in 1996… and just earlier this month, FCW’s John Zyskowski wrote a thoughtful feature story, The CIO 14 years later: Power vs. paperwork.

Despite being around for more than a decade now — CIO posts were created by law in government agencies in 1996 as a result of the Clinger-Cohen Act — the CIO still doesn’t seem to have been fully integrated into the leadership team at most agencies. They aren’t the strategic visionaries that are pushing for an agencies use of technology to help it accomplish its mission more effectively.

There are scores of reasons for that — more of which I’ll detail below. But I think there are some systemic reasons… and things are changing — some good, and some not great.

I’d put the largely unexplained changes going on at the Agriculture Department in the “questionable” category given that, by all accounts, the USDA CIO has been downgraded within the organization. (Frustratingly, I have been unable to get somebody from USDA to explain the details of their reorganization, so it remains the subject of conjecture rather then public discussion. So much for government openness.)

But there has been a quite, fairly significant development at NASA. NASA Administrator Charles F. Bolden, Jr. has changed the organization chart to give the NASA CIO direct reporting authority to the NASA administration, industry sources tell me and NASA officials have confirmed. But, almost as important, Bolden has changed the reporting authority at the NASA centers around the country report to the NASA CIO with a “dotted line” reporting authority to the individual directors at the centers.

This is a powerful step.

I haven’t been able to determine if the NASA CIO has ‘the power of the purse’ — the Holy Gail in government terms. Currently, the CIO for the Department of Veterans Affairs has spending authority by law. The Homeland Security Department CIO had that authority by policy under former DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff. I have not been able to confirm if the current DHS CIO still has that authority.

It is an enormous step if Federal CIO Vivek Kundra wants to actually carry out some of his proposed changes — or any real changes, for that matter. Last week, I got to hear Kundra speak at the Brookings Institution about cloud computing — and he discussed a “cloud first” strategy where agencies will look at the cloud as an option. The fact is that this instituting this kind of change requires changing the “clay layer” within agencies — agency leaders get it, and front line works just want to be able to do their jobs. It is the “clay layer” that blocks much of the government change. And most people like the control and power that comes with having their own server nearby them.

There are many ways to deal with the clay, but… one way in government is through spending, and that requires that CIOs to have the power of the purse. Of course, with that responsibility given to CIOs comes a responsibility to actually listen to people — to not become “CI-NOs,” as too often happens.

Some additional reading:

* OMB 2008 memo on the role of the CIO

A bit before Karen Evans left government, Karen Evans crafted a memo on the role of the CIO. You can read the draft memo for yourself.

* DHS CIO and the ‘power of the purse’ from back in 2007:

Here is FCW’s March 2007 story about the DHS CIO announcement. I also made it FCW’s Buzz of the Week for the week of March 19, 2007… and the following week, in FCW’s editorial, under the headline Show ‘em the money, I gave DHS credit for giving the DHS CIO spending authority over IT spending.

Written by cdorobek

April 19, 2010 at 9:19 AM

The DorobekINSIDER Reader: The open government policies and plans

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When there are big events, I like to pull together resources in one place — and, of course, this has been open government week — the Office of Management and Budget issued a series of policies, while agencies issued their open government plans.

Federal News Radio’s Max Cacas reports on the plans and policies:

[redlasso id=”6268069c-5bd4-4498-93b1-834438aaaafb”]

You can find Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s ongoing coverage of the open government initiative here.

Before the plans were released, I posted DorobekINSIDER: Assessing transparency and open government.

The top level resources:

* The DorobekINSIDER reader from May 22, 2009 on the open government and transparency initiative — yes, this all is a work in progress

* The White House open government site, which has a lot of good information but buries links to agency open government plans in the open government dashboard.

* OMB director Peter Orszag blog post: OMB and Open Government, which includes a link to the four OMB open government policies — also listed below — and to OMB’s open government plan.

* White House Office of Science and Technology Policy blog post by Norm Eisen, Special Counsel to the President for Ethics and Government Reform:
Open for Change, which he says will “strengthen our democracy and promote accountability, efficiency and effectiveness across the government.”

* GovLoop has a great chart of all the agency open government plans

OMB policies

* Social Media, Web-Based Interactive Technologies, and the Paperwork Reduction Act [PDF] [Flash version]

* Information Collection under the Paperwork Reduction Act [PDF]

* Increasing Openness in the Rulemaking Process – Use of the Regulation Identifier Number (RIN) [PDF]

* Open Government Directive – Federal Spending Transparency [PDF]

Discussion about the policies and open government:

* Sunlight Foundation’s Ellen Miller: Idling in the driveway: “Sigh. I feel like a disappointed parent.”

* Sunlight’s Jake Brewer has told open government advocates:

Put simply, it’s increasingly clear government is not going to become more open and transparent without extraordinary public pressure. And WE are going to have to be the ones to put that pressure on them.

You can help right now by joining our campaign for open government and signing the pledge to demand all public government information be available ONLINE and in REAL-TIME.

* GovLoop has a fascinating discussion, “What Do You Think about OMB Soc Media and PRA Guidance?”
Much of that discussion has revolved around the Paperwork Reduction Act — and a strong frustration that it really hinders agencies flexibilities.

A sample of some of the discussion:

This is fairly far from awesome. I’d actually label it fairly disappointing. Not only are both documents written to be as vague as possible (the PRA primer, for instance, spends most of its text simply repeating statute), this doesn’t really get us where we need to be…

More disappointing from my standpoint, it keeps in place the notion that citizen interaction with the government is essentially a “burden” and still codifies the position that significant interaction with the public should be minimized (this is clearly contrary to open government).

The discussion has spurred me to actually print out the Paperwork Reduction Act and read it for myself to get a sense of what it actually says. My sense is that some of what OMB is trying to do is work within the constraints of the law — a law enacted in the early 1980s before hardly anybody even had e-mail addresses.

* More on the Paperwork Reduction Act and its role from A Few Things on the New Paperwork Reduction Act Guidance

* GovLoop also has a discussion on the open government plan: Open Gov plans cheers and jeers

* GovTwit’s blog: Open Government Day brings new guidance from OMB

* InformationWeek: Government Social Media Restrictions Eased
The guidance makes it easier for agencies to use social media and requires steps to ensure better rule-making and spending transparency.

* TechPresident’s Nancy Scola: Use Social Media Freely, White House Tells Agencies [April 7, 2010]

* TechPresident’s Micah Sifry: Open Govt: Does the Govt Know What the Govt Knows? [April 7, 2010]: “Let’s remember that announcing a plan isn’t the same thing as getting the job done”

* Knight Commission on the Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy: Major Milestone Reached in Open Government Initiative: “We should recognize that the 120 day mark is really just a starting point, not an endpoint.”

Meanwhile, how would you grade the Obama administration’s open government initiative so far:

Previous DorobekINSIDER readers:

* The DorobekInsider transparency, openness and reader [May 22, 2009]
* The DorobekInsider reader: Obama cyber policy review [May 29, 2009]
* The DorobekInsider Reader: National Security Personnel System recommendations [August 31, 2009]
* The DorobekInsider Reader: Veterans Day [November 11, 2009]
* The DorobekInsider reader: Howard Schmidt as cybersecurity coordinator [December 23, 2009]
* The DorobekInsider Reader: Martin Luther King Jr. [January 18, 2010]

The DorobekINSIDER iPad review: Will you see them in government?

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There has been a ton written about the Apple iPad, of course — and I’ve pulled some of the better stories about the iPad together below… but yes, I was one of the 300,000 people who got an iPad on day one.

Apple iPadRegular readers know I’m a gadget guy — and Apple has done a pretty remarkable job at being innovative and transformational. (Fortune magazine late last year named Steve Jobs as the CEO of the decade — and it is difficult to argue with their assessment after reading the article.)

Of course, the iPod was remarkable because it created a market. None of us dreamed of carrying thousands of songs around with us — and now we can’t imagine being without our playlist. But even more, he created a way to sell music digitally in a way that other organizations have failed.

And the iPhone was transformational for scores of reasons… because it put the power of a computer in your palm… because of the remarkable applications, including, of course, the Federal News Radio app.

So I was there Saturday — not first thing in the morning, but by late in the day.

The CJD first impression of the iPad: It is a remarkable device, but I’m not sure its revolutionary in the way the iPod and iPhone were.

One of the better discussions was on the PBS NewsHour. On that program, the WSJ’s Walt Mossberg and Stanford University’s Paul Saffo discussed what I think is the core question: Where does this fit in the computing marketplace.

Mossberg: I think people have to perceive it as something that allows them to leave their laptop home or not open it around the house for, you know, maybe not 100 percent of the things they do on their laptop, but for more than half a lot of the time. I know those are vague terms, but that’s the way I kind of think about it.

So, if you use your laptop for mostly surfing the Web, consuming media, you know, doing e-mail, and then doing maybe a little light content creation, say, a school paper or something, and you decide that you’re comfortable doing it on this, this thing will take off the way Paul says.

And if not enough people feel that way, and just think it’s an extra burden to carry, then I — that’s the risk Apple is taking. But, as he points out, Apple is a little different than some of these other companies. It takes really big risks. And many of them that he listed have paid off. A few haven’t. And we’re going to see.

And I think that is true for government agencies as well. I can imagine Census workers using an iPad like device in 2020… or law enforcement personnel… jobs that are very mobile… But for most of us who use a laptop, will it do away with the laptop? My first impression is… probably not. At least for me right now, the keyboard simply isn’t usable enough to replace my laptop. (The return key ends up being right at my right pinkie finger, so I end up hitting the return key over and over again.)

Apple does have a keyboard doc that might help me make that step toward replacing my laptop. We’ll see…

The other issue: WiFi… I’d get a 3G wireless version. The device is much less usable without an Internet connection — and there are still just not enough WiFi hot spots out there.

How might government use these devices?

There are two ways. One, of course, is externally — reaching out to citizens. There are a number of government iPhone applications — OhMyGov has their 11 favorites — and, of course, there is the iPhone app. FastCompany reports that eGovernment developing firm NIC is the first company to develop government focused iPad applications.

The other way government can use these devices is internally… and this might be where the Census could use these devices. Imagine if Census could just develop an iPad application rather then failing to develop their own handheld.

And, by the way, the TSA blog has a post about whether you need to take your iPad or Kindle out of your bag when you go through airport security. In short — you don’t.

Some background reading:

GCN: Think you want an iPad? Read this first!
Apple’s much-hyped gadget may not fill the bill

Is the Apple iPad good enough for government work? The early reviews are in, and they bring mixed results. Overall, the iPad wins praise for its speed, touch-screen interface, battery life and overall user experience. But it garners complaints for what’s missing, including support for Flash, a camera and the ability to print.

The GCN Lab is in the process of obtaining an iPad for review, and we’ll soon run our own tests, with a particular eye to how iPad would work in an office setting. In the meantime, a roundup of reviews from those who got the devices in advance of last week’s rollout might provide some clues to whether the iPad is likely to begin showing up in government circles.

ComputerWorld: Is the iPad right for you?
Answer these questions to find out

Slate: You Don’t Need an iPad
But once you try one, you won’t be able to resist.

NYT review by David Pogue: Looking at the iPad From Two Angles

NYT: The iPad in the Eyes of the Digerati

In short, if you get it, you probably won’t be disappointed, but be careful why you are getting it… at least for right now.

Written by cdorobek

April 6, 2010 at 10:40 PM

DorobekINSIDER: Assessing transparency and open government

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

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

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

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

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

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

Signal magazine column: Why Transparency Matters [May 2009]

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DorobekINSIDER: Get Federal News Radio on your iPhone

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We’re an iPhone application. Last week while I was away, Federal News Radio launched the Federal News Radio iPhone application. And it is pretty cool. And it is free!

From the description:

Based in Washington, DC (1500 AM), Federal News Radio covers the business of the federal government by looking at lessons learned and best practices, and talking to the people themselves who make government work, including federal policy makers and contractors. Federal News Radio covers issues including management, technology, pay and benefits, contracting, and policy. Whether you work for the federal government or a federal contractor, Federal News Radio will provide you information that will help you do your job better. For more information on Federal News Radio go to

Features of the Federal News Radio iPhone App:
– Listen to the Radio Station Live
– Read Mike Causey’s Daily Column
– Read the Latest Articles and Blogs
– Listen to Federal News Radio Interviews/Podcasts
– Read the DorobekINSIDER

Completely unrelated bonus feature:
– Listen Live to Most Washington Capitals Hockey Games

This is particularly cool because you can now get the DorobekINSIDER right on your iPhone, but you can also listen to Federal News Radio 1500 AM even when you’re outside of our signal area.

I might mention that our sister station, DC’s WTOP radio, also has a iPhone applicationthe “Glass Enclosed Nerve App.” Using that app, just like with the Federal News Radio app, you can use it to listen to WTOP. But you can also get weather and traffic — including big traffic issues and traffic cameras. Find that application here.

Of course, an iPhone or iTouch is required to make the applications work.

If you don’t have an iPhone or iTouch, — and, for that matter — have improved the way we stream the stations from the Web sites.

From John Meyer, Director of Digital Media for WTOP and Manager of Sales and Operations for Federal News Radio 1500 AM:

On the heels of our new iPhone apps, I wanted to make everyone aware of some other changes we have implanted to our sites. If you go to our Listen Live pages on either site, you will notice a greater selection of listening options. We have eliminated the Silverlight player and replaced it with a Flash Player. You can also still listen via Windows Media as well as Mp.3/iTtunes.

Hopefully these changes can help us solve some of our technical issues that have blocked our streaming in the past.’s “listen live” page’s “listen live” page

Written by cdorobek

March 29, 2010 at 9:00 AM

DorobekINSIDER: Most read items from Feb. 29-March 6: DOD Web 2.0 policy, USPS reorg, Causey, and fed tax delinquents

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The most read stories from the week of February 28 through March 6, 2010… on the, on the Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris, for Mike Causey, and for…

…from the

  1. DorobekINSIDER: DOD issues its much anticipated Web 2.0 policy
  2. DorobekINSIDER EXCLUSIVE: GSA cancels one cloud RFQ, plans to launch a new cloud RFQ
  3. DorobekINSIDER EXCLUSIVE: GSA’s Drabkin to join Northrop
  4. DorobekINSIDER: GSA’s Johnson names Costa as associate administrator
  5. DorobekINSIDER: Sen. Brown to be ranking member on contracting oversight subcommittee
  6. DorobekINSIDER: AFCEA Homeland Security Conference panel on cyber-security — the liner notes
  7. DorobekINSIDER: CA CIO Teri Takai to be named DOD CIO
  8. DorobekINSIDER: Most read items from Feb. 21-27: DOD and Web 2.0, clud, TSP, cloud, and DHS contract
  9. DorobekINSIDER: Most read items for the month of FEBRUARY… a snowy month
  10. DorobekINSIDER: Northrop makes it official: Drabkin is the new director of acquisition policy
  11. DorobekINSIDER: GSA’s Johnson speaks to employees – here is what she said
  12. DorobekINSIDER: GSA procurement guru Drabkin to retire
  13. DorobekInsider: OMB hires performance guru Shelley Metzenbaum
  14. DorobekInsider: Sen. elect Brown: Feds making 2X the private sector
  15. DorobekINSIDER and the 03.05 Federal News Countdown poll: What was the big story of the week?
  16. DorobekInsider: USDA gets approval for employee buy outs from OPM as mega-management reorg continues
  17. DorobekINSIDER: Most read items from Feb. 14-20: Snow, Drabkin, and your TSP
  18. DorobekINSIDER: Back to work for feds in DC, OPM defends closure decisions
  19. DorobekINSIDER poll: The Federal News Countdown for Feb. 22 – what’s the big story of th
  20. DorobekINSIDER: On NewsChannel 8 talking government openness and transparency — the liner note
  21. DorobekINSIDER poll: Did OPM make the right decision to open DC offices on Friday?
  22. DorobekInsider EXCLUSIVE: NASA scores Gardner as the new Goddard CIO

… from the Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris

  1. USPS plan would make dramatic changes
  2. Friday Afternoon Federal Newscast
  3. TSP funds see gains in February
  4. Feds, on average, earn more than their private sector counterparts
  5. Mike Causey talks about what has happened during past furloughs
  6. Capitol Hill reaction to the DoT furloughs
  7. Shame as a motivator at
  8. Microsoft moves into federal cloud arena
  9. Tuesday Afternoon Federal Newscast
  10. GSA explains decision to withdraw cloud RFQ
  11. Timeline for TSP’s Roth option discussed
  12. Wednesday Afternoon Federal Newscast
  13. Use existing tools to comply with Open Government Directive
  14. Historic partnership sheds light on Web 2.0 use
  15. Monday Afternoon Federal Newscast
  16. Cloud Security Alliance releases new guidance
  17. DHS launches challenge on cybersecurity awareness
  18. How the tanker contract affects federal procurement
  19. VA issues final rule in Federal Register for VETS GWACs
  20. Furlough update from Capitol Hill
  21. Study shows lessons learned from military Facebook use
  22. Lessons learned, best practices on telework examined after blizzard
  23. TSP participants can now move money from other accounts
  24. Cybersecurity lessons learned at AFCEA’s 9th annual Homeland Security Conference
  25. TSP Snapshot: Things are looking up
  26. Use existing tools to compy with Open Government Directive
  27. Now a good time to review where your money is in the TSP
  28. Are Feds in the Danger Zone?
  29. Earnings down for many TSP accounts in January
  30. Congress will debate TSP contributions this session
  31. Update: USPS going through major changes
  32. GSA withdraws cloud RFQ, will offer new blanket purchase agreement
  33. Defense Department issues much anticipated Web 2.0 policy
  34. USAF still enforcing ban on thumbdrives
  35. Homeland security put to the test
  36. OPM makes call on snow closings
  37. This week on ‘Your Turn’
  38. Getting more feds to telework might be harder than it sounds
  39. Teleworking is not just about working at home
  40. Mueller: cyberterrorism threat is real
  41. Senate looks at DHS budget, contractors
  42. NIST asks for public input on Smart Grid
  43. Open Government Tracker created during 2010 blizzard
  44. U.S. Army offers $30K prize for new apps
  45. DHS rolls out ‘Facebook for first responders’
  46. DoD to change business system development
  47. DHS looks closely at domestic terrorism
  48. All TSP funds see gains in 2009
  49. Analysis: Is ‘High Road Contracting Policy’ repetitive?

…for Mike Causey’s Federal Report

  1. TSP: Getting Bigger & Better
  2. Year of The TSP Tiger?
  3. Not Bad for Government Work!
  4. NSPS Winners: The Few, The Proud, The Scared…
  5. Threats: Broadcast or Bury Them?
  6. Danger Zone: Your Office
  7. Investing Unused Leave
  8. NSPS: Dead Duck or Sleeping Giant?
  9. Going Part Time Without Going Broke
  10. Retirees $250 Tax Credit

… and from

  1. Bill calls for feds who owe taxes to be fired
  2. DoT bureaus offer advice to furloughed feds
  3. Hill impasse spells more furloughs for DoT workers
  4. House passage of Senate jobs bill would end DoT furloughs
  5. Transportation Department furloughs end
  6. Transportation Department scrambles to fend off furloughs
  7. Bill calling for firing of tax delinquent feds pulled
  8. Congress turns up heat on DoD business systems
  9. OMB taking a deeper look at data centers
  10. Army putting up $30,000 prizes for apps
  11. Room for improvement found at DHS S&T
  12. Concern voiced about virtual fence
  13. Tax delinquent contractors focus of OFPP effort
  14. Army to transform through apps
  15. Small business contracting bill brings changes
  16. Hill impasse spells more furlough for DoT workers
  17. IT community prepares for major policy change
  18. Federal News Radio Reports
  19. Bunning ends Senate blockade of spending bill, DoT furloughs to end
  20. Federal govt. open Tuesday under delayed arrival, unscheduled leave
  21. GSA releases FY 2010 per diem rates
  22. Terrorist watchlists receiving mini-makeovers
  23. GAO finds OMB needs better cybersecurity coordination
  24. Napolitano blames hiring process for DHS contractor glut
  25. VA axes 12 IT projects
  26. Number of DHS contractors ‘unacceptable’
  27. Senate: Con artists are using stimulus scams to fleece citizens
  28. DoD tells Congress greening doesn’t affect goals
  29. White House proposes 1.4 percent pay raise
  30. DCAA and DCMA: who’s the boss?
  31. OMB’s Werfel lays out new plan to follow agency money
  32. OPM to host workshops on hiring
  33. White House IT budget request lower in 2011
  34. AFGE fires first salvo in bid to organize TSA screeners
  35. GSA’s Alliant contract attracting early supporters
  36. OPM’s decision to open gov’t. questioned after horrific commute
  37. DoD partially lifts ban on USB drives
  38. DoD gives vendors new rules to protect data
  39. Small business contracting changes coming
  40. DoD decides one-size does not fit all with DIHMRS
  41. OPM to test new employee health services
  42. Federal government closed on Thursday
  43. Analysis: Cracking down on contracting cheats
  44. VA reaping rewards from IT oversight
  45. Telework centers offer alternative workspace for feds
  46. Agencies to justify not using cloud computing to OMB
  47. OMB, HHS create new health IT task force
  48. Senate bill attempts to improve HUBZone program
  49. GSA reorganizes to better green the government
  50. Contractor integrity, performance to face higher level of scrutiny

DorobekINSIDER: DOD issues its much anticipated Web 2.0 policy

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The Defense Department today issued its much anticipated Web 2.0 policy.

This afternoon on Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris, we spoke to David Wennergren, the Defense Department deputy CIO, about the document. Find

Meanwhile, read it here or it is posted below:

View this document on Scribd

Written by cdorobek

February 26, 2010 at 1:18 PM

DorobekINSIDER: On NewsChannel 8 talking government openness and transparency — the liner notes

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UPDATE: See the video of me on NewsChannel 8 here.

I will be on DC’s NewsChannel 8’s Federal News Tonight — and we’re going to talk about the Obama administration’s transparency and open government initiative.

Of course, on January 21, 2009, President Obama, in one of his first acts, signed the open government directive. That set out a process that took longer then many people expected, but agencies from February 6 through March 19 are in the process of looking for citizen input on their open government plans.

This is part of a pretty amazing change in mindset for agencies — asking for help.

But there is a broader question about the open government initiative: Does it help agencies accomplish their missions better?

The poster child for transparency is the Web site — it is the Web site for the Recovery, Transparency and Accountability Board to demonstrate how the $787 billion stimulus bill is being spent. And in many ways, the recovery board has been bludgeoned by transparency — and we all remember the stories about the incorrect congressional districts that were on the Web site. But many open government advocates suggest these kinds of incorrect data are the reason for transparency — the data was fixed because it was identified and highlighted. It was part of the idea behind transparency and open government –crowdsourcing oversight. And open government advocates suggest that those kinds of data errors are there, but it often will go un-fixed. In the case of, it has been fixed because of openness and transparency.

Last week on Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris, we spoke to Jake Brewer, director of engagement at the Sunlight Foundation, about his piece, 9 assumptions at the heart of open government. His take was that this is important for government — and you can hear that conversation here.

But if open government is to really take hold, it has to be more than theory — it has to be more then apple pie. It has to actually enable agencies to better accomplish their missions. And there is some early evidence that transparency and open government does have an impact on how people view their government.ForeSee Results, the company that does assessments of how well citizens trust government Web sites, has recently completed the first of its kind survey of how people — citizens — view transparency and open government. They call it the E-Government Transparency Index [registration required]. And Larry Freed, the president and CEO of ForeSee Results, tells Federal News Radio that there is a very real  impact.

If you make your Web site more transparent — if you make government more transparent — not only are you going to have the feel-good things that are so important about how citizens feel and how they trust government, but it’s actually going to lower the cost of delivering information, because more and more people will utilize the Web to get that information.

Hear our conversation with Freed here.

But there is a larger concept at play here — the concept of “we the people.” It is part of the concept behind government 2.0 and, without being too melodramatic, democracy — that is that all of us are smarter then each of us individually. There are now tools out there that enable people to tap into the wisdom of crowds — and that demands openness and transparency.

And tonight on News Channel 8’s Federal News Tonight in the 7:30p ET half-hour.

Meanwhile, some resources on the Obama administration’s open government and transparency initiative.

* The Open Government Tracker — a “dashboard” of the open government initiative tracking ideas, comments and votes from most agency open government forums… created by feds during “snowmagedon.”

* The DorobekINSIDER Reader: Transparency, open government and [[May 22, 2009]

* The White House Open Government page

* Federal News Radio: ‘Trust framework’ adoption makes federal agencies more open

* Government Executive: Analysis: Transparent leadership starts from within

Written by cdorobek

February 23, 2010 at 6:25 PM

DorobekInsider: Did the President all-but mention GSA administrator nominee Johnson at the State of the Union?

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Most of probably watched the State of the Union address last night — President Obama’s first State of the Union address.

Over all, there wasn’t much for feds specifically — he called for the end of the Defense Department’s gays in the military bad…

State of the Union 2010

President Barack Obama gives his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress in the House Chamber of the U.S. Capitol, Jan. 27, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

But the President did say this:

What frustrates the American people is a Washington where every day is Election Day.  We can’t wage a perpetual campaign where the only goal is to see who can get the most embarrassing headlines about the other side -– a belief that if you lose, I win.  Neither party should delay or obstruct every single bill just because they can.  The confirmation of — (applause) — I’m speaking to both parties now.  The confirmation of well-qualified public servants shouldn’t be held hostage to the pet projects or grudges of a few individual senators.

Was he specifically talking about Martha Johnson’s nomination to be the administrator of the General Services Administration? Who knows. We told you earlier that the Johnson nomination — and the other held nominations — were expected to come to a cloture vote soon after the vote on Ben Bernake’s nomination for a second term as chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, but I’m hearing that the cloture vote might not actually happen until next month.

Other quotes from the State of the Union address:

* A proposal to make college more affordable — particularly for those who select public service:

To make college more affordable, this bill will finally end the unwarranted taxpayer subsidies that go to banks for student loans.  (Applause.)  Instead, let’s take that money and give families a $10,000 tax credit for four years of college and increase Pell Grants.  (Applause.)  And let’s tell another one million students that when they graduate, they will be required to pay only 10 percent of their income on student loans, and all of their debt will be forgiven after 20 years –- and forgiven after 10 years if they choose a career in public service, because in the United States of America, no one should go broke because they chose to go to college.

* Earmark transparency on Capitol Hill

I’m also calling on Congress to continue down the path of earmark reform… You’ve trimmed some of this spending, you’ve embraced some meaningful change.  But restoring the public trust demands more.  For example, some members of Congress post some earmark requests online.  Tonight, I’m calling on Congress to publish all earmark requests on a single Web site before there’s a vote, so that the American people can see how their money is being spent.

Some people tweeted that lawmakers could do that on the Library of Congress’s Thomas Web site.

* Gays in the military

We find unity in our incredible diversity, drawing on the promise enshrined in our Constitution:  the notion that we’re all created equal; that no matter who you are or what you look like, if you abide by the law you should be protected by it; if you adhere to our common values you should be treated no different than anyone else.     We must continually renew this promise.  My administration has a Civil Rights Division that is once again prosecuting civil rights violations and employment discrimination.  We finally strengthened our laws to protect against crimes driven by hate.  This year, I will work with Congress and our military to finally repeal the law that denies gay Americans the right to serve the country they love because of who they are.   It’s the right thing to do.

WP’s Federal Eye blogger Ed O’Keefe has more.

See the entire speech here… or read the full transcript here.

Of course, I’m also watching the State of the Union 2.0 aspects where the White House is seeking questions on YouTube — and he will address them later.

Written by cdorobek

January 28, 2010 at 2:58 PM

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

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

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

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

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

The note he sent to friends:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Written by cdorobek

January 7, 2010 at 12:15 PM