Weekly Roundup: October 20-24, 2014
Dan Chenok Interesting and informative infographic on national cybersecurity preparedness. Interesting notes on identity management and recent financial executive order. Interesting observations on open source and security. John Kamensky Countering ID Theft. Jason Miller, Federal News Radio, reports that the White House is giving agencies a lead role in combatting ID theft, noting: “President Barack Obama signed an Executive Order on Oct. 17 outlining a series of steps with short and longer term deadlines to transition to more secure online transactions under a new Buy Secure initiative.” Federal Times reports that the executive order: “requires federal agencies to use chip-and-PIN security on all government-issued cards and update card readers to work with new technology” by the end of the year. Balancing Risk vs. Action. Federal Times editor Steve Watkins writes that too often, federal managers are risk-adverse and that: “Federal managers are often simply unaware of the promise that modern technology holds for improving their mission effectiveness, efficiency, responsiveness and security.” Ebola and Other Czars. After President Obama announced that he was appointing Ron Klain as his point person on the Ebola scare, a number of articles appeared either lauding or condemning the move. More interestingly, several look at the trend of White House involvement in operational issues: A Reuters article says: “Some critics have said the naming of a 'czar' would add another layer of bureaucracy to a sprawling response. . . . But Thad Allen, the former Coast Guard chief who served in a similar role leading the administration's response to the 2010 Gulf oil spill, said it helps to have one person who can explain how all the pieces are working together during a crisis.” One Government Executive article (courtesy of National Journal) asks: “What Exactly Does an Administration Czar Do?” While another (courtesy of The Atlantic) provides an amusing laundry list of czars over the years. Waste Watchers, Anonymous. The late Sen. William Proxmire sponsored The Golden Fleece Award, where he monthly showcased a government project that he judged had gone awry. Sen. Tom Coburn, who is retiring from Congress at the end of this year, has released his final edition of his annual “Waste Book” of 100 government projects he thinks are inappropriate. Will anyone pick up the mantel, or will it depend on anonymous tips to the media once more? Michael Keegan OMB details new, expanded approach to fighting improper payments. After four years of consistent reductions in the governmentwide improper payments rate, the Office of Management and Budget is pushing agencies to go further to root out these problems. OMB released an update of Appendix C to Circular No. A- 123 on Oct. 20 with significant changes to the policy that oversees how agencies track, report and oversee improper payments. "The goal of this overhauled version of Appendix C to Circular No. A-123 1 is to transform the improper payment compliance framework to create a more unified, comprehensive, and less burdensome set of requirements," wrote OMB Director Shaun Donovan in the memo to agency executives. Army changing its energy culture through better data. At its installations around the world, the Army has been trying to instill a culture of energy conservation. But it's tough to manage what you can't measure, so the service has been installing advanced electric meters on most of its major buildings over the last several years, and expects to finish the project within the next year. At CIS, they DID(IT). Eighteen months ago, the technology office at DHS's Citizenship and Immigration Services wasn't using open source technology, web responsive design or a mobile-first approach, and applications or new IT solutions typically took months to roll out. Not anymore! History of Management Missteps Contributes to CDC’s Credibility Gap. Under both Dr. Thomas Frieden and his predecessor Dr. Julie Gerberding, “there were repeated significant violations of bio-safety and bio security standards and requirements to report violations,” Ebright told Government Executive. “It’s a consistent pattern” that CDC employees do not report up the chain of command. The Business of Government Radio Show: Conversation with TJ Kennedy, Acting General Manager, First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet), U.S. Department of Commerce. What are the strategic priorities for FirstNet? How is FirstNet pursuing its outreach strategy with key stakeholders? What is FirstNet doing to use collaboration and partnership to meet mission? Join host Michael Keegan as he explores these questions and more with TJ Kennedy, Acting General Manager, First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet), U.S. Department of Commerce. Broadcast Schedule: The show airs Monday at 11 a.m., and Wednesday at noon, on Federal News Radio 1500AM WFED If you can't wait, though, you can listen to (or download) this week's program and all our previous interviews at businessofgovernment.org and by searching our audio archives.