Beyond doing more with less — rethinking the work we do with IBM, did twitter kill emergency management? and NASA reacts to the Mars Rover

On today’s program

  • Doing more with less — that’s the mantra these days, right? But is it time to just do things differently? We’ll talk to Chuck Prow — the General Manager of IBM’s Global Business Services’ Public Sector business — and get his thoughts. He is the author of a new book — Governing to Win. Click here for the full recap.
  • Has twitter, facebook, istagram killed emergency management? Maybe so says Adam Crowe. He says it’s time for an emergency management revolution. You’ll learn why. Click here for the full recap.
  • DorobekINSIDER water-cooler fodder: Judges are leaving the bench — we’ll tell you why. A hint: pay… The White House and DOD hit a Twitter milestone… and one of the reasons people are angry at government: We’ll tell you about a police chief who is getting paid — for not working.

How can we not talk about the Mars rover?The critter landed on Mars early Monday morning and has already been sending back some amazing photos — just amazing stuff. And if you haven’t seen the video of the crew watching the actual landing, it is so heartwarming.

And while it took only minutes for Curiosity to land on the Red Planet, the rover’s mission will last much longer — and has been years in the planning, as NASA’s John Grunsfeld said last night on the PBS News Hour.

I think these kinds of events are not only important because they’re amazing and cool, but they also have an impact on how people think about government — about government workers and making projects work. It is hard to consider the odds — only 40 percent of Earth missions to Mars succeed. The CIO Journal notes that NASA’s Curiosity mission succeeded where other projects failed because the agency followed best practices familiar to many CIOs, including agile development and use of a single database of reference, which helped developers maintain version control.

Yesterday we were talking about the earlier rover missions. The Atlantic has an evolution of rovers — they’re bigger, faster and more capable.

Here are some amazing photos from the Atlantic.

Just one other item that I wanted to mention at the top. There is a lot of talk about the revolving door in government — you may remember around the Gulf oil spill and even the financial crisis, there were a lot of people who suggested that there was too cozy of a relationship between regulators and the regulated — and that the private sector would hire government officials and that resulted in lax regulations. A group of professors have actually studied that issue as it is related to the Securities and Exchange Commission. And the research has foundthat the revolving door actually shares knowledge and therefore toughens enforcement rather than making it more lax.
The study, by researchers at Emory University, Rutgers, the University of Washington and Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, found that S.E.C. enforcement lawyers who leave to join private law firms that specialize in commission matters actually produced tougher enforcement results than their peers while at the agency.
The study also found no evidence that law firms that have hired large numbers of S.E.C. alumni are able to extract more lenient enforcement outcomes from the agency.

The SEVEN stories that impact your life for Tuesday the 7th of August, 2012

  1. HP Enterprise Services is close to closing a $2.1 billion dollar Navy contract to continue operating the Navy and Marine Corps Intranet. GovConWire reports, HP owns and controls most of the infrastructure and software for running the NMCI after obtaining the program in 2008. The contract’s ceiling value will be increased from its current $3.39 billion amount to a maximum $5.51 billion.
  2. The Defense Information Systems Agency has issued a draft request for proposal for mobile device management and a mobile applications store. FedScoop says, the MDM capability should provide the application and user level “traffic cop” to enforce policy for network and end devices. The MDM institutes the policy, security and permissions that define the functions the user is enabled to conduct on the mobile device.
  3. The National Center for Telehealth and Technology has released an app to help service-members and veterans cope with stress and self-assessment when returning home. The LifeArmor app will provide information on 17 post-deployment issues. It also provides tips for families and friendships, life stress and anxiety, mild traumatic brain injury, anger, substance abuse and military sexual trauma.
  4. The Pentagon is looking for engineers to develop an advanced imaging sensor concept that mimics those in insects.NextGov says the bug-inspired technology could give drone and satellite imagery systems added sophistication to zero in on hard-to-detect targets. Engineers can draw new lessons from insects’ ability to see and sense moving objects, the Defense Department suggests. DOD will start taking proposals on August 27.
  5. The National Institute of Standards and Technology is making it easier for agencies to test the use of logical access control for applications. Federal News Radio reports, NIST is selling test smart cards currently under Homeland Security Presidential Directive-12. It is also selling security cards with functionality that may be included in the future. NIST is reviewing changes to the HSPD-12 standard.
  6. The General Services Administration has made some fixes to its Systems for Award Management website. Federal Computer Week says the site originally went live on July 31st, but was taken offline a few days later after experiencing some technical problems. GSA officials worked with IBM, the project’s contractor, to fix performance issues. And it’s now back up and running. The site is designed to central database for federal contracting data. GSA has completed the first phase of a long and bumpy transition away from outdated information systems, combining several governmentwide databases in a bid to become more efficient.
  7. And on GovLoop, we’ve released our new Leadership Guide, which looks at 10 traits of a “great government leader.” You can also find a three-part companion series we developed, which goes into even greater depth, bringing you the experience and research of six distinguished subject matter experts from around government.

A few items from the DorobekINSIDER water-cooler fodder

We talk about government pay a lot, but a you may know that federal judges haven’t received pay raises in years — 11 years. Congress has not provided for a salary increase… even a cost-of-living increase. A new study just out says it is starting to have an impact. The Wall Street Journal says that judges cited financial concerns as a top reason for retirement. The research assessed departures from the federal bench from 1970 to 2009 and found that more that about 4 percent of judges retired in that period, and that rate is increasing. In fact, the study notes there has been a large number of judges retiring since the study was concluded. And one real indication about the dissatisfaction: The professors sent a questionnaire to all retired judges — and 83 percent returned those surveys.

Want to get angry? We told you about the city of Stockton, California, which had to file for bankruptcy. In part, that was because of its pension obligations. And one of them is apparently the former police chief, Tom Morris. Bloomberg reports that Police Chief Tom Morris was supposed to bring stability to law enforcement when he was appointed to the job four years ago.

He lasted eight months and left the now-bankrupt city at age 52 with an annual pension that pays more than $204,000 — the third of four chiefs who stayed in the position for less than three years and retired with an average of 92 percent of their final salaries. Stockton is among dozens of California cities confronting rising pension costs even as they also contend with growing unemployment, foreclosures and declining property-tax revenue.

The White House and Department of Defense recently hit major milestones on Twitter.
FedScoop reports that the White House (@WhiteHouse) on Saturday passed three million Twitter followers for its official Twitter account while the Defense Department’s official account (@DeptofDefense) passed 100,000 followers on Friday.

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Samuel Lovett

great NASA video – glad to see so many coworkers celebrating a huge accomplishment all together. [fist pump]. looking forward to seeing what starts coming back from the red planet.