CIOs in the Age of Disruptions

On GovLoop Insights’ DorobekINSIDER:

  • “Can you hear me now?” You probably remember those Verizon Wireless commercials with the Verizon rep walking across the United States making sure the connection was intact. As annoying as the commercials were, they did drive home a point, cell service is everywhere. But here’s the thing, in many parts of the world, service isn’t a given. For American soldiers on the battlefield and on the move in dangerous terrain, rapid communication with each other and command centers can be the difference between life and death. Meet the man who is making the connection.

You can find all of our programs online: and GovLoop Insights at

But up front: CIOs in the age of disruptions – a pre-discussion

Next week, I get to moderate a panel billed as Next-Generation CIOs: The Future of IT in Government.

Hosted by AFCEA’s Bethesda, MD chapter, we have a great line-up:

The discussion is going to focus on CIOs in this ‘age of disruption’ – where a suite of technologies are changing how government accomplishes its mission. And during the call, there was consensus that CIOs today are far more focused on mission than on technology… yes, how technology can impact the mission, but in the end, the focus is on mission.

I have been reading a new book by Harvard professors Stephen Goldsmith and Susan Crawford titled The Responsive City: Engaging Communities Through Data-Smart Governance — interview coming soon on GovLoop’s DorobekINSIDER.

The introduction of the book has a great quote:

Urban government in the United States today is at a critical juncture. Never before over the last century has there been such a need to change the way city hall works. And never has there been such an opportunity to do it.

And the book talks about how these “disruptive” technologies enable real change.

So… among the topics we hope to discuss:

  • the role of the CIO — how is it changing and evolving… and what does that mean for CIOs? for government? for industry?

  • how CIOs are dealing with budgets where agencies have less this year than they did last year

  • HQ v regions — how does an organization work as one?

  • Innovation — what does it mean in a government context?

  • What all of this means to industry and how they do business

What are we missing?

The SEVEN stories that impact your life

  1. GovExec: “Homeland Security Spent Millions on Vehicles It Rarely Used”— According to one report, the Department of Homeland Security spent from $35 million to $49 million in fiscal 2012 on underused automobiles. At an annual cost of $534 million, DHS leases and owns 56,000 vehicles, which is the second largest fleet out of all departments. The inspector general of the DHS discovered in an audit that the managers at the varying agencies don’t have systems in place that ensure that vehicles comply with the departmental standards or are cost effective. This problem is exacerbated by the fact that each sub-agency manages its own fleet.

  2. FederalTimes: “Federal health insurance exchange gets a CEO”— According to an announcement from the Health and Human Services Department, the head of Connecticut’s insurance exchange, Kevin Counihan, is set to be the chief executive officer of and the federal health insurance exchange system. Counihan will be in charge of managing relationships with state marketplaces, leading the marketplace, and for running the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight.

  3. Nextgov: “Next CTO Reportedly Waiting for Security Clearance”— Google executive, Megan Smith, has been chosen by the White House as the next federal chief technology officer. According to Fortune, the announcement of Smith’s new placement will be made once her security clearance is confirmed. Currently, Smith is the president of Google X, which is the company’s secretive research branch that has recently been working on a drone-delivery program and the development of self-driving cars.

  4. DefenseNews: “Pentagon Says Website Improves Communication Between DoD, Industry”— The Defense Innovation Marketplace, a website from the US Department of Defense, is helping the DoD gain valuable insight about the industry’s research-and-development projects. It has also been helpful in regards to face-to-face meetings between contractors and military personnel. The website enables the Pentagon to post the types of technology it is seeking and also allows companies to post the different research they are conducting.

  5. The Washington Post: “Inspector general investigating DEA payments for Amtrak passenger info”— Drug Enforcement Administration agents are under federal investigation for allegedly paying an Amtrak secretary over $850,000 for passenger information. The information could have been obtained free-of-charge via making an agreement with the Amtrak police. The investigation came about as the result of a recent report form Amtrak’s inspector general that uncovered questionable payments. According to the review, the secretary supplied DEA agents with passenger information such as names, emergency contact information, credit car numbers, passport numbers, and dates of birth.

  6. The Washington Post: “VA is looking for a few good doctors and nurses”—As part of efforts to improve its reputation amid recent medical scandals, the Department of Veterans Affairs is launching a new recruitment effort to increase the number of medical professionals. VA Secretary Robert A. McDonald will be appearing at Duke University’s School of Medicine this Friday as part of these efforts. McDonald has a tough task ahead trying to improve the tainted image, but the task is less daunting with the passing of a new law that provides $5 billion to hire additional health care employees. The recruitment includes potentially increasing the salaries of VA health professionals and developing a VA Nursing Academic Partnership (VANAP) with nursing schools with programs aimed at mental and psychiatric health care.

  7. The Washington Post: “Stop order against USIS could significantly slow down background checks”— A recent stop-work order prevented a major U.S. contractor from executing background investigations and has the potential to greatly impact the security clearance process. The stop-work order was issued Aug. 6 in reaction to the hacking of USIS, a Virginia-based company responsible for overseeing a majority of the federal government’s contracted investigations. As a result, the records of thousands of federal workers could have been exposed. The stop-work order can stay in place for up to 90 days, which would significantly hinder the security clearance process.

DorobekINSIDER water-cooler fodder… yes, we’re trying to help you make your water-cooler time better too…

  • NYPD Is Sending Its Officers to Twitter Class [Mashable]: The New York City Police Department is requiring its officers to take lessons in social media use, following several recent Twitter controversies, according to a new report. NYPD officers are participating in Twitter training sessions as part of the department’s ongoing social media outreach program, the New York Post reported. The NYPD has been working to expand its social media presence since early 2014, creating Twitter accounts for commanding officers and some subway lines, according to DNAinfo, a local news outlet. In the process, the department has found itself at the center of a series of Internet snafus. In April, an NYPD social media campaign backfired after its official Twitter account asked people to share photos of themselves with members of the police force using the hashtag #myNYPD. Twitter users quickly flooded the campaign with photos of alleged police brutality and ironic uses of the #myNYPD hashtag.

  • Brutal Efficiency: The secret to Islamic State’s stunning success [The Wall Street Journal] The secret to Islamic State’s brutal efficiency? Local tribal connections, military tactics blended with conventional terrorism, and learning from al Qaeda’s mistakes

  • Broken Promises on National Service [New York Times editorial] Washington’s dysfunction is resulting in missed opportunities to expand the public service program AmeriCorps.

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