Getting a clearer picture. This week I’ve read a lot of things that I either didn’t know, or didn’t realize were important. These articles brought them into focus for me, and as I review them, they seem to point at larger meanings and trends.
- Mark Headd published “Built to Fail,” about why government IT procurement seems to be broken. Related: “Army tests commercial networking tech for the battlefield”
- Bill McBride produced an interactive chart, showing how the population pyramid has changed since 1900, and projecting out to 2060. Want to know why IT Procurement matters? Take a look here: population distributions are flattening out. Related: as governments provide digital services to more people (whatever their generation), we should pay attention to metrics and design.
- Brookings released Planning the American Dream: The Case for an Office of Opportunity. It starts to answer not the IT side of things, but the policy and bureaucratic questions of how to ensure that future populations have a chance to succeed.
- Better Management Needed, Not Legislation. Jason Miller, Federal News Radio, interviews federal CIO Steve VanRoekel on pending legislation to strengthen the authority of agency-level CIOs. VanRoekel says: “It’s much more complex than just going in and shifting the way titles are done or generically giving them a seat at the table, but making that seat at the table more downstream from an appropriations process,” he said. “We’ve got to think about it in a more comprehensive way.”
- Innovation at 18F. Lena Trudeau, director of the 18F Innovation Center at the General Services Administration, responds to critics in Federal Computer Week, noting the “purpose is to establish and scale successful models for procuring, building and delivering incredible, easy-to-use digital services to the people and businesses government serves. Facilitating new ways of doing business is one of our primary objectives.”
- Best Practices in Agency Strategic Reviews. Charlie Clark, Government Executive, sums the highlights of a new report by the National Academy for Public Administration. He writes the report “is designed to give agencies ‘more practical advice on what constitutes a successful, impactful strategic review.’” His colleague Tom Shoop attended the release event and reports that OMB’s Lisa Danzig shared a longer term vision, where: “2014 strategic reviews, which are currently underway, would focus on performance measures and ‘course corrections.’ In 2015, the reviews ‘inform budget, legislative and regulatory proposals,’ and in 2016 they ‘impact long-term strategy.’”
- Learning From Bios of Leaders. Mark Abramson and Paul Lawrence, in Government Executive, describe the common lessons derived from a series of recently-released autobiographies of departmental secretaries – Robert Gates, Hillary Clinton, Timothy Geithner, and Leon Panetta.
Bowen: Consolidating health IT about culture, not tech
As the Department of Defense gears up for a planned $11 billion acquisition of an electronic health record system, the top tech official at the Defense Health Agency said the biggest hurdles to a unified system are cultural, not technological.
The move to the single health record is a big part of a massive drive to eliminate IT redundancies and other inefficiencies in the Military Health System that is projected to save $550 million in annual operating budgets by fiscal 2021. David Bowen, director of the Health Information Technology Directorate for the Defense Health Agency and CIO of the Military Health System, said every system and application that is phased out in the name of efficiency has its fans who will be suspect about migrating to a new system or working inside of a new organization.
Sequestration pushes DHS contract spending to lowest level ever
The Homeland Security Department’s contract dollars declined for a second year in a row as sequestration set in.
DoD needs updated cost savings data when considering furloughs
A new Government Accountability Office report finds the Pentagon did not update its cost savings estimates as it received more information during the furlough period.
VanRoekel rejects need for wholesale IT reform bill
Federal Chief Information Officer Steve VanRoekel says good management policies should be enough to improve how agencies buy, operate and deliver technology.
IGs seek better access to federal clouds
The breakdown of the VA’s cloud email deal last year highlights the question of how to maintain oversight of cloud-based computer systems.
The technology taking NASA to Mars
Whether mankind returns to Mars by 2030 is more of a political than technological question at this point — the politics may be far from settled, but the technology is subject to significantly less debate.
“We have the technology, we have the capability,” said Christina Richey, a contract program officer at NASA. “We just have to have the will.”
The Business of Government Radio Show: Dr. Zeke Emanuel
The Business of Government Hour features a conversation about management with a government executive who is changing the way government.
Dr. Zeke Emanuel discusses how the US Healthcare system has evolved. What’s surprising about the history of healthcare reform in the U.S.? What are the Six Megatrends in Healthcare? Join host Michael Keegan as he explores these questions and more with, Dr. Zeke Emanuel, author of Reinventing American Healthcare.
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.
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