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Weekly Round-up - December 23, 2011

Gadi Ben-Yehuda

My contribution for this week is limited to a single item (yes, with three links) so that I can wish everyone a happy, safe, and meaningful holiday season. The end of December is a natural time for reflection and planning, what I've recently heard as "mirror/window" exercises. We look back, we look forward, and if we are wise, we also look around us in gratitude. In that spirit, I'd like to say thank you to all the readers of our round-up, all the authors whose work we feature, to my colleauges who dutifully send me content every week, and to all the people whose work forms the foundation for these stories.

It's all a game. Fast company reports that transparency can engerd (and foment) greed. Which is great, argues Software Insider, as the seven deadly sins are a model for non-monetary gamification incentives. Which could be applied to the current "Yes We Scan" initiative, right?

Dr. John Bordeaux

  • U.S. asks journals to censor reports of a deadlier, lab-created 'bird flu' virus out of terrorism fears. Implications for open data initiatives - "open" does not mean anarchy. In addition to management to ensure data quality, other legitimate restrictions on data exist. The question is: to what extent can government enforce censorship in an age where expectations regarding accessible data are raised across the globe.
  • Speaking of open data - do we know what lurks beneath? Does anyone have a national picture of the "crumbling infrastructure" based on data? Many agree we need a policy to address infrastructure, where is the data to inform policy, prioritization, etc.?
  • Social engineering remains the most valuable source of intelligence - humans remain the weakest link in any cyber policy.

Dan Chenok

Acquisition:

  • Outgoing head of Procurement Policy weighs in on challenges to shared service procurements
  • Multiple Award Contracts on the rise, changing the procurement landscape

IT:

Cyber:

John Kamensky

  • Federal .gov Inventory – Home Alone! The .gov Reform Task Force reports that of the 1,489 domains identified via their survey, 19 percent are inactive and another 27 percent automatically re-direct visitors to other sites. Eliminating these will make it easy to reach the president’s goal of cutting the number of government websites in half! The study also found:

    Only about a third of agencies (35%) reported that they have standardized web policies and procedures across their departments/agencies.
    Agencies reported a total of 150 different systems for creating and publishing web content.

    Agencies reported a total of 250 web hosting providers, with an average of 10 providers per agency.

    A related NextGov story by Joseph Marks, “Only half of dot-gov sites are active, GSA says,” notes that “Federal Chief Information Officer Steven VanRoekel mentioned a British project that pulled that nation's roughly 2,000 government sites under two main Web domains.” And Marks noted that this is unlikely to be the end result in the US.

  • Government Can Work: DOE Weatherization. Here’s a good news story from Government Executive’s Andrew Lapin, “Stimulus money to weatherize houses has been well-spent, GAO finds.” GAO initially found Energy was overwhelmed with the size of the $5 billion program it was initially tasked to implement but now has it well-managed.
  • Or Can It? Save Now, Spend Later. Here’s another story, by Andy Medici in Federal Times, where Congress has delayed planned construction of a new home for the Department of Homeland Security by five years to save money now, but the costs will rise by $500 million as a result of the delay.
  • Streamlining Acquisition Approval Processes. According to a story by Federal News Radio’s Jared Serbu, Congress directs the Pentagon to make investment decisions in the context of broader strategic goals, not just on a case-by-case basis. The Pentagon has already taken steps in this direction by creating a 7-point strategic plan.

The Business of Government Radio Show: Robert F. Hale

The Business of Government Hour features a conversation about management with a government executive who is changing the way government does business. The executives discuss their careers and the management challenges facing their organizations.

The show airs fives times a week on two radio stations in the DC Metro Area.

Robert F. Hale, Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller), is the principal advisor to Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta on all budgetary and fiscal matters, including the development and execution of the Defense Department’s annual budget of more than $600 billion. As Chief Financial Officer, Mr. Hale also oversees the Department’s financial policy, financial management systems, and business modernization efforts.

Broadcast Schedule: Saturday, December 24 at 9:00 a.m & Friday, December 30 at 2:00 p.m on CBS Radio 1580AM on For those outside of the Washington, D.C. area, you can listen to our live webstream on CBS Radio 1580AM. Monday, December 26, at 11 a.m., Wednesday, December 28, at Noon, and Thursday, December 29, at Noon on Federal News Radio 1500AM WFED

If you can't wait, though, you can listen to it or download our interview with Beth and all our interviews at businessofgovernment.org and by searching our audio archives.

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