On GovLoop Insights’ DorobekINSIDER:
- New year, new financial priorities? Every year millions of American pledge to lose weight, hit the gym and save money. But retirement savings can be confusing and downright complicated, the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board is here to help. We get insights from the TSP’s Kim Weaver.
But up front:
- A new HealthCare.gov lead: The Wall Street Journal reports that the Obama administration has hired a new set of contractors that the administration hopes will improve the performance of HealthCare.gov, the online insurance marketplace. The White House has picked Accenture to oversee repairs to the glitch-plagued site after it decided to not renew its contract with CGI Group Inc.. Meanwhile, Hewlett-Packard Co. is already moving to remedy one glaring flaw by creating a backup for the main site – something the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services didn’t get with incumbent host Verizon Communication’s Terremark Web hosting unit. H-P is taking over hosting at the end of March. Over the next several weeks, H-P will migrate website data to servers and storage systems located at a data center in Tulsa, Okla. The data will be duplicated in real-time to H-P systems in Littleton, Mass. Gartner Inc. analyst Robert Booz notes the new contractors have their work cut out, ”because they’re still having technology issues.”
- Politico reports that there are some leadership changes at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Tim Love, a 22-year agency veteran, will serve as chief operating officer and oversee the contracts for the federal Obamacare portal. Love replaces Michelle Snyder, who retired at the end of last year and whose work was scrutinized during congressional hearings on HealthCare.gov. Dave Nelson will serve as chief information officer, replacing Tony Trenkle, who abruptly left in November for a private-sector opportunity. Trenkle was the supervisor of Deputy CIO Henry Chao, who had a leading day-to-day role in managing the development of HealthCare.gov. Nelson, who has been at the agency for a decade, most recently served as acting CIO following Trenkle’s departure.
- NSA phone record collection does little to prevent terrorist attacks, group says–An analysis of 225 terrorism cases inside the United States since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks has concluded that the bulk collection of phone records by the National Security Agency “has had no discernible impact on preventing acts of terrorism.” The study, to be released Monday, corroborates the findings of a White House-appointed review group, which said last month that the NSA counterterrorism program “was not essential to preventing attacks” and that much of the evidence it did turn up “could readily have been obtained in a timely manner using conventional [court] orders.”
- Spy agencies’ attorney has fiercely defended surveillance programs revealed by Snowden.
The SEVEN stories that impact your life
- Federal News Radio: House plans 3-day CR to extend deadline for budget talks. “Republican leaders plan to pass a short-term funding bill this week to extend by three days the deadline for wrapping up a massive, $1 trillion-plus catch-all spending bill covering funding for the rest of the year.”
- Washington Post: House approves HealthCare.gov security bill. “On a vote of 291 to 122, more than five dozen Democrats joined with all voting Republicans to approve a measure that would require the Department of Health and Human Services to notify affected users of any potential breach on a state or federal exchange within two business days.
- FCW: Data center closures continue apace — or do they? “When the Office of Management and Budget launched the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative in 2010, it aimed to close about 1,200, or 40 percent, of the estimated 3,133 data centers by 2015.By October 2013, 640 centers had been closed and a further 470 closures were scheduled to happen by September 2014.”
- Federal Times: Government to drop lead contractor of health care site. “The government announced Friday it is changing contractors for the troubled HealthCare.gov website, ditching lead contractor CGI Federal.”
- Federal News Radio: Turnover in GSA’s Senior Ranks Continues. “Dennis Papula, the director for management and strategy in GSA’s Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies, is moving to the Federal Trade Commission.”
- GovExec: Obama to Unveil NSA Changes Next Week. “President Obama will unveil his plans for reforming the National Security Agency in a speech Jan. 17, the White House announced.”
- Washington Post: Federal senior execs call for revised awards program. “The Senior Executive Association (SEA) is calling on the Obama administration to provide an alternative means of honoring top-ranking civil servants after last year’s suspension of the Presidential Rank Awards, which carried a monetary prize.”
DorobekINSIDER water-cooler fodder
- ‘Gamification’ of the office approaches. The “gamification” of the workplace, tracking employees and awarding prizes for excellence or following procedures, may sound like fun but has the potential to stifle creativity and flexibility, writes the WSJ’s Farhad Manjoo. The stats on gamification effectiveness are murky.
- Keeping Public Buildings Free of Guns Proves Too Costly for Kansas Towns: For Wichita and some other towns in Kansas, the cost of providing security to keep guns out of buildings was just too high.