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Evolving Face of the Government Workforce: Plus DorobekINSIDER’s 7 Stories

On GovLoop Insights’ DorobekINSIDER:

  • Did you know that almost 50% of IT projects fail. It’s true. So in order to help cut down on the time and money federal agencies spend on IT projects they’re moving to agile development. We detail what agile development really looks like. Click here for the full recap.

But up front: The Evolving Form of Government Workforce

Chris Dorobek got to spend the day yesterday at the Government Workforce conference sponsored by ASTD Government and The Public Manager magazine.

The audience is mostly made up of government officials from the training and learning community as well as human resources. And we discussed budgets, of course — and training budgets are one of the first areas to be cut in tough times. But my panels focused on transition.

Some initial thoughts:

  • Don’t underestimate transitions: Many people think that if President Obama wins re-election, there isn’t really a transition. But the general assessment is that is not true. There is a transition regardless. In fact, many people who have been through many transitions said one of the most difficult transitions was from President Ronald Reagan to President George Bush 41, interestingly enough.
  • Be proactive: Don’t just let transition wash over you.
  • Be prepared: You are going to be asked about your program. Are you ready? Always remember to talk benefits, results, links to the mission, and if you can talk about how it saves money, even better.
  • Get in the briefing book: Yes — the briefing book which gets foisted on incoming political appointees. If you can get your program included in the briefing book, all the better.
  • Be prepared: Know the incoming politicals: Yes, there is going to be a lot of change. Know what your incoming executives care about and how you can help them be successful.
  • Focus on the mission: It is going to be a bumpy six months ahead with the elections and much talk about sequestration. Stay focused on the mission. That’s what matters.

The SEVEN stories that impact your life for Thursday

  1. The Washington Post says President Obama has begun sketching out his agenda with greater specificity in recent days, including a pledge to solve the nation’s in­trac­table budget problems within “the first six months.” In an interview made public Wednesday, Obama said he would pursue a “grand bargain” with Republicans to tame the national debt and would quickly follow that with a push to overhaul the nation’s immigration laws. With less than two weeks until Election Day, Obama chose to highlight two issues that have bedeviled him during his presidency: the debt, which has soared past $16 trillion on his watch, and immigration legislation, which never got off the launching pad over the past three years.
  2. Dept. of Health and Human Services faces threat of subpoena from Ways and Means Committee. Politico reports, ”Another House committee chairman is threatening to subpoena HHS — this time over the agency’s efforts to promote ‘Obamacare.’…’The department’s failure to provide a single responsive document to the Committee’s reasonable requests leaves only two possibilities: either the department is unable to keep track of the work products it buys with taxpayer dollars or the department is trying to delay any response until after this year’s election,’ they wrote in a letter to Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. The pair is demanding that HHS turn over ‘information on the use of taxpayer dollars … on contracts for public relations, advertisements, polling, message testing and similar services.
  3. Defense contractors are prepping for the dreaded fiscal cliff. The Washington Post reports the nation’s largest defense contractors reported mixed financial results Wednesday as the companies continue to take steps to safeguard against possible federal budget cuts associated with the ‘fiscal cliff.’ But at the core of their concerns is the process called ‘sequestration,’ the series of automatic budget cuts looming at the first of the year that would hack about $55 billion out of Pentagon programs next year.”
  4. New app for locating graves debuts at Arlington National Cemetery. The Associated Press says the Cemetery made public a massive electronic database detailing the gravesites of the roughly 400,000 people buried there. Cemetery officials built the database over the last two years to verify the accuracy of their records brought into question by reports of misidentified graves. Prior to 2010, the cemetery used paper records and maps to track who is buried where.
  5. CIA chief David Petraeus is applauding the conviction of a former officer for leaking classified information. John Kiriakou pled guilty to revealing the identity of an undercover CIA officer to a reporter. He agreed to serve 2-1/2 years in prison. In a message to staff, Petraeus says the case shows: oaths matter and there are consequences for those who break them. It is the first successful prosecution under the Intelligence Identities Protection Act in 27 years.
  6. Time may be running out on a rule that lets you spend more than the per-diem rate on hotels in expensive cities. The General Services Administration just published a proposal in the Federal Register. It would end the “conference lodging allowance” that’s been in place for twelve years. The rule has let feds spend up to 125 percent of per-diem on lodging when they attend federal conferences. Agency officials do not have to approve of the request. GSA says this proposal would let agencies get a “firmer grasp” on how their travel dollars are used. It says travelers should consider staying in cheaper hotels away from the conference site.
  7. And on GovLoop, are you prepped for the transition? Take a look at our transition guide. You can find it here.

A few items from the DorobekINSIDER water-cooler fodder

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