Former Fed Chair Starts Foundation – Plus the DorobekINSIDER’s 7 Stories

On GovLoop Insights’ DorobekINSIDER:

Up front:

Paul Volcker, the former chairman of the Federal Reserve, is starting a foundation that will support research, fellowships and conferences focused on making government work better — and former OMB performance guru Shelley Metzenbaum will be the president of the group.

From the release:

“Trust in American government has been declining for decades,” said Mr. Volcker, the founder and Chairman of The Volcker Alliance, “and similar attitudes are evident in other democracies. “Trust rests on confidence, and too often government, at all levels, in the eyes of its citizens, has been unable to respond effectively to the challenges of the day.” When asked whether this announcement was inspired by recent stories about government performance under the Obama administration, Volcker replied, “Certainly not. I’ve been thinking about the need for such an institute for years. I will say, however, that the challenges the administration has faced recently at the Internal Revenue Service and the Justice Department – like so many other challenges faced by prior administrations during my lifetime – underscore the relevance that government’s execution of its policies has on the lives of its citizens. It’s that relevance that has inspired me to form the Alliance.”

Working in partnership with leading thinkers in higher education, government, business, and the public interest community, the Volcker Alliance will sponsor research on government performance, make actionable recommendations for policy development and implementation, and provide a forum for discussion of new ideas and tools to strengthen policy execution at all levels of government. Beyond that, the Alliance is committed to taking actions that contribute to a high degree of confidence in both the decision-making processes of government and in its administrative management. “While academics and governments alike concentrate on issues of ‘high policy,’ we will endeavor to rekindle intellectual, practical, and academic interest in the implementation of policy – the ‘nuts and bolts’ of governance,” added Mr. Volcker.

The Alliance has brought together a distinguished Board consisting of former public servants from both Republican and Democratic administrations, as well former members of Congress and state and local government. “We all share Chairman Volcker’s concern over the poor state of public trust in government, which is a reflection, in part, of woefully inadequate attention to government’s capacity to execute effectively on its day-to-day responsibilities,” said Bill Donaldson, the former Chairman of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission and Alliance Board member. “Too often our elected leaders neglect the importance of properly organizing, staffing, training and implementing policy,” added Alice Rivlin, founding Director of the Congressional Budget Office, former Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, former Vice Chairman of the Federal Reserve, and Alliance Board member.

The SEVEN stories that impact your life

  1. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs is poised to approve new rules empowering commanders to counter direct cyberattacks with offensive efforts of their own — without White House approval. Once signed, the new cyber rules – 3 years in the making – contained in the US military’s new standing rules of engagement outlines when, how and with what tools America will respond to an attack — will mark a far more aggressive tack than envisioned when the process started in 2010, reports Federal Times.
  2. The administration issued new security standards for mobile devices. The standards restrict employees from downloading certain attachments and copying data to and from removable media. They also lock the device or erase agency data on the device if the operating system is altered. Click here for a full list of the new requirements.
  3. The Defense Department has started handing out furlough notices to civilian employees. The Washington Post reports, some 750,000 Defense employees face up to 11 days of furlough beginning July 8 owing to automatic budget cuts mandated by sequestration. Although most other federal departments have managed to avoid furloughs, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced May 14 that the Pentagon has concluded that it cannot make the necessary cuts without them.
  4. Spending bills advancing in the House leave open the door for across-the-board pay raises for federal employees in January 2014. The Washington Post says the bill neither approves or disapproves of a pay raise.
  5. IRS acting administrator Danny Werfel has named a new chief risk officer. Government Executive reports, David Fisher, the chief administrative officer at the Government Accountability Office, will serve Werfel as senior adviser. Fisher will evaluate the agency operations “to mitigate risks and improve internal controls necessary for restoring the integrity of IRS operations,” Werfel said in a statement to staff.
  6. Former EPA chief Lisa Jackson has been hired by Apple as vice president for environmental initiatives. Apple CEO Tim Cook announced the news at the All Things D. The environmental organization Greenpeace has organized protests at Apple stores to pressure the tech titan to use more renewable forms of energy.
  7. And on GovLoop: Here is a staggering stat: 130 millions Americans own a smartphone, including roughly 1 out of 2 adults. That’s a technology that wasn’t even around 5 years ago. So how can government leverage this technology to connect, engage and empower government employees and the general public? Tune in to find out with the DorobekINISDER LIVE panel on June 26th at noon ET. Register for the free online webinar now.

Water Cooler fodder

  • Clay Johnson writes what he calls a short “fictional” story about the state of open government.

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