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Pres. Unveils New Management Agenda – Plus the DorobekINSIDER’s 7 Stories

On GovLoop Insights’ DorobekINSIDER:

But up front: White House’s New Management Agenda!

The White House today issued its “new management agenda.” Cynics, of course, will note that the President is announcing a “new” management agenda in the fifth year of his presidency. And, in fact, there wasn’t much new in Monday’s announcement outside of saying that the new director of the Office of Management and Budget Sylvia Mathews Burwell to spearhead the initiative.

“We’ve made some good progress on all fronts, but now we need to do more. So today, I met with all my Cabinet, including a number of new Cabinet members, some of whom have extraordinary private sector experience, and I directed the Cabinet to develop an aggressive management agenda for my second term that delivers a smarter, more innovative, and more accountable government for its citizens. And we’re going to continue to adopt good ideas from the private sector,” President Obama said at the White House.

In addition to announcing that the administration has a management agenda, Pres. Obama mentioned the second tranche of Presidential Innovation Fellows and his open government initiatives such as Data.gov.

We will have highlights of the president’s comments Tuesday, but you can read the full text.


Reads worthy of your time:

  • Yes, Kickstarter raises more money for artists than the NEA. Here’s why that’s not really surprising– During a session at the Aspen Ideas Festival, Aspen Institute president Walter Isaacson asked Perry Chen, founder of Kickstarter, whether it was true that Kickstarter now funds more arts-related projects than the National Endowment for the Arts. The crowdfunding site has, Chen told Isaacson, funded over $600 million in arts projects. “And,” said Isaacson, “that might be now more than the federal government spent on the arts in a given year?” adding a bit later that “in some ways… you’ve invented something that does what the NEA used to do and can’t quite do now.” Indeed, people have been saying since last year that Kickstarter funds more art-related projects than the NEA. And it’s true! For 2012, the NEA had a total federal appropriation of $146 million, of which 80 percent went toward grants. Kickstarter funded roughly $323.6 million of art-related projects if you include all design and video-related projects, which make up $200 million of the total, reports Katherine Boyle.
  • Agreements with private companies protect U.S. access to cables’ data for surveillance – The U.S. government had a problem: Spying in the digital age required access to the fiber-optic cables traversing the world’s oceans, carrying torrents of data at the speed of light. And one of the biggest operators of those cables was being sold to an Asian firm, potentially complicating American surveillance efforts. Enter “Team Telecom.” In months of private talks, the team of lawyers from the FBI and the departments of Defense, Justice and Homeland Security demanded that the company maintain what amounted to an internal corporate cell of American citizens with government clearances.

The SEVEN stories that impact your life

  1. President Barack Obama met with his new Cabinet to detail how he wants agencies to continue improving federal services, making the government more efficient and opening up federal data to the public. In White House remarks after the meeting from the State Dining Room, Obama announced he’s asked new Office of Management and Budget Director Sylvia Burwell to lead this reinvigorated effort to help agencies find more innovative ways to deliver better results. Obama said he directed agency heads “to develop an aggressive management agenda for my second term that delivers a smarter, more innovative and more accountable government for its citizens.”
  2. Approximately 85 percent of the Defense Department’s civilian workforce — more than 650,000 employees — will be staying home today, as the first of DoD’s cost-cutting furlough days goes into effect. The Washington Post reports the furloughs will amount to a 20 percent cut in pay for hundreds of thousands of defense workers over the next three months. The furloughs, which were ordered by Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel to meet mandated budget cuts were forced by the sequester.
  3. Meanwhile the defense industry is hatching a new plot to kill budget cuts on tap for the Pentagon in 2014. The Hill Newspaper reports, Cord Sterling, vice president of legislative affairs for the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA), said his group is working to articulate the damage from the cuts that are now beginning to take hold. They remain hopeful that a fix is on the horizon. Sterling said that the defense industry will have an easier time making their case to lawmakers because they now have examples of grounded planes, idled ships and layoffs to point to, rather than just hypothetical damages.
  4. Internal Revenue Service documents showing that the agency might have scrutinized politically liberal groups before it inappropriately targeted conservative ones intensified debate on Capitol Hill last week, leaving the agency and its watchdog scrambling to explain themselves, reports the Washington Post. The result may be an already embattled IRS that faces even more criticism, and an inspector general risking a compromised reputation. J. Russell George’s May report about the IRS’s treatment of conservative groups led to public outrage, agency apologies, congressional hearings, a Justice Department probe and several dismissals, including the forced resignation of acting commissioner Steven Miller by the White House, reports Josh Hicks.
  5. The Office of Personnel Management’s processing of pension claims continued to nosedive last month following the elimination of overtime for employees in the agency’s retirement services division,according to statistics released Friday. In June, OPM processed 8,683 claims from recent retirees, an almost 21 percent drop from the May total of 10,954 and down 36 percent since April. But the agency still managed to stay slightly ahead of the infllux of new claims, meaning that the backlog of unprocessed claims fell from 26,210 in May to 25,542 last month, reports Federal Times.
  6. The unemployment rate for post 9-11 veterans continued to fall for the fifth straight month. That’s according to statistics released from the Labor Department Friday. The jobless rate for Afghanistan and Iraq veterans dropped to from 7.3 percent in May to 7.2 percent last month. It was 11.2 percent in January. Post 9-11 vets still have the highest rates of unemployment among all veterans.
  7. And on GovLoop, the President is talking about management issues, and it is also the topic for the next DorobekINSIDER Live. You can register now for the hour long presentation on July 17th at noon EDT.

DorobekINSIDER water-cooler fodder

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