The good news and bad news of a continuing resolution — 7 DorobekINSIDER stories you need to know

The SEVEN stories that impact your life for Tuesday the 14th of August, 2012

  1. A tentative deal for a six-month continuing resolution would, if approved, avert a government shutdown until March. BUT, it also would set back plans for new and expanded programs. Federal Times reports the IRS would be unable to add more tax collectors and the Coast Guard could not buy another ice breaker. Federal Times says under a continuing resolution, new programs are generally taboo. Hiring and procurement are also restricted and agencies may even be stuck with funding programs at levels they think are unnecessarily high.
  2. An ethics audit at the General Services Administration failed to stop the lavish Las Vegas Western Regions Conference. Federal Times says in 2010 the Office of Government Ethics overlooked GSA’s shopping spree and failed to address known risk factors that could have prevented the scandal. At the time there was no designated agency ethics officer at GSA.
  3. Brigadier General Tammy Smith is the first openly gay officer of flag rank in the United States army.The New York Times says Smith, a 26-year veteran of the Army, was promoted in a ceremony at the women’s memorial at Arlington National Cemetery. During the ceremony her wife was able to pin her star on her uniform. The couple married in March 2011 in the District of Columbia.
  4. Internal auditors at the Defense Information Systems Agency need more training. Federal News Radio says the Pentagon inspector general gave them a failing grade. The IG looked at several internal audits done by DISA staff. It found auditors weren’t complying with their own manual, and they weren’t following Generally Accepted Government Auditing Standards. The IG recommended more education and more frequent reviews. DISA’s director, Army Lt. Gen. Ronnie Hawkins, has accepted the recommendations.
  5. President Barack Obama signed a bill to reduce the number of jobs requiring Senate confirmation. The law spares 166 executive branch positions from the process. Federal News Radio says it also eliminates Senate approval for members of the Public Health Service and NOAA. Critics of the nominations process have said it was too cumbersome. To put it in perspective, President John F. Kennedy had just 286 Senate confirmed executive branch jobs. The Obama White House had more than 1,200.
  6. Veterans Affairs is reporting success on an agencywide cybersecurity initiative. Starting in April, VA required all of its notebook computers to have hard disk encryption. That’s a technology making it impossible for information to escape if a machine is lost or stolen. Federal New Radio says like other large organizations, VA loses a few computers every month. Thirteen notebooks disappeared in June. CIO Roger Baker said all of them were encrypted. He added VA also installed software that lets the tech staff tell remotely whether a computer is properly secured.
  7. And on GovLoop, have you check out our new inforgraphic that looks at the Digital Government Strategy. We’re coming up on 3 months since the original announcement of Federal CIO Steven VanRoekel’s Digital Government Strategy. Do you know what you’re agency is supposed to be working on? No matter if you need some direction, or just curious about the trends that led up to the creation of the strategy overhaul, we hope our new infographic can help you get up to speed.

On today’s program

  • Do vague requirements cause programs to fail?
  • And in the DorobekINSIDER water-cooler fodder: What does a VP nomination do to your number of Facebook followers.

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