On this week’s In Depth Digest: progress is coming on a strategy to break down the walls between Federal agencies, according to John Kamensky of the IBM Center for the Business of Government; the FBI’s Susan Hanson on how she nailed Alabama prison officials for a brutal murder, and why her story’s not yet complete; free legal help for vets will help them navigate problems at the Department of Veterans Affairs, says Jim Silkenat of the American Bar Association; Rachel Canty of Immigration and Customs Enforcement details how going online for learning is saving money and getting better results; and defense budget expert Todd Harrison of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments believes special war funding in the Defense Department may stick around, even though the wars are supposed to be over.
On this week’s In Depth Digest: Congressman Gerry Connolly on why the Senate is playing catch-up with the House; John Pendleton from the Government Accountability Office explains why a smaller headquarters might not be as cheap as the Pentagon expects; Dan Saaty of Decision Lens on why big data isn’t worth much without human judgement; former Deputy Secretary of Defense William Lynn explains why Cyber Command’s first four years look a lot like the Pentagon wanted them to; and Congressman Donald Payne explains his push to get parts of DHS to be able to talk to each other.
On this week’s In Depth Digest: former General Services Administration Inspector General Brian Miller on why some Federal government IGs let their work do the talking; dinosaurs, aliens and the federal government all have Scott Borg of the National Science Foundation in common; Defense Department veterans Beth McGrath and Dave Wennergren on managing the gigantic bureaucracy at their old agency; an electronic health records success story from an unlikely source, as Jim Porter and Deanna Gephart of Immigration and Customs Enforcement explain; and some lessons in fixing acquisition practives in the military from the Shark Tank TV show, from the Navy’s Nick Guertin.
Discovering two new species of dinosaurs and collecting a 15-million-year-old water sample trapped half a mile below the surface of Antarctica aren’t your average day at work – unless you are Scott Borg. He’s head of the Antarctic Sciences Section in the Division of Polar Programs at the National Science Foundation. He is a 2014 Service to America medal finalist in the Career Achievement category. He explained the work he and his team do on my show today.
Also on the show today: Nick Guertin of the Navy, explaining how the TV show Shark Tank might be a model for defense acquisition reform.
Three major scandals occupy the minds of the leadership class in Washington right now: the Department of Veterans Affairs, where President Obama has made public his choice of Robert McDonald as Secretary; the Internal Revenue Service, where IT professionals and leadership didn’t follow Federal government record-keeping law, according to National Archives head David Ferriero; and the crisis on the southwest border, where President Obama says he’ll act on his own – without Congress – to deal with the flood of immigrant children coming across the border, and keep more from coming. I talked about all of these topics with John Batchelor and guest co-host Thaddeus McCotter on The John Batchelor Show last night.
The Inspectors General community in the Federal government is often apprehensive about talking about its work. Often requests for conversations about IG reports are met with “the report will stand on its own.” Brian Miller, former Inspector General at the General Services Administration and now Managing Director at Navigant, joined me today to offer an introduction to the world of the IG. We discussed the two important ways IGs view their missions; the balance between independence from, and collaboration with, agency leadership; and who has the IG’s back when sparks fly.
Also on today’s show: an unlikely source for a Federal health IT success story – Immigration and Customs Enforcement – could be a model for other agencies building electronic health record systems. Capt. Deanna Gephart, Assistant director of Health Records at Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and Jim Porter, electronic health records program manager for Enforcement and Removal Operations and Acting Branch Director at ICE, explain how they did it.
A consensus is building in Washington – in the Pentagon, on Capitol Hill, and in the thought community – about how to fix the problems that hold the Defense Department back. Congressional committees like the House Armed Services Committee’s special panel on defense acquisition reform are looking for solutions that have eluded the agency. Beth McGrath, former Deputy Chief Management Officer and now a Director of Deloitte’s Federal practice, and Dave Wennergren, McGrath’s former deputy as Assistant Deputy Chief Management Officer, now senior vice president of technology policy at the Professional Services Council, told me today they continue to consult with Congress. We discussed how to get from talking about solutions, to actually solving problems.
Also on today’s show: Ford Heard, the Associate Deputy Assistant Secretary for Procurement Policy, Systems and Oversight at the Department of Veterans Affairs, on building and keeping a strong acquisition workforce; the Government Accountability Office’s Asif Khan returns with a look at the latest financial management troubles at the Defense Department; and Roll Call Senior Editor David Hawkings explains why the September 30th Federal budget deadline is a lot closer than it looks.
On this week’s In Depth Digest: a lack of urgency could be costing agencies the best cyber talent, according to the RAND Corporation’s Martin Libicki; former House Armed Services Committee General Counsel Roger Zakheim, now with Covington and Burling, on why the Overseas Contingency Operations budget complicates the budget talks between Congress and the White House; another big budget cut for the Internal Revenue Service may be a predictor for other federal agencies, says federal employee advocate Jessica Klement; the Defense Logistics Agency’s Jeff Curtis says it’s really possible to do more with less; and General Services Administration Chief Learning Officer Mike Casey explains why training and learning aren’t the same thing.