Weekly Round-up: January 17, 2014
Opening Data, Sharing Stories: I read a lot this week about new sources of data being opened, and how people ar sharing their stories (but not necessarily their data) online.
- Alex Howard writes about an important development: The IRS will now allow people to download their own tax transcripts.
- Susannah Fox, of the Pew Research Center, shares the findings of a report that show (1) "Few Americans track their weight, diet or exercise online" and (2) Many Americans either share their own health stories or read about others with health concerns "The social life of health information"
- A proposal in Pittsburgh would open up that city's data. Go Stillers!
- Andrea Di Maio writes about "The Eight Key Issues of Digital Government." He sees three areas in which digital government is making a difference: Engaging Citizens, Connecting Agencies, and Resourcing Government. Read the full article for details.
- Congress passes 2014 budget, moves to final signature and enactment.
- Education datapalooza -- easing the path for college financial aid applications.
- New Federal CIO Council Vice-Chair -- DHS CIO Luke McCormack.
- More Conference Spending Constraints? Joe Davison, Washington Post, questions whether additional legislation is needed to further restrict federal employees attending conferences, especially given that agencies have reported cutting conference costs in some cases by 80 percent or more.
- Dealing with Long-Term State Budget Crises. The State Budget Task Force, chartered by the Pew Charitable Trusts over the past three years, released its final report. It highlights the structural budget problems facing states but does not recommend specific policy changes. Instead, as the New York Times notes, the report calls for greater honesty and transparency in reporting reality, in hopes that this will trigger public demands for specific policy changes.
- GAO Joins the Blogosphere. Colby Hochmuth, FedScoop, reports that the Government Accountability Office now has a blog: WatchBlog: Following the Federal Dollar. Daily posts highlight an issue or report. You can follow, share or print, but commenting is different . . . .
- New Defense Health Agency to Save $2.4B. Nicole Blake Johnson, Federal Times, writes that the Defense Health Agency – created on October 1, 2013 – will create a shared IT platform for medical information across all the military services. This sharing will result in some serious savings by cutting duplication in contracting and multiple data centers.
Archuleta studying best ways to ensure OPM continues HR evolution
Federal News Radio sits down with Katherine Archuleta, the new director of the Office of Personnel Management. Archuleta says she has spent her first few months as OPM director learning, listening and asking questions to figure out how to ensure continuous improvement of the agency and federal workers' lives.
DoD shields basic research, but other R&D will take serious budget hit
Frank Kendall, the undersecretary of Defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, said while the budget agreement adds money back to DoD's overall spending capacity in 2014 and 2015, the deal still doesn't plug holes in the Pentagon's research funding. Kendall estimated R&D funding will drop by as much as 20 percent compared to the department's initial requests.
Agency watchdogs seek more independence, budget boost
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) says agency inspectors general are increasingly facing obstacles in their efforts to uncover waste and misconduct. Lawmakers also expressed concern about the impact of across-the-board budget cuts on the operations of agency IGs.
DoD begins use of specialized cloud for big data analytics
The platform, called Acropolis, is initially being used only for network operations and cybersecurity data, but officials plan to expand it to help solve big data challenges around financial and acquisition information.
Social Security seeks software for private cloud
SSA was an early cloud computing adopter and is one of the few non-intelligence agencies to put big data to use.
The Business of Government Radio Show: Casey Coleman
The Business of Government Hour features a conversation about management with a government executive who is changing the way government.
In one of her last interviews as GSA CIO, Casey Coleman joins Michael Keegan on The Business of Government Hour to reflect on her tenure at GSA. The discussion explores GSA's IT priorities, its IT challenges, successes, innovations, and offers insights on federal IT trends.
Broadcast Schedule: The show airs Monday at 11 a.m., and Wednesday at noon, on Federal News Radio 1500AM WFED