Friday, August 26, 2016
Articles from across the Web that we at the IBM Center for The Business of Government found interesting, week of August 22-26, 2016.

Safe Place for Ideas? FedScoop reports: “Federal Chief Information Officer Tony Scott would like to see a better system in place by which the government could solicit ideas for improvement without those ideas being stolen by competitors looking for an edge in landing a lucrative federal contract.  . . . .Scott spoke Thursday about a safe space for unsolicited proposals, which businesses currently have little incentive to share with the government out of fear their idea would fall into the hands of a competitor who could build upon it and win millions in the process despite not coming up with in the first place.”

Sequester Cuts Not Dead.  Government Executive reports: “House spending proposals for next year would require a sequester of more than three-quarters of a billion dollars, according to a new report from the Office of Management and Budget. . . . As they stand now, House funding bills would lead to a revocation of $775 million in non-defense discretionary spending from federal agencies' fiscal 2017 budgets, and an additional $17 million from defense spending.”

A Path Forward for Shared Services.  According to Federal News Radio: “Agencies may finally have a path to get over the long-standing struggle to modernize and consolidate back-office systems. . . . A new framework and playbook give financial management, human resources, grants and other executives a step-by-step process to move to a shared services provider. . . through six phases starting with assessment and ending with operations.

GAO Review of HUD Management Practices.  GAO released an extensive assessment of management and program oversight practices at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and of course found shortfalls, noting that “HUD’s past remedial actions were not always effective because they were not sustained. Turnover among senior leadership, shifting priorities , and resource constraints have contributed to HUD’s difficulties in implementing needed changes.”  The report serves as a roadmap for what GAO sees as a path to improvement.

Warning Signs on Use of Performance Measures.  Harvard professor Bob Behn writesin Government Executive:  One reason to measure performance is to evaluate the effectiveness of organizations and of people. But this is not the only purpose. In fact, I think that there are multiple answers to the question: “Why measure performance?” And one of these purposes is to motivate organizations and people. . . . It might not seem that these two purposes are in conflict. After all, we want to motivate people to accomplish what we want to evaluate. Still, any effort to measure performance ought to come with a big, flashing warning sign: A measure that works well for one purpose, might not work so well for other purposes.”

Shared Services Funding in Limbo?  Government Executive reports that: “The Obama administration’s team working to pool agency administrative functions through shared services has operated for the past 10 months with no funding . . . President Obama in February asked for $5 million for the USSM, but no appropriations have been enacted.”  Nevertheless, the program is moving forward, and Federal Times reports on four take-aways from a GSA-sponsored Industry Day: “GSA officials went on to lay out the progress USSM has made in centralizing functions like payroll, category management and IT migration with a series of panel discussions.

Weeding the Bureaucratic Garden.  Federal News Radio reports that: ‘Deborah Lee James, the Air Force secretary and Gen. David Goldfein, the Air Force chief of staff, ordered the reduction or outright elimination of the 29 out of the 61 collateral duties performed by uniformed airmen today. She noted: “In meeting with Airmen at installations around the globe, we have heard consistently that additional duties assigned at the unit level affect our ability to focus on core missions, which in turn impacts our readiness.”

Hiring IT Expertise Outside the Civil ServiceFederal News Radio reports that the Defense Department is starting to exercise a new statutory authority it recently received: “In the initial phases of what the Defense Department says will be a multi-year effort to stand up its new Cyber Excepted Service, DoD will ask around 3,000 current employees to move from the traditional civil service system to one that offers them fewer job protections but might also boost their pay and promotion prospects.”

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Next Week’s The Business of Government Radio Show.  hat are the strategic priorities for FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division? How does the FBI’s CJIS Division foster information sharing across the law enforcement enterprise? Join host Michael Keegan as he explores these questions and more with Stephen Morris, Assistant Director, FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division.

Broadcast Schedule: The show airs Monday at 11 a.m., and Friday at 1 p.m. on Federal News Radio 1500AM WFED.

If you can't wait, though, you can listen to (or download) this week's program and all our previous interviews at

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