Weekly Roundup: June 12 - 16, 2017
OMB Burden Reduction. Federal News Radio reports: “The Office of Management and Budget is cleaning out its policy closet and in its first sweep found 59 data reporting requirements that are no longer necessary. . . . Of those 59 requirements, 50 have been rescinded and nine have been modified or suspended for the near future.”
Reorg Update. According to Government Executive: “Federal agencies working to restructure themselves are focusing primarily on serving their customers better rather than ways to cut the workforce, leaders told a Senate panel Thursday, which promised thorough oversight of the Trump administration’s reorganization efforts. . . . Agency leaders said they were taking seriously suggestions from their rank-and-file employees on how to institute more efficiencies as part of their reform planning.”
GSA Pilots Streamlined Reporting. Federal Times reports: “The Office of Management and Budget is looking to reduce the reporting burdens, standardized processes and costs federal awardees undergo through a Federal Acquisition Regulation Data Collection Pilot. To implement the “multiphase, multifaceted” pilot, OMB has teamed up with the Chief Acquisition Officers Council, the Department of Health and Human Services and the General Services Administration. . . . The pilot, which goes through March 2018, seeks to find and implement the best solution that relieves the federal awardee’s burdens.
New Permitting Streamlining Office. Government Executive reports: “President Trump pledged on Friday to transform the government and hold bureaucrats accountable, announcing a new office with the goal of slashing red tape. . . . The office will be housed in the White House's Council on Environmental Quality to help federal, state and local entities more quickly launch building and infrastructure projects.” Route Fifty asks if this duplicates an existing statutory office.
Tech Transformation Priorities. FedScoop reports that: “Chris Liddell, newly appointed assistant to the president for strategic initiatives, thinks increased collaboration — both internally and with the private sector — is key to improving government services. . . . [He] laid out the broad vision for President Donald Trump’s American Technology Council and the Office of American Innovation. . . . These include regulatory reform, infrastructure improvement, modernizing government services and preparing for the workforce of the future.”
New Administration Tech Approaches Rely on USDS. NextGov reports: “President Donald Trump’s key advisers appear to be deeply involved in government technology teams founded under Barack Obama. . . . When Trump dedicated a new White House team to modernizing government IT in March, it wasn’t immediately clear how the Office of American Innovation's mission differed from the U.S. Digital Service, a troubleshooting task force for high-profile technology projects. . . .But senior Trump advisers are regularly attending USDS meetings, signaling their interest in large-scale government technology projects, USDS Acting Administrator Matt Cutts told Nextgov.”
Redefining the HR Function. Howard Risher, in an op-ed for Government Executive,writes that agency leaders need to define what they want from their HR staffs and points to examples in the private sector of how that role is done differently.
Gov Reform: Phase One. Government Executive reports: “Linda Springer, a veteran federal manager serving as special adviser to OMB, said on the June 11 edition of WJLA’s “Government Matters” that a “not insignificant” announcement of “Phase One” of Trump agency reorganization plans is planned for this week.”
Michael J Keegan
Want to stop the next WannaCry? Stop classifying and start sharing. A push to declassify cyber-related intelligence would lead to better information-sharing and be the most effective way to face down the next WannaCry, former U.S. Chief Information Security Officer Gregory Touhill said at a June 15 congressional hearing. That global ransomware attack, he warned, "could have been much, much worse." Touhill, speaking at a joint hearing held by two subcomittees of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, said both government and private industry should engage in frequent exercises and drills as preparation for the next event.
OMB cracks down on 'low-value' compliance. The White House announced it was eliminating a range of agency reporting requirements deemed obsolete or unnecessary.
COOs can make government work better -- if they're hired. Agency chief operating officers can and should take the lead in improving government efficiency and service delivery, according to a new report from the Partnership for Public Service and Booz Allen Hamilton. But first, agencies have to hire some COOs. Max Stein, president and CEO of the Partnership, noted at a June 15 event that only four of 15 agency deputy secretaries have been confirmed. Of the remainder, he said, six have been nominated but not confirmed and another five slots are still vacant.
FITARA progress stalls on scorecard 4.0. After steady improvement on previous scorecards, agencies' progress on implementing the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act stalled on the fourth round. For the first time, more agency grades declined than improved, while 15 agencies' grades remained neutral. However, there were bright spots. Four agencies improved, including the U.S. Agency for International Development, which recorded the biggest jump in the history of the scorecard, leaping from a D-plus to an A-plus. USAID also has the distinction of securing the first-ever 'A' grade.
Trump tech office reaches out to feds. A priority of the new White House office tasked with reinventing government business practices and fixing federal IT is meeting with feds to forge and foster collaboration among siloed tech groups. Matt Lira, the special assistant to the president for innovation policy and initiatives, said the Office of American Innovation can improve federal IT by aligning progress already being made at the agency level. Lira acknowledged that widespread federal IT challenges can contribute to the "dissonance between policy implementation and operational reality.” The real way to tackle this problem is to bring people together, do some structural reforms, build great consensus in communities around the policymaking space and have those systems work on an ongoing basis to continually modernize government systems.
This Week’s The Business of Government Radio Show. What are the key priorities for the NIH Information Technology Acquisition and Assessment Center, NITAAC (NY-TACK)? How does NITAAC assist federal agencies to accomplish their mission? Join host Michael Keegan as he explores these questions with Bridget Gauer, Acting Director of NITAAC (NY-TACK).
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 businessofgovernment.org.