Friday, January 16, 2015
The IBM Center's Weekly Round Up highlights articles and insights that we found interesting for the week ending January 16.

CMS head Tavenner announces resignation. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services administrator Marilyn Tavenner has announced she will be leaving the agency in February. IOM Touts Clinical Data Sharing. The Institute of Medicine has released four recommendations for the sharing of clinical data from medical trials, which include creating new technology platforms. IOM's recommendations came the same day as an announcement from Johnson & Johnson to make certain clinical trial data available through the Yale School of Medicine's Open Data Access Project. Modern Healthcare, New York Times. Health Apps Score 66.5 on Average in Consumer Reviews Report. A new report finds that, on average, consumers scored health and fitness and medical mobile applications 66.5 out of 100, or "good." MyFitnessPal's Calorie Counter received top marks from Android and iOS users, while FitBit and Weight Watchers Mobile scored below average. Health Data Management, Applause report Moniz demands more accountability in Energy projects. In his year and a half leading the Energy Department, Secretary Ernest Moniz has played the sheriff as much as the scientist. The department last month withheld more than 90 percent of the annual fee it pays the operator of Los Alamos National Lab. Rather than $63.4 million, Los Alamos National Security got $6.25 million for causing a radiation leak that forced the department to shutter its only underground storage facility for nuclear waste. The episode tees up a major change for Energy's varied and far-flung assets, including 17 national labs, major environmental cleanup efforts and nuclear security facilities. Moniz says he is "institutionalizing" risk management in a way the department has never seen before. Air Force to reshape 'cost curve' via targeted acquisition reforms.The Air Force is kicking off a series of targeted acquisition initiatives that its leaders hope will bring in more competition, cut out internal bureaucracy and ultimately lead to faster, cheaper procurements. Deborah Lee James, the secretary of the Air Force, announced the plans under an overall banner she dubbed "Bending the Cost Curve." She described the initiative as a series of actions that are complementary to DoD's Better Buying Power initiative — but more specific and tailored than the DoD-wide project. Help Wanted: Even drones need pilots, and the Air Force is running short of them. A cornerstone of the Obama administration’s fight against the Islamic State is drone surveillance and strikes in Iraq and Syria. For years, the military has had difficulties keeping up with the vast amounts of intelligence captured by the aircraft. The Air Force has a new problem: not enough pilots to operate those drones. FP’s Kate Brannen: "Drone pilots work 14-hour days for six days in a row.... Given the grueling workdays and widespread belief that drone operators don’t get promoted as rapidly as pilots of manned aircraft, a large number may head for the door.” More here. Koskinen: Furloughs possible for IRS employees.Employees of the Internal Revenue Service should plan for a possible agency shutdown, warned IRS Commissioner John Koskinen in an e-mail to the entire agency yesterday. In a message titled "Budget Update: Tough Choices", Koskinen laid out the details of a stark budget reality facing IRS financial planners. He said employee furloughs may be the only option for dealing with a budget shortfall — a shortfall that comes on top of multiple program cuts and reduced working hours. Koskinen said he expects the potential furloughs to last for two days, and will occur later in the fiscal year. John Kamensky Creating Governmentwide Centers of Excellence. Richard Spires and Tom Ragland, in an op-ed for Federal Computer Week, propose the creation of “centers of excellence” across the federal government. They observe a lack of critical mass of program management talent and recommend “establishment of Program Management Centers of Excellence (PM COE) that draw on best practices from the commercial sector, capitalize on pockets of excellence throughout government, and provide help for programs on initiation and throughout their life cycles.” Does SES Pay-for-Performance Work? Michael O’Connell, Federal News Radio, reports on a new study by the Office of Personnel Management that shows that fewer top federal career executives are receiving high performance ratings and those that do, receive smaller bonuses. In reaction to this trend, Carol Bonosaro, president of the Senior Executives Association, told Federal News Radio: "This is allegedly a pay-for-performance system and it's operating less and less like that." Chief Management Officers Are Still a Good Idea. Harvard’s Bob Behn writes in Government Executive that top leaders have ten roles and they can’t be successful at all of them, all of the time. He says: “Thus every public executive—appointed or elected—needs a chief management officer, chief operating officer, chief performance officer. I don’t care what the title is. I do care, however, that this person is responsible for ensuring that the jurisdiction or agency is operating competently—for keeping everyone focused on achieving the chief executive’s purposes. This person is responsible for the operational roles to which the top executive cannot devote sufficient attention.” Digital Help on the Way. Jason Miller, Federal News Radio, writes that “a new survey by the National Academy of Public of Administration and ICF International finds the majority of federal respondents need help to make lasting change to their agency's services.” In response, OMB says that it “will update two recent handbooks to help agencies adopt digital practices and take advantage of existing authorities under the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR).” A Roundup on the Wild, Wild Web. Jason Miller, Federal News Radio, reports that “OMB froze all new federal websites in 2011, and set out steps to reduce the number of dot-gov domains. . . . A Dec. 8 memo from acting federal chief information officer Lisa Schlosser, which OMB only posted online earlier this week, gives the General Services Administration's Office of Governmentwide Policy (OGP) oversight over future agency requests for new dot-gov sites.” The Flogging Will Continue Until Morale Improves. Joe Davidson, Washington Post, writes about a new memo from the White House, OMB, and OPM that outlines steps to reverse a steady decline in employee engagement in recent years. He notes: “It’s much too early to know if this will be just another forgotten personnel effort or an initiative that results in real change.” The memo say: “By January 23, 2015: Each agency will identify the Senior Accountable Official (SAO), and career deputy, if applicable, responsible for ensuring the agency' s commitment to improving employee engagement.” And it sets a goal of increasing employee engagement to 67 percent next year. The Business of Government Radio Show: Conversation with TJ Kennedy, Acting Executive Director, First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet), U.S. Department of Commerce. What are the strategic priorities for FirstNet? How is FirstNet pursuing its outreach strategy with key stakeholders? What is FirstNet doing to use collaboration and partnership to meet mission? Join host Michael Keegan as he explores these questions and more with TJ Kennedy, Acting General Manager, First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet), U.S. Department of Commerce. Broadcast Schedule: The show airs Monday at 11 a.m., and Wednesday at noon, 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 and by searching our audio archives