Friday, January 23, 2015
The IBM Center's Weekly Round Up highlights articles and insights that we found interesting for the week ending January 23.

The Rise of Shadow IT. According to Government Computer News, “Nearly three-quarters of IT security professionals are unaware of the amount of “shadow IT” within their organizations, according to a recent survey by the Cloud Security Alliance. . . . Shadow IT, according to CSA, is technology spending and implementation that occurs outside the IT department, including cloud apps adopted by individual employees, teams and business units.” Employees do this because of perceived poor support from their IT departments, but doing this risks opening their agencies’ networks to hacking and other vulnerabilities. FITARA Implementation Underway. The Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act was signed by President Obama in December and there is mixed reaction within the IT community about its implementation. However, Jason Miller, Federal News Radio, reports that “the Chief Information Officer's Council held a meeting last week to discuss the bill and ensure there is consistent implementation across the government.” Crowdfunding Science. Over the years, government-funded research has dropped from two-thirds of total R&D spending to one-third. In response, writes Ariana Eunjung Cha, Washington Post, scientists have turned to crowdfunding their research via the web using sites such as Kickstarter and TED talks. Performance-Based Approach Matters. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report on the Department of Transportation’s efforts to better link its $50 billion in highway and transportation funding to states, to the performance of overall national goals for improving the transportation system. GAO reports progress, but some states have less than half the data needed to effectively measure traffic congestion, etc. Defense Headquarters Staffing. Former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel directed 20-percent cuts in headquarters staff, starting with his own. GAO reports on the growth of headquarters staffs over the past two decades (e.g., Army headquarters increased 60 percent since 2001) and concludes that in reduction efforts, Defense just reclassifies personnel as non-headquarters, but does not have “a systematic requirements determination process” in place to actually reduce headquarters. GAO recommends a better process. Michael J. Keegan VA seeks Army Corps of Engineers' help after construction failures. VA will seek at least $1.1 billion from Congress to rescue a Denver hospital project that was supposed to cost $600 million. The final price tag won't be known for several more months. VA also asked the Army Corps to conduct a complete examination of its major construction programs across the country. Patent and Trademark Office sets long-term agenda. The Patent and Trademark Office can plot a long-term strategy for the first time, thanks to newfound financial security, said Deputy Director Michelle Lee. OMB gives agencies deadline to set up digital services teams. Multiple sources in the federal technology community confirmed the while the IT passback was mostly humdrum, there was one significant policy decision. By Oct. 1, OMB is instructing agencies to set up their own digital services group modeled after those at the General Services Administration under 18F and the Veterans Affairs Department. Multiple federal officials, all of whom requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the IT passback, confirmed OMB is requiring agencies to spend a percentage of their IT budget on their new digital services office. Sources say each agency's percentage is different based on their overall IT budget. IG details fundamental flaws in IT acquisition. It's no secret that failed to work as advertised when it launched in October 2013. The site's high-profile flop is cited as part of the recruiting pitch for the government's high-tech rescue squad, the U.S. Digital Service. Behind the over-stressed, crash-prone website was a rushed procurement strategy that failed to yield meaningful competition, faulty and undocumented acquisition planning, a lack of controls and coordination over contractors, and contracting methods that increased the risk of cost overruns, according to a new report from the Office of the Inspector General at the Department of Health and Human Services. The Business of Government Radio Show: Conversation with Dr. Karen DeSalvo, National Coordinator for Health IT & Acting Assistant Secretary for Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services What is health information technology? How can it transform the practice of healthcare? What is happening to facilitate the adoption and use of Health IT? Join host Michael Keegan as he explores these questions and more. 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