Friday, July 7, 2017
The IBM Center's Weekly Roundup highlights articles and insights that we found interesting for the week ending July 7, 2017.

Michael J. Keegan

Lawmakers press on Census finances and leadership Congressional watchdogs from both sides of the aisle are concerned about finances at the Census Bureau and want to see an updated cost estimate to reflect potential cost overruns. The bureau is undertaking a wide-ranging modernization of its technology and methodology with the goal of saving about $5 billion on the 2020 census, compared to repeating the 2010 approach.

GSA 'grossly mismanaged' TTS, special counsel says The office that examines federal agency whistleblower complaints found the General Services Administration "grossly mismanaged its Technology Transformation Service," backing a complaint filed by one of its top acquisition officials. In a July 6 report to the GSA, the White House and Congress, the Office of Special Counsel said the GSA's response to a whistleblower complaint by GSA Federal Acquisition Service Commissioner Tom Sharpe was unreasonable.

DOD CIO explains FITARA fail In June, the Department of Defense ended the school year with an "F+" on the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act's Scorecard 4.0 – a mark the DOD's CIO says the department is taking steps to boost. Lawmakers chided the DOD for its grade – the lowest of the 24 agencies measured – which dropped from a D+ in December 2016. Representatives decried the "F" scores DOD received in three of the four measured areas: transparency, CIO authority and data center optimization.

A Fourth of July shout-out to civil servants Steve Kelman shares a personal exchange that argues against the lazy bureaucrats stereotype.

John Kamensky


Evidence-Based.  The non-profit, Results for America, releases its 9-point plan of ways Congress can “harness the power of data and evidence to solve our nation’s greatest challenges.” The plan offers specific actions such as setting aside a percentage of agency funding to support the conduct of program evaluations to determine if agency programs work!

Myth-Busting.  Government Executive reports on a finding from a study of a new federal grant program that grants expedited waivers to grant recipients so they can coordinate disparate programs.  The finding: “Federal agencies can unleash creative new approaches simply by myth busting, meaning working with states and localities to correct misunderstandings about the flexibility they already have when using federal funds.”

Using AI. Federal Times reports results of a recent survey of citizen preferences about ‘the voice of a digital assistant used by a government agency. The results indicated the residents’ strong opinions.”

What’s Next for Fed Spend.  FCW reports on progress implementing the DATA Act, with a fairly technical piece on data standardization that has important implications for financial transparency – with hopes for checkbook-level reporting some day.

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Next Week’s The Business of Government Radio Show: Brenda Smith, Executive Assistant Commissioner, Office of Trade, U.S. Customs and Border ProtectionWhat is the US Customs and Border Protection's national strategy to facilitate legitimate trade? How is CBP strengthening comprehensive trade enforcement? What are the biggest disruptions coming to trade? Join host Michael Keegan on The Business of Government Hour as he explores these questions and so much more with Brenda Smith, Executive Assistant Commissioner, Office of Trade, U.S. Customs and Border Protection. 

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

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