Friday, March 10, 2017
The IBM Center's Weekly Roundup highlights articles and insights that we found interesting for the week ending March 10, 2017.

John Kamensky

Kickstarting Data-Driven Government.  Stephen Goldsmith and Katherine Hillenbrand write in Governing that cities are increasingly making data-driven decisions but need help.  They write: “advice is provided by What Works Cities (WWC), a Bloomberg Philanthropies initiative to help mid-sized cities leverage the power of data and evidence . . . . By working with 100 mid-sized cities in varying stages of their data journeys, the Johns Hopkins' Center for Government Excellence (GovEx), one of the WWC partners, is helping them build capacity for more advanced analytics. And for a small group of qualifying cities, GovEx is piloting an Analytics Kick Start service to identify those that are ready to complete an advanced project and sustain an advanced analytics program.”

Fraud Fighting.  Government Executive writes: “The Fraud Reduction and Data Analytics Act, signed into law in June 2016, requires the Office of Management and Budget to set guidelines for agency identification and assessment of fraud risks and the design and implementation of controls to prevent them. These guidelines must incorporate the leading practices in the Government Accountability Office’s Framework for Managing Fraud Risks in Federal Programs. The act also requires OMB to lead interagency coordination among agencies to share and promote best practices in the law’s implementation. . . . Agencies are grappling with the practicalities of implementation of the new law.”

IGs Drowning in Data.  Federal Times reports: “Speaking at the Nuix Government Thought Leadership Summit on March 7, investigators from DoD and the departments of Transportation and Energy talked about the challenges their offices face in parsing through an increasingly massive collection of data generated by the agencies to solve their cases.”

Innovation Heroes. In a Government Executive op-ed, Jeff Press and John  Malgeri tell the stories of five unsung federal employees who are making a difference.  They write: “Federal employees across the country are developing new vaccines, working to end homelessness, and serving the American people in countless other ways. You will never meet most of them, but we’ll introduce you to five who innovate, not because they have to, but because they have a deep sense of obligation to do so.”

Pioneers vs. Guardians.  Federal News Radio op-ed by Michael Whitaker looks at the recent GSA Inspector General’s report on 18F through the lens of an article in the current issue of Harvard Business Review on “team chemistry.”

Michael J. Keegan

IGs: budget cuts could put cybersecurity at risk. Inspectors general fear that budget cuts could force agencies to choose between spending on program operations and cybersecurity.

Can IGs and agencies agree to a code of conduct? Steve Kelman argues "The Art of the Deal" offers a possible path to more constructive oversight.

2017 defense bill advances. Congress is inching closer to writing a $578 billion check to the Department of Defense for its fiscal year 2017 budget, as the House Appropriations Committee has introduced the final 2017 Defense Appropriations bill. The funding measure will go to the House floor the week of March 6. The total amount includes $516 billion in baseline spending and $61.8 billion in Overseas Contingency Operation funds. Of the $578 total, $72.7 billion will go to R&D and $117.8 billion to procurement.

Lawmakers attack official time through retirement, bonuses. Two lawmakers have introduced legislation that would leverage pensions and benefits in an effort to reign in use of official time and has resulted in hours of debate and a deeper divide over the subject of unions.

VA accountability bill, temporary Choice extension clear first congressional hurdles.If the 114th Congress was about dissecting the Veterans Affairs Department’s challenges, then the 115th Congress will act quickly to solve them, leadership on the House Veterans Affairs Committee said. The committee easily approved two significant pieces of legislation at a March 8 markup: one that gives the VA secretary the authority to fire, demote or suspend employees for misconduct or poor performance more quickly, and another that temporarily reauthorizes the Veterans Choice Program past its upcoming Aug. 7 sunset date. The VA Accountability First Act, which committee Chairman Phil Roe (R-Tenn.) introduced last week, earned praise from Secretary David Shulkin himself.

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 This Week’s The Business of Government Radio Show.  How can risk management strategies reduce operational risk? How has the US Department of Labor employed risk management strategies to reduce improper payments in its Unemployment Insurance program? Join Michael Keegan next week as he explores these questions and more with Prof Justin Bullock, co-author of the IBM Center report, Risk Management and Reducing Improper Payments: A Case Study of the U.S. Department of Labor. 

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