Friday, February 22, 2019
Articles from across the Web that we at the IBM Center for The Business of Government found interesting for the week of February 18-22, 2019.

John Kamensky

Show Your Work. NextGov reports: “Acting OPM Director Margaret Weichert—who was instrumental in developing the management agenda in her role as deputy director of management at the Office of Management and Budget—issued a memo last week directing agencies to prepare for the upcoming Human Capital Review, a new annual, data-based audit of agencies’ progress on major personnel initiatives.”

Mining Nuggets. Federal News Network reports: “Now that another shutdown has been avoided, and agencies and contractors can get back to the real work of government, it’s time to dig deep into the fiscal 2019 omnibus spending bill for technology nuggets. . . . Like any worthwhile mining operation, it may be some time until we really know what we have, but at first glance, there’s a lot of gold in them thar’ hills.”

NSF’s Reskilling Competition.  Federal News Network reports: “NSF’s Career Compass Challenge, which the agency launched back in November, will soon solicit for prototypes that NSF — and later all of government — can use to match existing federal employees and their skills to other kinds of work. . . . . The goal is to get the federal workforce, industry, academia and others thinking about “the future of work that’s different than the way federal employees currently think about their work,” Dorothy Aronson, NSF’s chief information officer, said in a recent interview with Federal News Network.”

New Contracting Research Center.  Federal News Network reports: “George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia officially kicked off the Center for Government Contracting to fill an academic and research void. . . . “  Center executive director Jerry McGinn said: “the center wants to attract both government and industry acquisition workers and make it easy for them to work in a neutral, third-party setting.”

Create a Space for Innovation.  “FCW recently gathered a group of IT leaders from across government to talk about the obstacles they're encountering and how they've addressed them. The discussion was on the record but not for individual attribution (see below for a full list of participants), and the quotes have been edited for length and clarity.”  Click here to see what the group had to say.

Debt Limits: The Story.  The Congressional Research Service issued a report that: “explains the current House debt limit rule, particularly in relation to the former Gephardt rule. Then, it describes the legislative history of the former rule and reviews how the former rule operated before it was repealed at the beginning of the 112th Congress.”

VA Appeals Modernization in Action. Military Times reports: “VA officials have officially switched their benefits appeals process to a new system that promises more clarity and quicker decisions for the 1-million-plus cases handled by the department annually.”

Michael Keegan

DHS looks to overhaul data centers, move to cloud. The Department of Homeland Security is looking for industry advice about how to best consolidate its two main enterprise computing data centers and modernize with a more cloud-based infrastructure.

Why Kessel Run is such a big deal. Steve Kelman believes an impressive revolution is brewing in Air Force IT development management.

VA appeals modernization launch shows ‘government working well,’ agency says. The Department of Veterans Affairs said it’s ready for the launch of its new appeals modernization program, which officially started Tuesday after a year-long pilot.

Use of online Social Security accounts is changing.  As the number of online Social Security users has shot up, the percentage of users who access their statements online has plummeted.

White House science chief on AI researchers. Kelvin Droegemeier, new head of the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy speaking Friday at the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington, said the U.S. doesn’t have a clear headcount of how many researchers and institutions are actually working on AI across the government, the private sector and non-profit sectors, and academia. “What assets does the federal government have access to … that could be deployed in a way that would really supercharge that artificial intelligence R&D system? The answer is we don’t really have a clue. Those are very, very tough questions,” Droegemeier said. Part of the problem, he added, is that the portfolio of AI-related fields covers everything from computer science and applied mathematics to industrial engineering, psychology and ethics.

Next Week on The Business of Government Hour: Conversations with Avi Bender, Director,  National Technical Information Service (NTIS). How is the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Technical Information Service (NTIS) helping to advance federal data priorities? How does it work with the private sector to develop new and improved data products and services? What does NTIS do to deliver value to federal agencies? Join host Michael Keegan as he explores these questions and more with, Avi Bender, Director of NTIS. That’s next week on The Business of Government.

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