Dave Wennegren Retires from DOD – Plus the DorobekINSIDER’s 7 Stories

On GovLoop Insights’ DorobekINSIDER:

But up front: Dave Wennergren: Simply one of the best

It was long expected, but it is still disheartening: One of the federal government’s best and brightest, Dave Winnergren, has announced that he is retiring after a long and distinguished service.

As Federal News Radio says, Wennergren most recently served as the  assistant deputy chief management officer for the Defense Department. He will leave in August, according to an email announcing a going away party for him Aug. 

But Wennergren has served in an host of positions, including the Department of Navy chief information, the DoD deputy CIO and director of the Business Transformation Agency. He also was vice chairman of the CIO Council for five years.

What the resume doesn’t fully capture is the outstanding leader that Wennergren actually has been during his tenure... at whatever level.

Back at Federal Computer Week, Wennergren helped lead the judging panel for the Federal 100 Awards. In fact, he has been so remarkable in that job that he has continued to work with FCW.

And Winnergren is a wonderful thinker -- but he has also been somebody who believes that the real power of information comes when it is shared. And it was Wennergren’s love of thoughtful books that spurred me to create the DorobekINSIDER Book Club -- and, further, he joined me and Stephen M.R. Covey to discuss Covey’s book  The SPEED of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything.

Wennergren has won just about every award that one can win... and they are all well deserved.

He is passionate about technology... and government... but he is mostly passionate about people... and the power of people making a difference.

Anybody who thinks it is easy to be a government executive... a leader... well, those are people who most likely haven’t been either. Wennergren is both. The people of this country should be proud that somebody of his stature dedicated his life to the work of government -- to making the government better.

His departure is a big loss and those shoes will be difficult to fill.

That being said, we can’t wait to see what he does next.

Congratulations Dave... and good luck.

Other top stories:

  • Fall Shutdown showdown looms over ObamaCare(The Hill)

  • House GOP budget plan collapsing (Politico): Like an army that’s outrun its supply line, the Republican budget strategy in Congress shows almost daily signs of coming apart.

  • McAfee revises cost of cybercrime 10-fold, but for CIOs, the cost remains the same (The Wall Street Journal

  • Deltek:Contractors more pessimistic about future of IT budget (The Washington Post) 


The SEVEN stories that impact your life

  1. Pentagon headquarter staff could be cut by 20 percent under a plan being floated by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. Federal Times reports that the move could require major restructuring, new information technology investments, layoffs, and other major moves over the next six years. According to Federal Times, the reductions would save between $1.5 billion and $2 billion and would begin in 2015. This year the DOD furloughed about 650,000 civilian workers for 11 days to save $1.8 billion and meet sequester-related budget cuts.

  2. Meanwhile, former Pentagon policy chief Michele Flournoy asserts that the Pentagon should instill a more cost-conscious culture by removing incentives for program managers to spend their budgets by the end of the fiscal year. Federal Times reports that Flournoy told attendees at the National Contract Management Association conference taking place in Nashville, TN, “Today's system essentially penalizes anyone who does not spend every last dime of their budget by the end of the fiscal year.” Further, she asserts that managers know that if they don’t spend their remaining budgets, then Congress is likely to cut program spending the following year.

  3. First came furloughs. Now come the appeals -- and a flood of them. The Merit System Protection Board (MSPB) typically only sees about 7,000 cases per year; however, this year they have already received about 3,000 furlough-related appeals, with more cases to be expected soon. Federal Times reports that the agency is already seeking to consolidate cases where possible, but the deluge of appeals could slow overall decision times. The agency consists of a 200-person staff and is charged with hearing challenges of adverse personnel actions.

  4. It appears that liberal groups, similar to their conservative counterparts, were subject to harsh investigations by the IRS. According to a POLITICO investigation, the IRS requested that many liberal organizations produce copies of web pages, actions alerts, and written materials from all of their events. However, they did find that these types of harsh investigations were more rare and less invasive among liberal organizations than conservative groups, contributing to the growing scandal.

  5. Civilian participation in federal employees’ retirement investment plans has dropped to its lowest point over the past year. According to Government Executive, the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board, the agency that administers the Thrift Savings Plan, suggests that a combination of furloughs and unstable markets is responsible for the decline. As participation fell, more enrollees have moved their investments to safer funds, such as the G Fund, which invests in government securities.

  6. The House chief administrative office (CAO) warns Capitol Hill staffers that information stored in the breached iConstituent system should be considered compromised after a hacker attacked the email newsletter service. The Hill reports that CAO expects future disclosures of information, including account names, address, and email addresses of contacts and distribution lists. Last week, the hacker group Anonymous claimed that it posted the email addresses and alleged passwords of House and Senate staffers; however, this information proved to be expired login information for iConstituent.
  7. The U.S. military academies will be feeling the sequestration in the coming year as leaders have to cancel classes and programs due to civilian professors being furloughed. According to Defense One, the U.S. Naval Academy will cancel classes on some Fridays due to furloughed civilian professors, while the Air Force Academy and Army’s Military Academy will offer less training, fewer upgrades, and cancelled programs. University officials claim this will result in a fraction of the college experience typically provided to future military offivers.

DorobekINSIDER water-cooler fodder

  • Wired’s Threat Level: The Secret Service Agent Who Collared Cybercrooks by Selling Them Fake IDs: Kevin Poulsen's back with a tale of how the Secret Service got into the fake ID biz to capture cyber thieves

  • The legal headaches of the hackathon: Government has embraced hackathons as a way to quickly develop new technology, but Wired reports that some companies -- and participants -- are thinking about the legal issues. “The playful and collaborative nature of hackathon events is often reflected in short, boilerplate, and/or vague participant agreements,” write Wired’s Scott Popma and Scott Allen. Many agreements leave participants open to legal disputes should something go wrong after the technology is adopted. Likewise, organizations need to define the use of open source software should a winning entry use open source code with strict usage rules.  

  • Why does summer make us lazy?The New Yorker on humidity, productivity, and the link between sunshine and happiness 

And finally...

My good friend, Sam Dunkle, will be a junior at Columbia this year, and who has been staying with us this summer as he interns at the Center for American Progress. Sam repeatedly gives me hope for this country -- he is, quite simply, one of the most remarkable people that I have the pleasure of knowing. (If you are looking to hire the best and the brightest, get to know Sam.)


Today, he penned a piece for CAP's Think Progress on the military sexual assault problem: 6 Reasons Why The Military Sexual Assault Problem Is Worse Than You Think.

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