Is an Obama administration shake-up coming? Plus the DorobekINSIDER’s 7 Stories

On GovLoop Insights’ DorobekINSIDER:

  • Federal employee job satisfaction plummeted again this year to the lowest levels since OPM began surveying morale in 2002. So, what can be done to buck the trend next year? We get three insights from Tom Fox at the Partnership for Public Service.

But up front:

  • National Journal: An Obama administration shake-up coming? Jonathan Karl reported on ABC's This Week that the president plans to shake up his team, but not right away. David Plouffe, one of the President’s trusted insiders, also noted on ABC, "I think once the Web site gets fixed, and it will, you have to step back and say, OK, what do I need to do to have confidence going forward?" On Monday, former Obama administration spokesman Robert Gibbs, speaking on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, said it's possible that the staff kept President Obama in the dark before the launch about the HealthCare.gov’s problems. "There's not exactly a rush to get into the Oval Office and tell the boss," he said.

  • The Washington Post: The Department of Health and Human Services hired technology contractors without requiring specific performance criteria. The WP says it is customary in the private sector to include benchmarks in technology contracts. “The meaning of success was defined for the first time during the panicky days of October, when White House officials belatedly recognized that the federal exchange had serious software and hardware defects," The Post reported.

  • The Wall Street Journal: Developers of state health-insurance exchanges used an online portal to share technical information with each other and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services as they raced to meet their Oct. 1 deadline. For instance, the Collaborative Application Lifecycle Management Tool helped developers find snippets of existing software code – rather than having to write it themselves from scratch. Since the launch, however, the portal has proven too slow for the fixes required. “Things are under such a tight timeline, that if I need something I call the CIO [of another state exchange],” Peter Nichol, the associate director of IT systems and operations for Connecticut’s exchange, Access Health CT, tells CIO Journal. Which defeats the entire purpose of a wiki.

The SEVEN stories that impact your life

  1. U.S. military leaders have decided to limit servicemembers’ pay along with their housing, education, and health benefits to address the Pentagon’s increasing budget constraints. The Wall Street Journal reports that without these cuts, the costs associated with military personnel would rise from half to 60 percent of the military budget. The details regarding the cuts will be revealed in February when the proposed military budget is released.   

  2. Hackers associated with the group, Anonymous, have reportedly broken into federal government networks over the past year and successfully stolen the personal information of over 100,000 employees, contractors, and family members. Nextgov reports that the hackers accessed the networks of multiple agencies, most notably those of the U.S. Army, NASA, the Missile Command Agency, the Energy Department, and the Health and Human Services Department.  

  3. The U.S. Postal Service is closing out 2013 with an estimated loss of $5 billion. Though a loss, this amount represents a significant improvement over last year’s figures, which represented a $16 billion loss for the organization in 2012. The Government Executive notes that the improvement is due to increased package requests from online orders. The agency’s financial losses, however, are due largely in part to Congress’ refusal to amend the USPS’ health insurance program for retirees.   

  4. HP will be handling the mobile services for the Navy and Marine Corps under its new $3.5 billion Next Generation Enterprise Network (NGEN) contract. Concerns regarding the future viability of Blackberry phones have led HP to consider Apple and Android products for the military. The Federal Times reports that HP thus far has been conducting pilots to evaluate Apple and Android products in anticipation of a transition away from Blackberry devices during the life of its NGEN contract.

  5. Autonomic Resources has become the first and only cloud provider to achieve DOD-wide acceptance under the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) Enterprise Cloud Service Broker catalog. FCW explains that this means that the Autonomic Resources Cloud Platform (ARC-P) adheres to the security requirements of the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) and has met the additional security prerequisites of the Defense Department.

  6. The U.S. Postal Service is attempting to increase business through a new partnership with Staples. The Washington Post reports that USPS centers will be opening in 82 Staples throughout the following five areas: San Francisco, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, San Diego, and Worchester, Massachusetts. These centers will offer most postal products, including stamps, mail services and package delivery and will be operated by outside employees.     

  7. President Obama addressed reporters last week concerning the federal IT procurement process. FCW notes that during the press conference, the president stated that he was not made aware of the pre-launch problems associated with Healthcare.gov before its release on October 1. He also blamed the federal IT procurement process for many of the website’s complications, arguing that IT procurement policies are an area in need of reform.

DorobekINSIDER water-cooler fodder

  • The Wall Street Journal: Body Sensors Measure Impact of Blasts on Soldiers: New military devices aim to detect head trauma and other injuries that may not be obvious  

  • Kids aren’t reliable tech predictors. We all tend to assume that young people are on the technological vanguard, knowing what “the next big thing” will be. But they are often wrong, writes the WSJ’s Farhad Manjoo. Sure, youth is associated with cultural flexibility and a willingness to try new things. But young people are also known for their immaturity, and a deference to peer pressure even at the cost of common sense. Though 20-something tech founders like Mark  Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates get a lot of ink, they are unusual. A recent study by the VC firm Cowboy Ventures found that among tech startups that have earned a valuation of at least $1 billion since 2003, the average founder’s age was 34. “The twentysomething inexperienced founder is an outlier, not the norm,” wrote Cowboy’s founder Aileen Lee.

  • The Hill oped: Judd Gregg: Impact of shutdown lingers

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