The government IT hammer, nuclear floppy disks – Plus the 7 Stories

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But up front: The government IT hammer -- nuclear floppy disks

People often poke fun at government technology -- often unfairly. That being said, if you were one of the more than 10 million viewers watching 60 Minutes on Sunday, your view of government technology consists of a old school floppy disk. And even worse, those disks are used for nuclear weapons.

  

The 60 Minutes piece, Who's minding the nukes? correspondent Lesley Stahl was given access inside an American nuclear control center and meets the young airmen who watch over some of the world’s deadliest weapons.

 

There were several interesting take-aways. One was the technology that is used in the nuclear weapon bunker -- imagine old style floppy disks.  But there was also an interesting discussion about how to get people to want to be “missileers.”

 

From the program: “The former missileers told us that the missile corps has long been treated like the step-child of the Air Force. Pilots get all the glory; missileers have fewer chances for advancement.”

 

The SEVEN stories that impact your life

  1. NextGov: The Data Act Is About to Shake Up Federal Operations - “The Digital Accountability and Transparency Act, or DATA Act, will mandate uniform coding for federal spending, so federal officials, lawmakers and watchdogs can track particular types of spending from one agency to another. The legislation, which was modeled on spending transparency measures implemented with president Obama’s 2009 stimulus bill, will also give federal contractors and grantees a single portal to report how they’re spending taxpayer money.”

  2. Federal News Radio: GSA Names Ombudsman to Give Industry a Louder Voice - “A new procurement ombudsman aims to close the communications gap between the General Services Administration and its vendors. The ombudsman, Millisa Gary, is one of several ways GSA is trying to be more responsive to its government and industry customers.”

  3. Defense News: Takai to Leave Pentagon CIO Post - “Defense Department CIO Teri Takai is set to step down in the coming days, according to Pentagon officials.”

  4. New York Times: Administration Begins Search for New Contractors to Run Health Care Site - “Federal officials said Monday that they intended to hold a new competition before awarding a contract and that they were particularly interested in responses from small businesses owned by women, disabled veterans and ‘socially and economically disadvantaged individuals,’ including blacks and Hispanic Americans.”

  5. GovExec: TSP Told to Tighten Security at Data Centers - “The Labor Department and accounting firm KPMG found certain lapses related to obtaining physical access to facilities that house Thrift Savings Plan information and technology systems. Specifically, the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board, which administers the 401(k)-type account for federal employees, did not provide evidence of management authorization for individuals with access to the primary and alternate data centers during the audit, and auditors found that one individual out of 25 with physical access to the TSP’s alternate data center retained that access after separation.”

  6. GovExec: Improving Training at Your Agency Just Got a Lot Easier - “The Office of Personnel Management has partnered with the General Services Administration to create a contract vehicle that will ease the process for agencies to hire private companies for HR consulting. While OPM and GSA are still finalizing the details of the arrangement, a memorandum of understanding signed Monday spelled out a system that eases agencies away from the acquisition process for their human capital needs.”

  7. Federal Times: Report: Agency IT Efforts Leaving Billions on the Table - “Agencies could save billions of dollars above current efforts though five of their IT initiatives, according to a new study released April 28. By making the most of consolidation, virtualization, cloud computing, remote access, and infrastructure diversification, federal network managers believe they could save about 24 percent of their IT budgets, or $19.7 billion annually. That’s more than double current savings estimates.”

 

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  • Get in a car accident with a fed? It's probably his fault [Washington Business Journal] From fiscal 2008 through 2012, vehicles leased by the General Services Administration for use by federal agencies traveled about 9.7 billion miles and were involved in about 37,000 accidents, according to a report from the Government Accountability Office. More interesting still? The government was at fault in about 62 percent of those — or nearly 23,000 accidents.  Of the total number of accidents that were the fault of federal drivers, the vast majority — 21,385 — were collisions with other vehicles. After that, federal drivers were most likely to strike stationary objects or run off the road. For those wondering, federal vehicles struck a total of 68 animals and 41 pedestrians in those four years.

  • Putin Calls Internet a 'C.I.A. Project' [UK’s Guardian]: After carving off parts of Ukraine, will the Russian president make a play to break up the Internet?

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