I’m Christopher Dorobek — the DorobekINSIDER — and welcome to GovLoop Insights Issue of the Week with Chris Dorobek… the first week of October — happy new fiscal year. And we’re glad you’re with us.
Each week, our goal is to look at an issue — a person — an idea — that helped define the past 7-days but we also work to find a topic that also will have an impact on the days, weeks and months ahead. And as always, we focus on six words: “helping you do your job better.”
And the autumn is always a busy time of year — and this week was no exception.
One week into the new fiscal year, the President this week signed into law a continuing resolution keeping the federal government funded until Nov. 18. The hope is that will give lawmakers until then to work out a more permanent spending plan for fiscal 2012. Even that may not be enough time. Politico notes that the House has only passed six of the 12 annual spending bills; the Senate has only passed one.
We all know that these are intense budget times — EVERY program is getting a second look. There were a few stories about that topic this week.
The Government Accountability Office, known for rooting out waste, fraud and abuse, could be facing budget cuts. The Washington Post reports that GAO stands to lose up to $50 million in funding this year. It’s defenders say would force widespread layoffs and the closure of its regional offices.
And Challenge.gov, the innovative site that pulls together government prize award challenges in one place — may face an uncertain future. FedScoop reports that while Challenge.gov is not specifically on the chopping block, the e-gov fund has seen a huge cut going from 34-million to 8-million. Dave McClure, the associate administrator of the General Services Administration’s Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technology, said there is a lot of uncertainty going forward.
Meanwhile, we are getting a idea of what feds think of where they work. The Office of Personnel Management released the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey tabulating data from more than 200,000 feds. In terms of rankings, the The Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which always does well, tops the list again this year.
And a few security items this week. In cyber-security, despite a concerted effort to focus on the problem, a GAO report this week says not nearly enough progress has been made.
Late in the week, the White House issued an executive order on computer security to prevent breaches of the sort that occurred with the release last year of hundreds of thousands of classified documents to the Web site WikiLeaks. The order, coinciding with National Cybersecurity Month, replaces an outdated policy predating the Obama administration and caps a seven-month review of procedures for handling classified information.
And do you have a security clearance? The most recent numbers show that the number of people holding security clearances for access to classified information last year exceeded 4.2 million — far more than previously estimated. Secrecy News says a new intelligence community report to Congress (pdf) provides the first precise tally of clearances held by federal employees and contractors that has ever been produced. The total figure as of last October 1 was 4,266,091 cleared persons.
Finally — a just fascinating story this week that isn’t specifically government related but sure has impact on government. A report in the Wall Street Journal says that many executives can’t make full use of technologies that are suppose to give them better insights into their businesses. Why? They don’t know what to make of the data.
But our story of the week is more essoteric. One of the big events this week was a curious juxtaposition. Earlier this week, Apple released its latest iPhone — the iPhone 4S. Most of the changes are inside the device — a better chip, better camera, new operating system, the iCloud so you can store music and photos across devices and a voice enabled assistant. The day after that announcement, Apple’s icon, Steve Jobs, passed away.
Last year, Fortune magazine billed Steve Jobs as the CEO of the decade and there have been many stories about the lessons we can learn from him. And there are impacts on government.
Joining us on the podcast in what will probably be part assessment, part appreciation is Tony Romm, he is a technology reporter for Politico and Politico Pro.
In there interview Tony really hits on how Apple’s success as a consumer brand really forced the government to think about the adoption of new technology in ways they really had never thought about before. We also discuss how Washington and the federal sector are starting to shift away from the blackberry world and gravitating towards apple devices.
That brings us to the BIG question: What impact did Steve Jobs have on government? on Government Technology?
It’s GovLoop — so we’d love to get your thoughts.