Countdown: IT reform, DoD funding and 'Treasure Cheese'

Friday - 12/10/2010, 12:37pm EST

Federal News Countdown

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On this week's Federal News Countdown:
--Dan Chenok, Senior Fellow, IBM Center on The Business of Government
--Alan Chvotkin, Professional Services Council

Dan Chenok's stories
#3 FTC Staff Issues Privacy Report
From the Federal Trade Commission:

[The FTC] issued a preliminary staff report today that proposes a framework to balance the privacy interests of consumers with innovation that relies on consumer information to develop beneficial new products and services. The proposed report also suggests implementation of a "Do Not Track" mechanism - likely a persistent setting on consumers' browsers - so consumers can choose whether to allow the collection of data regarding their online searching and browsing activities.

#2 Viewpoint: Happy Birthday, Open Government Directive
From NextGov:

One year ago, President Obama kicked off a bold experiment in making the federal government more open and participatory. The administration's Open Government Directive required federal agencies to tell the public how they will become more transparent, participatory and collaborative.

During the past year, agencies have made significant progress toward these goals, but there is still a long road ahead. They will need additional support and direction from the administration to become more accountable to the public. But we believe the process Obama set in motion can be a transformative one.

#1 OMB plans 25-point IT reform
From Federal News Radio:

Over the next six months, all major technology programs must have a dedicated and full-time experienced program manager and an integrated program team, which includes finance, acquisition, business and legal experts.

If not, the Office of Management and Budget will not approve funding for large IT programs.

This is one of 25 major IT reforms Vivek Kundra, the federal chief information officer, and Jeff Zients, OMB's deputy director for management, announced the progress on the 26 high-risk projects that the government has missed too many opportunities to use technology to save money and improve efficiency, productivity and customer service.

Alan Chvotkin stories
#3 Pentagon's Purchasers Get Their Own Video Games
From Wired:

The cartoon rat submerged in a fishtank? He's here to up your game at buying stuff for the military. Just have him hook-shot his hunk of cheese into the right treasure chest to make sure his supervisors and colleagues are adequately briefed on the costs and timeframe for his project.

"Treasure Cheese" is one of 13 extremely bureaucratic computer games that the Defense Department's acquisition team rolled out last week to hone bean-counters' skills at budgeting, finance, congressional compliance and stopping fraud. The effort is in keeping with occasional attempts at using formats like science fiction to spruce up a pretty dry subject.

So far, the skills being tested are pretty basic. Some are as simple as memorizing statutes. In "Procurement Fraud Indicators," you've got to determine what's wrong with a lieutenant colonel limiting a solicitation for a contract to fix an Army base so his son-in-law could win. (If you said "Excluding Qualified Bidders," you're correct!)

#2 Agencies: Don't fear talks with contractors
From Federal Computer Week:

Government acquisition employees must get over the fear of talking to companies, and instead begin interacting with private-sector contractors, the Obama administration's top procurement policy official said this morning.

...

Procurement officials are timid about working with companies because they fear it could lead to protests against an agency's contracting process or even a contract's award, said Gordon and Vivek Kundra, federal CIO. Procurement officials fear that a losing company could allege the winner had an unfair advantage because of a discussion with a contracting officer or program management official about the procurement's proposal.

#1 DoD contractors facing 'grim realities'
From Federal News Radio:

Defense contractors, investors and senior DOD leaders gathered last week for the annual Credit Suisse/Aviation Week conference in a harsh economic climate.

But Jim McAleese of McAleese and Associates told Federal News Radio participants found some comfort despite new questions about DOD priorities and how much defense the nation can afford.