Shows & Panels
- The 2014 Big Picture on Cyber Security
- AFCEA Answers
- Ask the CIO
- Building the Hybrid Cloud
- Connected Government: How to Build and Procure Network Services for the Future
- Continuing Diagnostics and Mitigation: Discussion of Progress and Next Steps
- Federal Executive Forum
- Federal Tech Talk
- The Future of Government Data Centers
- The Future of IT: How CIOs Can Enable the Service-Oriented Enterprise
- Government Perspectives on Mobility and the Cloud
- The Intersection: Where Technology Meets Transformation
- Maximizing ROI Through Data Center Consolidation
- Mitigating Insider Threats in Virtual & Cloud Environments
- Modern Mission Critical Series
- Moving to the Cloud. What's the best approach for me
- Navigating Tough Choices in Government Cloud Computing
- The New Generation of Database
- Reimagining the Next Generation of Government
- Satellite Communications: Acquiring SATCOM in Tight Times
- Targeting Advanced Threats: Proven Methods from Detection through Remediation
- Transformative Technology: Desktop Virtualization in Government
- The Truth About IT Opex and Software Defined Networking
- Value of Health IT
- Air Traffic Management Transformation Report
- Cloud First Report
- General Dynamics IT Enterprise Center
- Gov Cloud Minute
- Government in Technology Series
- Homeland Security Cybersecurity Market Report
- National Cybersecurity Awareness Month
- Technology Insights
- The Cyber Security Report
- The Next Generation Cyber Security Experts
Shows & Panels
Life in the SES: Star track or Star Trek?
Wednesday - 3/7/2012, 2:00am EST
Over the past couple of weeks, a number of politicians, think tanks and good-government groups have blasted/ridiculed members of the career Senior Executive Service because roughly half of them have been in the same job or agency since they joined the elite SES.
Say what? Excuse me! Come again.
The congressman who launched the drive against calcified career executives has served 10 terms and is running again for reelection. He wants to continue to represent the same congressional district, in the same city and the same state he has served for most of his adult life. Not that there is anything wrong with that! With all due respect, he has probably been parking in the same space on Capitol Hill for 20 years. A change vehicle he ain't!
Thanks to gerrymandering, many members of the House of Representatives — once elected — have jobs for life. Their districts have been drawn so that they can't lose. In the past, some politicians have even been reelected while in prison. Or after they died.
Think tankers, reporters, politicians and commentators who have jumped on or launched the shake-up-the-SES bandwagon may well have a little moss on their backsides too. (The last time I did anything different and daring was around 11 years ago. I can't exactly remember what it was, save that it was innovative and for the good of mankind. Also I needed a change.)
The knock is that of the 7,000-plus members of the SES, only about half have changed jobs or agencies since moving up. The SES was the jewel in the crown of what was arguably the biggest achievement of the Carter administration: Civil Service Reform. Among other things, it eliminated Grades 16, 17 and 18 and replaced them with the SES, which was supposed to produce super- executives who were mobile and motivated by a higher-risk system that rewarded the best and weeded out persons unable to leap tall buildings in a single bound. So how's that working out in your agency?
Mobility is great. Learning new things is great. Change is great. Unless ...
The upwardly mobile executive becomes the agency's whirling dervish, always on the move, sometimes blocking other people's careers by being given what are temporary assignments — blocking others' career progression — so they can punch a ticket and fill in a resume blank. Ask the military — or State Department types — how that goes. And those who suffer when the anointed ones are being pushed up the ladder via a series of temporary assignments where they learn just enough to be dangerous.
It has been a couple of weeks since the SES "improvement" campaign was launched. We covered it in depth. So have others. Here's a thought: Next time you hear someone complaining about government executives being stuck in a rut, look who's talking!
To reach me, email@example.com
NEARLY USELESS FACTOID
By Jack Moore
Americans are more likely to believe in Bigfoot than Canadians are, according to a new public opinion poll. In the survey, 29 percent of U.S. respondents said they thought the existence of Bigfoot is "definitely" or "probably" real compared to 21 percent of Canadians.
MORE FROM FEDERAL NEWS RADIO
TSP funds post positive numbers in
Thrift Savings Plan figures continued to climb in the early months of 2012, as all funds posted positive numbers for the month of February and for the year.
discrimination top of mind for military women
The Pentagon recently announced it would open up 14,000 combat positions to female troops. While women in uniform say the decision will lend "legitimacy" to the frontline roles they already fill, they say job discrimination pales in comparison to the difficulty of raising a family while serving.
'special' delivery really means
Mike Causey's earlier life included sharing office space with an outdoor editor allergic to sun and a garden editor always willing to help a woman whose husband's tuber was drooping.