Shows & Panels
- The 2014 Big Picture on Cyber Security
- AFCEA Answers
- Ask the CIO
- Connected Government
- Consolidating Mission-critical Systems
- Constituent Servicing
- Continuous Monitoring: Tools and Techniques for Trustworthy Government IT
- The Data Privacy Imperative: Safeguarding Sensitive Data
- Eliminating the Pitfalls: Steps to Virtualization in Government
- Federal Executive Forum
- Federal Tech Talk
- Government Cloud Brokerage: Who, What, When, Where, Why?
- Government Mobility
- Mission-critical Apps in the Cloud
- Mobile Device Management
- The Modern Federal Threat Landscape
- The Path from Legacy Systems
- Understanding the Intersection of Customer Service and Security in the Cloud
Shows & Panels
Sequestration and Syria
Friday - 9/13/2013, 2:00am EDT
First, they are taxpayers too. If civilians are really as highly paid (or overpaid), as critics contend, it stands to reason they are substantial high-bracket taxpayers too. When feds say I-give-at-the-office, they aren't kidding.
Second, about 26 percent of federal workers are military veterans. So many have been there, done that. Politicians and pundits debate the merits (or not) of "boots on the ground." But for a high percentage of feds, male and female, they've been in those boots.
It is unlikely that any of the major news organizations — from Fox to MSNBC — have a 26 percent veteran workforce. The same for the Congress of the United States. I also would bet that a higher percentage of folks in the federal family either know someone, or have a family member, in uniform.
The laptop warriors and talking heads can debate the pros and cons of boots-on-the-ground. From afar. But for people who've been in those boots, or who have a kid in the Marines, it is skin-in-the-game. Real skin too!
Finally, there is the question of what sequestration has done to the civilian workforce and military readiness. More than 650,000 Defense civilians have been hit by furloughs. The Air Force is running half empty on front-line fighters. The Navy — now deploying in the Mediterranean — earlier couldn't afford to permit aircraft carriers to leave Norfolk for training or replacement.
In a recent piece in The Washington Post, former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said sequestration has weakened "...the U.S. ability to respond effectively to a major crisis in the world beyond the war zone in Afghanistan."
In building the case for a shot-across-the-bow to Syria, lots of people at the CIA, the Pentagon and Homeland Security have been putting in some long hours. Planning for the what if, and then trying to figure out what happens (if whatever happens) leads to bigger problems abroad and maybe at home too.
The White House, which created sequestration (thinking it would never happen), and the Congress, which embraced it and let it happen, are now working "together" on the Syria question.
Let's hope they get it right this time. They are, after all, overdue.
And while they are debating the go-or-no-go question, here's hoping they spend more time genuinely looking at the problem, the options and possible outcomes. And less time figuring out how to blame the opposition party if it goes wrong. Or this is just the beginning of a new problem?
NEARLY USELESS FACTOID
Compiled by Jack Moore
The Ugly Animal Preservation Society has named a new mascot: the blobfish. "For too long the cute and fluffy animals have taken the limelight but now the blobfish will be a voice for the mingers who always get forgotten," the society's president, Simon Watt, said. Other ugly animals in the running included the proboscis monkey and the three-toed sloth.
MORE FROM FEDERAL NEWS RADIO
Size of the federal
workforce dips as number of new hires tumbles
Federal hiring declined last year, with new government hires dropping to fewer than 90,000 in fiscal 2012. The dip in hiring caused the size of the federal workforce to retract slightly to about 2.1 million federal workers - about on par with 2009 levels, according to new government data compiled by the Partnership for Public Service.
Revamped innovation agenda focuses on
Speaking before the President's Council of Advisers on Science and Technology at the National Academy of Sciences Thursday morning, Steven VanRoekel, the federal chief information officer, said the President's second-term management agenda is building on past successes to make lasting change ordinary American citizens can feel in their everyday lives.