Weekly Roundup: April 3-7, 2023

This post first appeared on IBM Business of Government. Read the original article.

Friday, April 7, 2023

Articles & insights in public management & leadership that we found of interest for the week ending April 7, 2023

Easterly Voices Urgent Need to Set AI Regulatory Landscape.  Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Director Jen Easterly warned on Thursday that the United States needs to quickly determine the regulatory landscape for development of AI technologies, which she said have the potential to become the most consequential – and perhaps dangerous – technologies of the 21st century.

Human-in-the-Loop Approach is Key to Building Trust in AI, Experts Say  Taking a human-in-the-loop approach is crucial to building trust in AI, Federal experts said today, but they also said it’s critical to have a data and AI literacy program to ensure those humans are adequately trained.

Data Access, Sharing Vital to AI Success, Federal Officials Say. More freedom to share data is vital to the success of developing AI technologies that meet the needs of Federal agencies, government officials said today. Damian Kostiuk, deputy chief data officer in the Office of Information Technology (OIT) at the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) component, talked about the need to share data more freely.

Coast Guard CDO: AI use is ‘Norm,’ not ‘Exception’. AI will not replace humans, but humans using AI will replace humans not using AI, the Coast Guard’s chief data officer (CDO) stated. Capt. Brian Erickson said that use of AI will become the “norm and not the exception.” The mission of his office, the Office of Data Analytics, is to accelerate the advancement of data and AI for business efficiency and mission success throughout the USCG.

NEW GAO REPORT-Government Performance Management: Actions Needed to Improve Transparency of Cross-Agency Priority Goals. GAO found that the administration’s designated CAP goals do not address all relevant GPRAMA requirements, and related guidance and practices. As of March 2023, OMB had not designated CAP goals addressing information technology management and federal real property management. These areas are long-standing management challenges facing the federal government.

GAO Pushes Pentagon for More Action on Software Modernization. The Department of Defense (DoD) has taken some actions to modernize its software technologies, policies, and workforce; however more needs to be done for the agency to reach its software modernization goals, according to a new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report.  The DoD’s ability to respond to evolving threats is increasingly determined by its efforts to modernize software-intensive systems – such as weapons and IT systems.

GAO: FY22 ‘Improper Payment’ Rate hit $240 Billion. A new report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) finds that over $240 billion was improperly distributed by the Federal government during fiscal year 2022. The report found that that across 18 Federal agencies, about $200 billion of the total $247 billion is comprised of overpayments to vendors and other organizations that agencies conduct business with.

The Veterans Benefits Administration is a Good Candidate for Tailored Reforms. An excellent candidate for agency-specific reform is the Veterans Benefits Administration, which faces challenges with customer service and could serve as an example for other agencies that fit into the broader category of “production agencies.”  Additional hiring flexibilities and compensation changes would allow the agency to respond faster to new legal requirements.

Negative Performance Audits Can Be Good News. Here are a handful of problems cited in this blog post that underscore typical challenges with state and local government performance measurement.

Good people don’t follow inconsistent leaders. Some leaders may adopt a specific “persona” in the office, but if your values and actions are incongruent, others will notice, writes executive coach John Rex, who recommends clearly identifying your values based on experience, faith and other practices. Leaders who have the most influence are those who also emphasize accountability for themselves and others and know how to identify their own biases and appreciate others. Begin to clearly define your values by thinking about times when you’ve been in the “flow” or what kind of books, teachers or philosophies that attract you have in common.

How easily do you get thrown “off center” by events around you?  From Mike Figliuolo, a West Point graduate and author of three leadership books: “One Piece of Paper,” “Lead Inside the Box” and “The Elegant Pitch.” disruptive events happen every day. What matters as a leader is how you react to them. If you let yourself get thrown off, your team notices, and they get even more concerned. When disruption arrives, the most important thing is perspective. Get out of the short loop created by your amygdala — this is your body’s fight-or-flight response. Breathe. Pause. Step back and assess the situation. Perspective helps you approach the issue rationally rather than emotionally.  You’ll often find your initial emotional reaction was actually an overreaction, and the issue isn’t as big as you originally thought. Pausing and breathing is the key to handling those issues gracefully and in a way that keeps your team grounded.  

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