Weekly Roundup: July 5-9, 2021

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Friday, July 9, 2021

Highlighting articles and insights that we have found interesting for the week ending July 9, 2021

Building Federal Evaluation Capacity: A Discussion of the New White House Evaluation and Learning Agenda Guidance. The Office of Management and Budget recently issued guidance to federal agencies about implementing key provisions of the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act. The Data Foundation and the American Evaluation Association hosted a joint dialogue on to discuss the new Evidence Act guidance, hear reactions from evaluation experts, and to identify opportunities to support implementation of the Evidence Act’s evaluation and evidence planning processes.

Improving White House review of agency guidance. Nearly six months in, President Biden’s regulatory policy is slowly coming into focus. It is ambitious. The administration has revoked many of Trump’s executive actions on regulation. Biden has also ordered the Office of Management and Budget to “determine an appropriate approach” to agency guidance. It is not yet clear, however, what this means or how this administration will oversee guidance.

Pentagon cancels JEDI contract. The Defense Department’s controversial Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure cloud program is dead and a new multi-cloud, multi-vendor contract approach called the Joint Warfighter Cloud Capability will take JEDI’s place. Acting DOD CIO John Sherman told reporters on July 6 that the department is issuing a presolicitation notice for JWCC.

DOD’s 3D printers are vulnerable to hackers, IG finds. The Defense Department didn’t properly secure additive manufacturing systems, such as 3D printers, from foreign intrusion and data tampering because they were considered tools rather than IT, according to an inspector general report released July 7. Additive manufacturing systems are increasingly used — particularly with the Air Force and national labs, to create prototypes, models, and materials, including replacement parts for military equipment in the field.

NGA looks to test drive commercial space capabilities with new agreement scheme. NGA is making novel use of a classic legal mechanism to test out commercial space capabilities for free and provide feedback to companies just getting started in sectors like the small satellite market. NGA is using “bailment agreements” to take temporary possession of a commercial product, such as satellite imagery, to evaluate its utility in operational settings.

GAO focused on upskilling workforce to handle ‘audits of tomorrow’. The Government Accountability Office, under its data strategy, is upskilling its analyst workforce as part and looking to elevate the overall data literacy of its workforce. To maintain this return on investment, the watchdog is looking at ways to make its workforce more familiar with data analytics and artificial intelligence tools. Taka Ariga, GAO’s first chief data scientist and the director of its Innovation Lab, said GAO’s data strategy will ensure the agency has the skills necessary to conduct the “audits of tomorrow.”

Few VA employees easily navigating new EHR after training, months of use, auditors say. The inspector general at the Department of Veterans Affairs delivered a double-edged blow to VA’s massive electronic health record modernization effort, detailing both employee training failures with the new system and unreliable IT cost estimates for the overall project. A small percentage of VA employees at the first go-live site said they could easily use the Cerner Millennium EHR after training and using the product for two-to-three months. the IG said VA’s cost estimates for the IT infrastructure upgrades needed to support the EHR were unreliable. VA previously told Congress it would need $4.3 billion for IT infrastructure upgrades.

On Pursuing a Public Service Career. “In the government you can explore the world and nearly every job can be offered to you through federal service.” With those words, James-Christian Blockwood, Executive Vice President at the Partnership for Public Service explained some of the reasons he was drawn to public service.

DHS’ chief procurement officer to step down at the end of the month. The Department of Homeland Security’s chief procurement officer announced her retirement last week after serving over 40 years in federal service and having worked at the agency since it began operations in 2003. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jT8Zw_83jS0)

Here’s a guide to rethinking strategy. Legacy companies and entrepreneurs alike can underestimate the complexity and vastness of strategy, and each requires a CEO who can set guardrails for experimentation without getting too involved in the details, writes David Collis of Harvard Business School. He outlines five actions leaders must take for successful strategic implementation. Harvard Business Review (tiered subscription model)

Managers need to communicate more than they do. Leaders often overestimate the depth of workplace conflicts and how much information they possess about the situation, according to Liz Kislik and Dixon, Ill., City Manager Danny Langloss. “So even within a relatively small functional team, it’s helpful for a leader to draft an actual communications plan that includes presentation, discussion, written follow-up, and structured opportunities over a period of time for additional questions and answers,” Kislik writes. Liz Kislik Associates

Why leaders need to remember to enjoy life. The famed “marshmallow test” reminds us that delaying gratification can be a sign of strength, but be careful not to become “surrounded by marshmallows that were never eaten,” write Marshall Goldsmith and Kelly Goldsmith. Chief Executive

How to navigate the “stops and starts” of leadership. Leading a team is much like operating a good transportation system, where your goal is not simply getting from point A to point B, but delivering the most people to their desired destinations even if that means more stops, Steve McKee writes. The economy also operates this way, as “each of our organizations had its own stops and starts due to its specific market and competitive conditions,” he writes. SmartBrief/Leadership

Scenario planning is not meant to be hypothetical. Scenario planning done right is an opportunity to increase organizational knowledge, but this requires developing “a continuous action-driven process” instead of only contemplation, writes Lance Mortlock of EY. “Specifically, learning requires both change and stability between learners and the environment,” Mortlock writes. Tanveer Naseer

A general’s advice for dominating the next crisis. Data, planning and practice are at the heart of good risk management and turning uncertainty into competitive advantage, as the military has learned, say Leo Tilman and retired Gen. Charles H. Jacoby Jr. “It’s not, how do you assume a better fetal position so you can withstand the next outrage, but how can we dominate environments like this?” Jacoby says. Corporate Board Member

Always give the big picture before the details. President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address is a perfect example of how leaders should start with the big picture, give details and then reframe the larger perspective, writes Sims Wyeth. This advice serves anyone in a corporate role, Wyeth argues, as effectively communicating abstract ideas is a stepping-stone to power. Sims Wyeth

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Next Week on The Business of Government Hour: A Conversation with Kate Kelley, Chief Human Capital Officer, Army Futures Command. What is the Human Capital Strategy for U.S. Army Futures Command? What is it doing differently to attract and retain a skilled workforce? How is it using technology and innovation to change the way it operates? Join host Michael Keegan as he explores these questions and  more with oKate Kelley, Chief Human Capital Officer, at the US Army Futures Command.

Broadcast Schedule: The show airs Monday at 11 a.m., and Friday at 1 p.m. on Federal News Network 1500AM WFED

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