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Incoming

Why Transparency Matters

May 2009
By Christopher J. Dorobek

It currently is difficult to make it through a day in government circles without somebody talking about transparency. It was an ongoing theme in then-Sen. Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, and it was conspicuously the first executive order signed by President Obama on January 21. But the word is something akin to a Rorschach test—everybody sees transparency very differently. Each person has very different ways of defining what transparency means and how it can be implemented.

What Would Google Government Look Like?

April 2009
By Christopher J. Dorobek

I know it seems like an almost silly question, but go ahead—just try to make it through the day without using the ubiquitous search engine. Or, even try to make it through the day without using it in speech—“Googling something.” My guess is it would be fairly difficult. Google has become the way to find information. But it also is arguably the fastest growing company in the world. Are there lessons that government can learn from the search giant?

Managing Performance in the Public Sector

March 2, 2009
By H. Mosher

Christopher Dorobek, writing in this month's Incoming column, addresses a major question for public managers: Just what is the best way to manage in the public sector? During the 1990s, many government agencies were trying valiantly to put performance standards into place, and took many cues from the private sector. But as Dorobek notes in Ending Government's Private-Sector Envy, government is very different from private industry.

Ending Government's Private-Sector Envy

March 2009
By Christopher J. Dorobek

Some government phrases should be retired. By far, the most destructive is, “That’s not the way we’ve always done things.” Those words have sapped the life out of more innovative ideas, change and evolution than perhaps any others. But right behind that idea is the concept that the private sector does everything right and the public sector ... well ... does not.

Balancing oversight and innovation

February 3, 2009
By H. Mosher

With all the headlines about honest mistakes of late, it bears remembering that not all mistakes are bad, writes Christopher Dorobek in his newest Incoming column, "Government Needs to Find Balance in Oversight". Noting the government trend toward accountability, Dorobek questions whether accountability itself should be the mission of government. Too much oversight, he cautions, may stifle the very thing agencies need most to best accomplish their missions.

Government Needs to Find Balance in Oversight

February 2009
By Christopher J. Dorobek

It has become a truism that the federal government is awash with waste, fraud and abuse. Over the years, that widely held belief has spurred the creation of an entire oversight industry. This includes the inspectors general, the so-called good-government groups, lawmakers on Capitol Hill and, of course, the news media.

The Wisdom of All of Us

January 2, 2009
By H. Mosher

Chris Dorobek, writing in this month's Incoming column, notes several examples of successful Gov 2.0 implementation in various agencies. He writes that the impending change in Washington's scenery and political tides may not be as nebulous as the rhetorical cry for "change" might imply:

Each inauguration brings about change. But this year, there is an almost palpable feeling that it is a time of change. For more than a year, the mantra on the presidential campaign has been change.

This is probably a good thing. Everyone should be concerned when the approval percentages for the president-and Congress-wallow in the 20s. People feel detached, almost alienated, from their government. What has not been fully defined is what change will mean once it makes its way through the Washington bureaucracy.

There are several reasons for hope, and President-elect Obama comes to Washington at a time when there are many somewhat paradoxical factors. The fact is these are unique times. It is the age of sometimes ruthless competition. We are all hyper-connected. We all feel that we are working 24/7 but that we should be working 25/8.

Competition is pressing the government as well. Agencies are not compared to other agencies, but increasingly, their successes-or failures-are compared to everybody else's. Some real opportunities ahead can alter the way the government has done business-and for the better.

Welcoming Christopher Dorobek to SIGNAL

January 2, 2009
By H. Mosher

SIGNAL Editor in Chief Robert K. Ackerman puts some perspective on the Incoming column in this month's "Behind the Lines":

Two years ago, we began a new column called Incoming. Located on the last page of the magazine and featured online each month as part of SIGNAL's blog, Incoming featured a guest columnist providing commentary on a wide range of SIGNAL coverage issues. The past year, the magazine and its readers were fortunate to have Lt. Gen. Harry D. Raduege Jr., USAF (Ret.), chairman of the Deloitte Center for Network Innovation, provide 12 months of his perspective on many of the pressing issues for the AFCEA community.

Our goal has been to rotate columnists with the dawn of each new year. So, with the January 2009 issue, we welcome SIGNAL's new Incoming contributing columnist. Many readers probably are familiar with Christopher Dorobek. A former editor in chief of Federal Computer Week, Chris now is a co-anchor on Federal News Radio 1500 AM's Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris in Washington, D.C. He also hosts his own blog, www.dorobekinsider.com.

Next up: Chris's first Incoming column!

Information Sharing Is Change We Really Can Believe In

January 2009
By Christopher J. Dorobek

January weather in Washington may be dark and dreary, but every four years, the city on the Potomac is filled with the hope and optimism that comes with another inauguration. This isn’t political; it is the sense of renewal. Thousands of new—or somewhat new—faces will come to town. But a certain amount of trepidation also comes with the unknown, particularly for career public servants who have to prove their value.

Evolving Cybersecurity Faces a New Dawn

December 2008
By Lt. Gen. Harry D. Raduege Jr., USAF (Ret.)

Over the last two years, we have been inundated with bad news about the state of cybersecurity. The list of concerns is growing and endless: rampant cybercrime, increasing identity theft, sophisticated social engineering techniques, relentless intrusions into government networks, and widespread vulnerabilities continuously exploited by a variety of entities ranging from criminal organizations and entrepreneurial hackers to well-resourced espionage actors. We also are facing the implications of cyberwarfare in light of last year’s cyber attacks against Estonia. In a recent speech on cybersecurity, U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff warned, “We’ve entered an era of new threats and vulnerabilities,” and the consequences of failure are exponentially greater.

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