People on the move, events in the news

The FOSE trade show, which ran concurrently with GovSec/U.S. Law, was the big draw in late March. Participants filled the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in downtown Washington, D.C.

Hearing Anthony Zuiker, creator of the "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" TV series, speak at FOSE sent a chill down the spines of some media types wed to doing things the old-fashioned way.

“Everything has changed and is changing as we speak,” Zuiker said in his keynote address. He pioneered the use of multiple media approaches with CSI, augmenting the TV series with online communities and encouraging audiences to use mobile technology to predict the show’s outcomes. "CSI: New York" featured the virtual world of Second Life (albeit sensationalized) in a 2007 episode, and the show's creative team set up a virtual crime lab in Second Life for residents to explore as part of the cross-platform promotion.

At FOSE, Zuiker encouraged the audience to anticipate and exploit new technologies. Traditional media is dead, and electronic devices are now battling for supremacy in the delivery of media content, he said.

Ouch! Good thing this is a cross-platform — print and Web — publication where people and machines live in harmony.

Emma Antunes, Web manager at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, spoke to the FOSE audience about the creation of Spacebook, an internal social networking tool.

"Most people get their work done in teams. There are lots of informal, ad hoc teams all over the place, but we didn’t have a good way to work together," she said. "I wanted something super simple like Yahoo Groups where you have a way to have a conversation, a way to share files and a way to be able to keep that history as new people come to the group and old people leave. That way we can still find the information, build on it and find each other. So our strategy was to use social media to build relationships."

There was also an oops moment at FOSE. Katie Lewin, who leads the General Services Administration's cloud computing initiative, told a FOSE audience that the agency had achieved about $850 million in cost savings and avoidance through the use of cloud computing.

When a Federal Computer Week reporter pressed Lewin for details on how GSA achieved the savings, she demurred and asked the reporter to send an e-mail message to her office. A few days later, a GSA public affairs officer wrote back to say Lewin misspoke — the actual savings are more on the order of $1.7 million.

What's a multiplier of 500 between friends, eh?

1105 Media produced the show. It is the parent company of Federal Computer Week, Government Computer News, Washington Technology and Defense Systems.

Another March highlight was 1105 Media's Federal 100 awards dinner. Comedian John Oliver, best known for frequent appearances on "The Daily Show," told the crowd that his lifelong dream was to speak at the event. As a child growing up in England, Oliver said, he pointed to Washington, D.C., on a map and declared his conviction that one day he would perform for the Federal 100.

"It was my dream," he said. "My father said I shouldn’t aim so high, but today, that dream has come true!"

From among the 100 awardees, two especially high-achieving winners are chosen each year for Eagle Awards. This year, the Eagle recipients were Robert Dix, vice president of government affairs at Juniper Networks, and Lt. Gen. Keith Alexander, director of the National Security Agency.

Dix won for his work on several government/industry collaborations related to cybersecurity and critical infrastructure and for helping to develop the National Cyber Incident Response Plan. Alexander won for a variety of intelligence-related things that we can't tell you much about.

At an AFCEA International event on government transformation, Michael Carleton, chief information officer at the Health and Human Services Department, made it clear that he has some doubts about that term.

“I have been a civil servant long enough to be skeptical about trotting out the ‘transformation’ word,” Carleton said at the event, held March 30 in Rockville, Md. “I am a pretty skeptical consumer about transformation.”

Overheard...

Jack Holt at the Defense Media Activity:
“What do you think was the first high-speed Internet? It was hard-surface Roman roads. That changed the way society existed, from walled communities with gate guards to open communities built around roadway infrastructure. That’s what we have to do now with secure network access. We have to change the way it’s done.”

Dan Risacher, associate director of enterprise services and integration at the Defense Department:
The problems with meeting the requirements of the Federal Information Security Management Act while building secure cloud computing capabilities — particularly those related to accreditation — “are less about the law itself than the numerous controls within it, and we’re discovering those as we go along.”

Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey, speaking at a luncheon held by the Northern Virginia chapter of AFCEA International March 19:
"The Army is out of balance. We're so weighed down by the current demands, we can't do the things we need to do to transform. We are suffering from the cumulative effects of eight and a half years of war."

PEOPLE

As Federal Computer Week first reported in early February, California Chief Information Officer Teresa "Teri" Takai is in line to become the first female CIO at the Defense Department. The Obama administration announced her nomination March 29, and she awaits Senate confirmation.

Mary Parks, a longtime leader of the General Services Administration’s small-business outreach initiatives, retired March 31. She first proposed the idea of a small-business solutions development center in the 1990s. She then helped set up GSA’s first indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract solely for small businesses, the 8(a) Federal Acquisition Services for Technology contract. That eventually became the 8(a) Streamlined Technology Acquisition Resources for Services governmentwide acquisition contract.

Former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff has joined the board of directors of BAE Systems. Chertoff was secretary from 2005 to 2009 and led efforts to advance cybersecurity and prevent would-be terrorists from crossing U.S. borders by working closely with global allies.

Adm. William Fallon has become chief executive officer of NeuralIQ Government Services, a new NeuralIQ subsidiary in Alexandria, Va. The subsidiary will provide services to federal, state and local government agencies. The parent company is based in Kirkland, Wash.

Sid Fuchs has been named chief operating officer of ATS. Fuchs most recently was president and CEO of OAO Technology Solutions, a global provider of information technology services to commercial and government customers.

COMMUNITY

SRA International and its employees have raised more than $132,000 for Haiti relief efforts, the company reports.

“As a member of the global community, SRAers believe it is our duty to help the people of Haiti in any way we can,” SRA President and chief executive officer Stan Sloane said in a written statement. “We are passionate about the significant work we do every day. It’s that same passion that drives our need to be active not just in our local communities but in the global community as well.”

The donations came through SRA's volunteer and philanthropic SRA Community Action, Responsibility, Education and Services (CARES) Committee, with the company matching employee donations to nonprofit organizations helping with relief efforts in Haiti. SRA also made a matching donation to Project Hope, an organization that has been on the ground providing support since the massive earthquake struck Jan. 12. In a ceremony held March 31, SRA presented Project Hope President and CEO John Howe with a check.

“This is fantastic," Howe said. "This is just a remarkable experience for all of us at Project Hope to have SRA’s outstanding support during the 2005 tsunami repeated today with this contribution to our relief efforts in Haiti. We have been there from the beginning, and we are there for the duration, and this will certainly help.”

Some people just don't get the April Fool's Day concept. On April 1, Steve Ressler sent an e-mail message to members of the popular GovLoop social networking site, with the ominous subject line: "Sorry, we're shutting down GovLoop."

The first paragraph was equally dire: "After nearly two years and 28,000 members, I hate to say it, but GovLoop's great and glorious run has come to an end."

But then Ressler blew it with the next line: "Psych!! April Fool's!"

One might argue that the subject line couldn't have fooled anybody to begin with, given GovLoop's phenomenal success. But if you want to have any chance of pulling off a successful prank, you have to carry it through.

Upcoming events

April 15
The Association for Federal Information Resources Management will host a luncheon program titled "Putting Citizens at the Center of Government." The government "needs to look for collaboration opportunities that place the citizen at the center of the dialogue. We'll examine some of the latest citizen engagement initiatives in government and the private sector and share strategies, approaches and lessons learned that resulted from their engagements," an announcement promises.

Speakers include Amanda Eamich, director of new media at the Agriculture Department; Janice Nall, director of the eHealth marketing division at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Marketing; and David McClure, associate administrator of the General Services Administration's Office of Citizen Services and Communications, who will serve as moderator.

The event starts at 11:30 a.m. at the Marvin Center at George Washington University. For additional information and to register, go to www.affirm.org/luncheon/Citizen-Engagement.

April 30
The Federal Communications Commission will host a workshop titled "Public and Other Noncommercial Media in the Digital Era. ”The workshop will cover a variety of topics relative to public media, including possibilities for collaboration, the role of citizen journalists and infrastructure needs," according to the FCC.

The event runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Commission Meeting Room, 445 12th Street, SW, in Washington, D.C. For more information, contact Krista Witanowski at 202-418-2449.

OUR EVENTS

April 20
Seminar: "Road to Transformation: How Networx Can Take Your Agency in New Directions"
The General Services Administration's Karl Krumbholz will talk about the sweeping communications and networking contract that agencies are now moving onto as the predecessor contract, FTS 2001, expires. The event takes place at the Willard Hotel in Washington, D.C.

Knowledge Management Conference and Exhibition
Cloud Computing Summit
Open Government and Innovations Conference
May 3-5, Grand Hyatt Hotel, Washington, D.C.

Cory Ondrejka, a fellow at the Network Culture Project at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, will be the keynote speaker for the Open Government and Innovations Conference.

Ondrejka is a co-creator of Second Life, a 3-D virtual world where users can socialize, connect and create using voice and text chat. His keynote address is titled "Open and Agile: Accelerating Change and Institutional Incompetence" and is described this way:

"The first decade of the 21st century has been a period of rapid change across media, technology, telecommunications and education. The next decade is going to move even faster and undoubtedly questions will arise such as: How can government institutions avoid irrelevance as the rest of the world builds on the increasing power and connections available to them? What lessons from product development need to be applied more broadly in our connected world?"

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