The best of the federal blogosphere

One 50 lb. Rucksack, 860 Miles
Air Force Live
airforcelive.dodlive.mil
Oct. 25, 2010

Last month, Chief Master Sgt. Antonio Travis, chief enlisted manager at the Air Force Special Operations Training Center, donned a 50-pound rucksack and joined some fellow special tactics airmen on an 860-mile walk across five states to honor their fallen comrades.

The Walk for the Fallen began at Lackland Air Force Base, in San Antonio, Texas, where all combat controllers their careers, and ended at Hurlburt Field, Fla., home of the Special Tactics Training Squadron, the last stop before joining an operation unit.

Travis also took part in last year’s “memorial ruck,” which nearly did him in. “I swore I would never do this again after almost losing a toe, but when the call came in again this year, I once again immediately volunteered, forgetting the pain, only remembering the teammates who gave the ultimate sacrifice,” he writes.

The “memorial ruck,” now in its second year, helps raise awareness for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, which provides scholarships and educational and family counseling to the surviving children of fallen special operations personnel.

Leadership vs. Management
NASA
wiki.nasa.gov/cm/blog/NASA-CIO-Blog
Oct. 23, 2010

If your organization thrives on a combination of charisma and chaos, it probably means you have a strong leader who is a lousy manager. If, on the other hand, everything runs smoothly until a crisis arrives and change is required, you probably have a good manager without leadership skills.

That’s a reader’s guide to leadership and management, as provided by NASA CIO and blogger Linda Cureton. She draws on the writings of several management experts and her own experience in working with executives at NASA.

It’s an important issue in technical organizations where technical know-how is valued more highly than classic leadership skills.

Failure to recognize leadership skills “will ultimately end up in organizational demise,” Cureton writes. “In the public sector, this translates to lack of stakeholder support, lack of relevance and ultimately to mission failures.”

A New Era of Secure Flight
Transportation Security Administration
blog.tsa.gov
Oct. 26, 2010

Nov. 1 marked the beginning of a new era in airport security. From now on, travelers must provide their name, date of birth and gender as they appear on an approved government identification card, or they will not receive a boarding pass.

That information is fed into the Secure Flight system, which checks the information against government watch lists. The requirements took effect last year, but there was a grace period for existing reservations. That grace period is over, writes John Pistole, administrator of the Transportation Security Administration.

“To avoid unnecessary delays and prevent misidentifications, passengers should provide complete Secure Flight data when booking airline travel, whether they have booked directly with the airline, a travel agent or an online booking site,” Pistole writes at the TSA blog.

Travelers who, for one reason or another, do not provide that information when booking flights might want to call the airline or booking agent before heading to the airport to avoid any possibility of delay.

Presidential Photographer’s Scrapbook
White House blog
Oct. 26, 2010

Last year, the White House blog kicked off a photo-of-the-day feature that presents behind-the-scenes images of the president that viewers likely won’t find anywhere else.

Pete Souza, chief official White House photographer and director of the White House Photography Office, recently posted his favorite 10 shots from the past year.

His selections include one showing a weary President Barack Obama celebrating the hard-fought House passage of the health care reform bill. Other photos are decidedly more personal.

“The most popular pictures are ones involving fun moments with the president or pictures of the family dog, Bo,” Souza writes. “But, given my extraordinary access, we also try to show the president doing what he spends most of his time doing: running the country.”

Souza writes that the 10 images he selected might not be the best shots aesthetically, but they represent the variety of situations that form the president’s daily schedule.

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