Weekly News Kickoff: Can the Federal Government Deliver a Uber-Like Experience? - (Archived)

The American people have come to expect Uber-like efficiency and customer experience in every interaction — whether they are buying a book online or interacting with a federal agency. Can the U.S. government deliver? Welcome to the weekly news kickoff. Enjoy these highlights.

USDS Execs: Americans Expect Uber-Like Government
Federal agencies haven’t kept up with Americans’ expectations fueled by private-sector technology, and experts say that’s eroding citizens’ trust in their government, FedScoop reports. The federal government’s struggle to provide effective IT services for citizen interaction the past few decades, culminating in the disastrous rollout of Healthcare.gov in 2013, is rooted in its inability to match the pace of technological deployment Americans have come to expect from the private sector, a group of digital government experts said at a Yahoo News conference on Technology and Politics at Drake University in Iowa. With the invention of the smartphone and a culture driven by on-demand, on-the-go apps, U.S. Digital Service Administrator Mikey Dickerson said Americans’ expectations for their interactions with government are being set by companies such as Apple, Facebook and Uber.

WIT Event: Meet New Friends and Reconnect with Old Ones
Support the next generation of girls interested in technology careers by attending the annual Women in Technology (WIT) holiday social and fundraiser on Dec. 3, 2015. WIT will donate all proceeds from the 2015 Holiday Giving Gala to STEM for Her, WIT’s nonprofit education foundation. The foundation fosters awareness, excitement and opportunities among girls and young women to pursue science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) related careers. Purchase tickets by Nov. 25 to receive Early Bird prices! 

Commerce Department Launches Data ‘Startup’
The Commerce Department has launched the Commerce Data Service, a startup within the office of the secretary, which will encourage the sharing of data for economic growth and innovation, FierceGovernmentIT reports. “Through partnerships with the twelve bureaus that make up the Commerce Department, the Data Service will deliver products and services to help government agencies better deliver information to their customers,” said Ian Kalin, the department’s chief data officer. The group will focus on four areas: experimentation, through enabling collaboration; insight, by making data-driven recommendations by industry; architecture, via guidance on open data plans and solutions; and product by providing personnel to help build applications.

Report: DHS Needs More Unity To Face Future Challenges
According to a new survey, the Department of Homeland Security needs to work harder at unifying its internal components to tackle future challenges, Federal Times reports. The Homeland Security & Defense Business Council — a nonprofit organization of industry executives and experts — and business consulting company Grant Thornton surveyed 67 senior executives within DHS and in supporting firms. The survey results show the department needs to create a more united front across many of its siloed components to combat future threats at home. These results seem to match the goal of DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson, whose “Unity of Effort” initiative debuted in April 2014 with the goal of refining issues of acquisition, better intra-communications and cooperation across the department’s components.

For Military, Internet of Things Isn’t About ‘Things’
The military has sought to ride the coattails of the commercial craze known as the Internet of Things, which could increase efficiency on multiple levels, Defense Systems reports. Despite reports indicating that the military has lagged behind in IoT adoption, the integration of myriad devices and platforms doesn’t hinge on technical issues, but rather on culture, according to retired Marine Corps Gen. James Cartwright, Harold Brown Chair in Defense Policy Studies at the Center for Strategic and International StudiesDuring a speech at CSIS , he said much of the conversation is focused on offset strategies, which “were a response where incremental improvement was no longer sufficient to keep ahead of threats that we were tasked to address.”  One of the first things on the list of the current offset strategy is man-machine partnering. This is not a thing, he said, but rather a cultural and organizational issue, which is far more difficult to ad


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