Peter Orszag wants an upgrade
Let there be no doubt: Peter Orszag has declared war on the government's computers.
"At one time, a federal worker went to the office and had access to the most cutting-edge
computer power and programs," Orszag said Tuesday. "Now, he often has more of both in a device clipped to his belt."
The White House budget director and self-professed nerd has said the same before (Maybe he'd like to reenact that classic "Office Space" printer-busting scene?) His basic argument is that government can cut costs and improve its overall performance if it becomes more tech-savvy.
Even a relatively old desktop beats the pants off my Blackberry. But today you can make a very good argument that 'cutting-edge computer power and programs' may be best defined as one’s ability to use technology to interact with the world in a rapid, user-friendly way. And on my personal Blackberry, I can track the status of a shipment, buy goods and services, make travel, hotel and restaurant reservations, and collaborate with friends and colleagues – all online pretty much anytime and anywhere. These types of applications – many in the 'cloud' – are the real revolution going on today.
Such innovative uses of technology are scarce to nonexistent within the Federal Government. For example, there is no Federal government equivalent to the over 200,000 applications that have become available to iPhone users in the short time since it has been sold. This kind of rapid development and implementation of useful services is what I really mean by "computing power and programs." It’s the model the Federal government needs to adopt to improve its efficiency, effectiveness, and delivery of services to the American people.
Do you agree? Is technology the key to cutting government costs? Should the government invest more in technology?
Leave your thoughts in the comments section below
• Question of the Week: A recent report said theDefense Department's pay for performance system for intelligence employees is flawed and a Senate hearing on Wednesday will look at a similar system for other Pentagon workers that is being terminated. As the Obama administration considers a new performance management system for federal workers, do you think there is a role for pay for performance? E-mail your answers to email@example.com and please include your full name, home town, and employer (if you're a federal worker). We may use your answers in Friday's Washington Post.
• Cabinet and Staff News: Vice President Joe Biden's image has been transformed from bumbler to big blanking deal. Defense Secretary Robert Gates accuses the European Union of pushing Turkey toward the East. James Clapper's memo revealed. Ben Bernanke is a measured economic cheerleader. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen with the latest on the Gulf Coast oil spill. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen has his own hand sanitizer.
• GOP to FCC: You don't rule the Web: Republican appropriators slammed the agency on Wednesday for leaving Congress on the sidelines as it seeks to enforce net neutrality and more heavily regulate Internet providers.
• FBI paid money in Van der Sloot sting: Officials say the work on Holloway's disappearance was revived about six weeks ago when the suspect reached out to someone close to the Alabama teenager's mother and requested $250,000 in exchange for information.
• FBI probes fatal shooting at Mexican border: It was the second time in eight days that a Mexican was killed on the international border by U.S. authorities.
IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT:
• Feds proposing new round of immigration fee hikes: The cost of the first step toward becoming a U.S. citizen - getting a green card - may be going up, but the price to apply for full-fledged citizenship should remain the same.
• GAO again slams U.S. national security agencies: Government auditors have once again excoriated U.S. homeland security and defense agencies, saying in a new report that they “do not always share relevant information with their national security partners.”
U.S. POSTAL SERVICE:
• Postal Service, 'Toy Story 3' team up: Disney approached the Postal Service about teaming up for an ad last year
• U.N. vote on Iran sanctions not a clear-cut win for Obama: The administration's critics say the uncertain result in the Security Council vote stems from U.S. weakness in international diplomacy, while its defenders say Obama inherited a weak hand from Bush.
• Filner: VA finds problems but cannot fix them: The department is good at finding waste and inefficiency, but it should act faster to fix these problems, lawmakers said at a Wednesday congressional oversight hearing.
| June 10, 2010; 6:00 AM ET
Categories: Eye Opener, Workplace Issues
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