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Joe Biden Says We Have to Be Willing to Risk Failure to Enjoy Doing What Really Matters to Us

Risk is the key to a good life. That was former US vice-president Joe Biden’s message to graduates today during his commencement address at Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland.

The 74-year-old, who said he’s worked with eight presidents and hundreds of senators during his time in US politics, said the happiest and most successful among them managed to balance their personal lives with their careers, and find fulfillment in what they do. That, he said, takes risk.

There’s an incredible pressure on all of you to succeed… But you’ve got to resist the temptation of what others view as the right choice for you. Follow what you feel in your gut. That’s your North Star, trust it. To be successful and happy you have to be willing to run the risk of failure in the service of what matters to you, no matter what anyone else thinks.

During his years in politics, Biden said he travelled more than 8,300 roundtrips, and roughly 250 miles a day from Washington DC to his home in Delaware, to be see his family each night and be there when they woke up in the morning. It may...

Decoding Federal Employee Compensation

Congressman Mark Meadows, R-N.C., took a step forward in leading the hearing on federal employee compensation last week. He asked for the facts. Presumably he meant facts that both sides of this ongoing debate can agree on. The absence of readily understood, verifiable data has perpetuated this contentious debate now for over two decades.

He also said that civil service reform is coming. That undoubtedly means transitioning to pay for performance, although that will require agencies to solve what has been the weakest link in workforce management—employee performance management. Pay for performance will not be accepted if the basis for pay increases—performance ratings—are not seen as valid. Congressman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, clearly enjoyed ridiculing all the A+’s, A’s and A-’s along with the incredibly low percentage of employees who are terminated.  

His sarcasm is justified. Last year in the Washington area, a highly respected survey conducted by the Human Resource Association of the National Capital Area shows that the typical employer rated only 19 percent of employees at the highest level, and 3 percent at the lowest level. (The 2016 survey had 228 participating employers from every sector encompassing over 300,000 employees...

You Can’t Solve These Problems on an Ad Hoc Basis

Resolving today’s most pressing cyber security and Internet governance challenges is dependent on the tech industry and the government working together on both policy development and policy implementation. Specifically, collaboration is required to successfully research, design, debate, and ultimately implement effective solutions. While there is overwhelming consensus on the need for collaboration, it remains a huge challenge. Why? While many factors contribute to the problem, including differing incentive structures, cultures and business models, one critical element—organizational structure—is a significant and often overlooked hurdle that needs attention and creative solutions.

Specifically, public policy consensus building and collaborative policy implementation require a resilient process through which advocates of differing perspectives have the authority to discuss and negotiate on their organization’s behalf. Additionally, these actors must be empowered to make commitments on behalf of their organizations and have access to, and buy-in from, those who will lead implementation. This construct has proven particularly challenging in the context of government and technology companies because organizationally neither side is organized to facilitate this process. Most collaborations today are done by ad hoc teams of operational personnel, lawyers, government affairs departments, and/or trade associations or other outside third parties. This setup...

Freeing Technology From the Pace of Bureaucracy

Technology can be powerful, but it isn’t inherently good or bad. Just as a hammer isn’t inherently good or bad; what matters is how it’s used. Are we using the tool to build or to destroy?

Technology can be a weapon against democracy. Fake news, fabricated for virality, spreads harmful propaganda at the speed of a share. Governments use technology to violate the privacy of law-abiding citizens. Bad actors have influenced elections and broken into our Defense Department through our inboxes.

But if civic engagement fuels democracy, technology can be a savior, too. Technology helped us to register more voters in 2016 than ever before in American history. Technology has empowered outsider candidates to raise funds, compete, and win against elite party heavyweights. Open data policies and portals provide free, up-to-date access to valuable information about communities and government, and citizens are using it to build businesses and to hold government accountable. An unprecedented number of citizens are taking a stand through digital petitions and using smartphone apps to contact their elected officials. We may not like all the outcomes, but more people are getting involved in democracy through tech.

 Technology also improves how well our democracy...

The Government Wants You to Stop the Next Edward Snowden

If you have spent any time in Washington recently, you’re probably quite familiar with the ‘If you see something say something’ slogan promoted by the Homeland Security Department. For security clearance holders, the slogan is now more than a catchphrase. It’s a mandate.

Security Executive Agent Directive 3, or SEAD 3, is a part of the Insider Threat Program created by President Obama. It was signed on December 14, 2016, and will be implemented June 12. SEAD 3 standardizes reporting requirements for individuals with security clearances. Failing to comply with the new policy could cost you your job or your security clearance.

Government’s New Obsession: Insider Threats

At this point almost everyone in government has had some kind of insider threat awareness training. You can thank Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden and Aaron Alexis for that. The greatest intelligence risks today aren’t necessarily from the outside—they’re from within the government itself, including the federal contractor community. The individuals with access to America’s secret hold the crown jewels. If they decide not to protect them, that creates serious problems.

Most research has determined insider threats aren’t born, they’re made. That means issues don...

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