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Pentagon acquisition policy: Three-quarters right, one-quarter broken

July 14, 2015 Comments off

Pentagon acquisition policy: Three-quarters right, one-quarter broken
Source: Brookings Institution

The American defense debate is afflicted by a certain schizophrenia about how the Pentagon buys its weapons and other equipment, and about the state of America’s defense industrial base. On the one hand, the media narrative often fixates on horror stories concerning $600 toilet seats, billion-dollar aircraft and ships, fighter jets costing three times what was originally expected, and programs canceled for poor performance. The Department of Defense went into the Iraq and Afghanistan wars only moderately well prepared, in terms of equipment and training, for the kind of fighting that ensued, and took several years to find its stride. Eisenhower’s warnings of a military-industrial complex bilking the taxpayer and putting the nation’s economy at risk still echo today—but now it is the military-industrial-congressional complex that adds parochial politics and log-rolling appropriators to the witches’ brew as well.

CA — The Roles and Responsibilities of Central Agencies

July 10, 2015 Comments off

The Roles and Responsibilities of Central Agencies
Source: Library of Parliament

The Canadian federal government is composed of approximately 150 departments, agencies, Crown corporations, commissions and other organizations.1 The mandates of these organizations is usually set out in founding legislation, and the general roles and responsibilities of the organizations can often be inferred from their name; for example, Health Canada and Environment Canada have overall responsibility for the federal role in health and the environment respectively.

In order to try to manage this large and diverse set of organizations, the federal government has four central agencies: the Prime Minister’s Office, the Privy Council Office, the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat and the Department of Finance Canada.2 The term “central agency” has no formal definition and does not reflect a definitive classification. Instead, the term is generally used to designate organizations that have a central coordinating role. These organizations work across government departments to provide advice to the prime minister and Cabinet, and to ensure policy coherence and coordination on their behalf. Central agencies have either formal or informal authority over other departments and often direct their actions. Line departments, on the other hand, provide services directly to Canadians and do not have the authority or mandate to direct other departments in their operations.

The goal of this paper is to explain the key roles and responsibilities of each central agency and to discuss issues facing each of them.

Alternative Funding and Financing Mechanisms for Passenger and Freight Rail Projects

July 9, 2015 Comments off

Alternative Funding and Financing Mechanisms for Passenger and Freight Rail Projects
Source: Transportation Research Board

TRB’s National Cooperative Rail Research Program (NCRRP) Report 1: Alternative Funding and Financing Mechanisms for Passenger and Freight Rail Projects identifies alternative funding and financing tools that can be used to realize passenger and freight rail project development, including capital investments, operations, and maintenance. The report summary is available online.

See also: Improving Freight System Performance in Metropolitan Areas: A Planning Guide

Supervising for Quality Child Welfare Practice

July 8, 2015 Comments off

Supervising for Quality Child Welfare Practice
Source: Child Welfare Information Gateway

Presents an overview of child welfare supervision and explores the dimensions of supervision that agencies may want to consider as they seek to strengthen the effectiveness of their services to children and families. This bulletin is designed to provide child welfare supervisors, managers, and related professionals with examples of States’ efforts to strengthen supervisory capacity and with tools and resources to enhance supervisory skills.

Using Innovation and Technology to Improve City Services

July 3, 2015 Comments off

Using Innovation and Technology to Improve City Services
Source: IBM Center for the Business of Government

In this report, Professor Greenberg examines a dozen cities across the United States that have award-winning reputations for using innovation and technology to improve the services they provide to their residents. She explores a variety of success factors associated with effective service delivery at the local level, including:

  • The policies, platforms, and applications that cities use for different purposes, such as public engagement, streamlining the issuance of permits, and emergency response
  • How cities can successfully partner with third parties, such as nonprofits, foundations, universities, and private businesses to improve service delivery using technology
  • The types of business cases that can be presented to mayors and city councils to support various changes proposed by innovators in city government

Professor Greenberg identifies a series of trends that drive cities to undertake innovations, such as the increased use of mobile devices by residents. Based on cities’ responses to these trends, she offers a set of findings and specific actions that city officials can act upon to create innovation agendas for their communities. Her report also presents case studies for each of the dozen cities in her review. These cases provide a real-world context, which will allow interested leaders in other cities to see how their own communities might approach similar innovation initiatives.

C-Level Executives, Including The Chro, Must Embrace Evidence-Based Hr Or Risk Facing Competitive Disadvantage: KPMG Report

July 2, 2015 Comments off

C-Level Executives, Including The Chro, Must Embrace Evidence-Based Hr Or Risk Facing Competitive Disadvantage: KPMG Report
Source: KPMG

A global survey titled Evidence-Based HR: The Bridge Between Your People and Delivering Business Strategy conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit on behalf of KPMG International, the audit, tax and advisory firm revealed that while interest and investment in evidence-based HR is increasing, wide-spread adoption is still not getting the traction many predicted just a few years ago. Evidence-based HR uses data, research, and analysis to determine how HR practices affect business outcomes such as productivity, profitability, customer satisfaction and service quality.
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Trends in State Courts 2015

June 30, 2015 Comments off

Trends in State Courts 2015
Source: National Center for State Courts

Leadership and technology are the central themes of Trends in State Courts 2015, an annual NCSC publication dedicated to making courts aware of key trends that affect not only court operations, but also society. Articles discuss numerous aspects of court leadership, such as judges and court administrators as “productive pairs,” collaboration between stakeholders inside and outside of courts, and engagement of court staff. A special section looks at topics in state of the judiciary messages and how interest in them has risen or fallen between 2010 and 2015. Court technology topics include developing an online benchbook, using online portals to help self-­represented litigants, and archiving records via the “cloud.” Other articles examine how Minnesota’s Fourth Judicial District became a “high­functioning court,” accessibility and fairness in Nevada, and more.

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