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Nextgov Event: Experience the True Power of Digital Government

By Frank Konkel // March 28, 2017


The future federal government runs on digital technologies, delivering services and information to citizens at light-speed, not two to three business days.

On Thursday, Nextgov and Government Executive will convene a forum to discuss how agencies are improving their digital service delivery, basing decisions on mission outcomes and customer satisfaction.

In our first panel, we’ll chat with Keith Nakasone, a lead acquisition official from the General Services Administration, Alec Palmer, chief information officer at the Federal Elections Commission, and Antonio Rios, who heads the Division of Federal Employees’ Compensation for the Labor Department. These officials uses technology in different ways to serve customers and meet mission needs.

In our second panel, I’ll talk with David Simeon, division chief of innovation and technology at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and Tiffany Shackelford, director of communications and strategic planning for the National Governors Association. Simeon will describe how USCIS uses technology to improve the immigration process, and Shackelford will highlight efforts at the state and local level that could serve as use cases for feds.

The True Power of Digital Government will take place 8-10 a.m. at the Hamilton Live, March 30.

For more information or to...

Nextgov Event: Join Us March 29 for Tech Refresh  

By Frank Konkel // March 24, 2017

Montri Nipitvittaya/

The struggle to modernize federal IT systems is real.

Since former U.S. Chief Information Officer Tony Scott declared legacy technology a bigger crisis “than Y2K ever was,” IT modernization has been at the forefront of the federal tech agenda.

This is a challenge every federal agency faces, and it’s a big one. Most agencies spend approximately 80 percent of their IT budgets on operations and maintenance of legacy systems, or what some refer to as “keeping the lights on.” The other 20 percent goes toward the investment and development of new technologies.

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Last year, Congress and the Government Accountability Office probed agencies for their oldest systems and found several critical systems that have been in operation more than 40 years. The money spent on those systems is entirely on O&M, and that’s not uncommon. The Housing and Urban Development Department is currently spending 95 percent of its IT budget on legacy systems, according to GAO, and others, like the Army Corps of Engineers, are in that ballpark.

So, how do cash-strapped agencies actually modernize systems?

On Wed., March 29, Nextgov...

Nextgov Event: All in on Artificial Intelligence

By Frank Konkel // March 21, 2017

Christian Lagerek/

Artificial intelligence is all the rage in government right now—and for good reason.

Complex software written on ever-evolving hardware and computing capabilities has the potential to disrupt the economy by trillions of dollars, could provide instantaneous customer feedback to millions of customers, help humanity get to Mars and beyond, and a whole lot more.

The federal government will be intimately involved in either creating policies by which AI, machine learning and other emerging technologies are governed or in creating applications for those technologies itself. In many cases, agencies are already all in on AI, having taken initial steps to begin pilots, projects and collaborations with academic institutions and industry.

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On Thursday, at our next Tech and Tequila meet-up, we’ll explore advancements in AI policies and applications across both civilian government and the national security apparatus.  

Speakers include Justin Herman, digital communities and open government lead at the General Services Administration and Terah Lyons, former policy adviser at the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy, who will talk about policy and collaborative efforts in AI in the federal community.


Nextgov Event: Improving Customer Satisfaction in Government

By Frank Konkel // March 3, 2017

Den Rise/

The Rolling Stones had it right.

By almost any measure, 300-plus million citizens and customers of the federal government can’t get no satisfaction, a problem the Obama administration picked up on that now falls to the new President Donald Trump.

While the Obama administration elevated customer service to its management agenda, there’s an air of uncertainty regarding the level of import Trump will place on customer service. Will the billionaire mogul make customer service a priority for government—much as it is in the private sector and business world—or are his proposed budget cuts and hiring freeze a signal that dollars matter the most to this administration?

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When it comes to customer service, can the government really do more with less?

We’ll discuss these issues and others Thursday, March 9, at our Federal Customer Experience Summit of 2017. We’ve themed this event—our fifth since 2014—on building a citizen-centric government, with an emphasis on discussing how some agencies have improved customer satisfaction.

We’ll hear how the National Weather Services is forging partnerships with other agencies to save...

Nextgov Event: Dig into Data Science

By Frank Konkel // February 28, 2017

HelloRF Zcool/

In 2012, the Harvard Business Review proclaimed the position of data scientist as the “sexiest job of the 21st century,” suggesting data science had the power to shape the future.

Five years later, it’s appropriate to ask how the government is making use of data scientists.

On Thursday, we at Nextgov will do just that, discussing data science with three data scientists across government at our first Innovation After Hours event of 2017. The event runs from 5:45 to 7:30 p.m. at ImpactHub, 419 7th St. NW.

Our speakers include Jeff Chen, acting chief data officer for the Commerce Department, Peter Casey, senior data scientist for the city of Washington, D.C., and Dr. Terry Adams, program manager at the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity.

Discussion topics will include a nuanced chat about the job itself, as well as cool projects our speakers are working on and how the field of data science is changing. Specifically, we’ll talk about the intelligence community is researching on activity recognition in video, how the city of Washington, D.C., is using data to reduce the rodent population and how the Commerce Department is building a team of data...