For at least the fifth year in a row, the White House says Bolivia, Burma and Venezuela have demonstrably failed during the previous year in counternarcotics efforts. As in previous years, the determinations state that national interests require continuance of aid programs to Bolivia and Venezuela. The fiscal 2013 determination is the first to say so for Burma.
The Obama Administration confirmed in a Sept. 12 letter to Congress that it will in fact issue an executive order on cybersecurity. The announcement comes following rumors that the White House was circulating a draft order to federal agencies the week of Sept. 4 and requests from legislators resigned to the fact that the 112th Congress will not pass "meaningful" cybersecurity legislation this year.
The White House released Sept. 14 a report (.pdf) to Congress outlining the impact of sequestration on the federal government. It calculates that sequestration would result in a 9.4 percent cut to non-exempt defense discretionary funding and an 8.2 percent cut to non-exempt, non-defense discretionary funding. It would also impose cuts of 2 percent to Medicare, 7.6 percent to other non-exempt non-defense mandatory programs, and 10 percent to non-exempt defense mandatory programs, says OMB.
President Barack Obama participated in his first " ask me anything ," or AMA, session on social media platform Reddit Aug. 29. The president's debut on the site caused such an influx of traffic the site temporarily crashed. Obama's visit to the Reddit community was something of a surprise. Forgoing the customary advance press release and White House blog post, the president instead announced via Twitter at 1:08 pm on Aug. 29, "Hey, everyone: I'll be taking your questions online today. Ask yours here: http://OFA.BO/gBof44 –bo."
The White House has published source code for its " We the People " online system for petitioning the Obama administration. Launched last year, We the People is an electronic vehicle enabling Americans to directly petition the White House and allowing the Oval Office to respond to those petitions. In an Aug. 23 blog post , White House Director of Digital Strategy Macon Phillips wrote "now anybody, from other countries to the smallest organizations to civic hackers can take this code and put to their own use."
The White House announced Aug. 23 the inaugural class of Presidential Innovation Fellows. The group of 18 private-sector professionals will work for 6 months on one of five "tough but tractable challenges" the administration says will "provide immediate benefits and cost-savings to American citizens, entrepreneurs and businesses." The launch of the fellows program was a requirement of the White House's Digital Government Strategy . Since the Presidential Innovation Fellows program was announced May 23, the White House received more than 700 applications, said Federal CTO Todd Park.
Streamlining paperwork and the number of appointed positions in government would speed up the inordinate amount of time it takes each president to stand up his administration, said panelists at an Aug. 2 event hosted by the Brookings Institute. "There are a number of just streamlining procedures and processes that can be put in place now that were not available 10 years ago," said Mack McLarty, former White house chief of staff for the Clinton administration.
The Obama administration July 26 issued (.pdf) a statement expressing strong support for the Cybersecurity Act of 2012, a revised bill introduced July 19 by Sens. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and three other co-sponsors.
Nearly 1000 megahertz of spectrum are ripe for sharing among federal and commercial users, says a July 20 report (.pdf) from the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. The report proposes a strategy that could leverage new technology for efficient spectrum use to create a "shared-use superhighway."
Work is underway on the governmentwide bring your own device, or BYOD, policy promised in the Digital Government Strategy .