Latest posts


A secure cloud computing event -- for real

The attendees of a morning-long symposium on secure cloud computing April 13 were taken by surprise when they had to walk through metal detectors under the watchful eyes of uniformed and plainclothes law enforcement officers to get in. The reason: The event was held at the Willard Hotel, just two blocks from the White House and part of the area cordoned off for two days for the Nuclear Security Summit.

The heads of state of Germany and India were among the dignitaries staying at the Willard. Greg Gianforte, chief executive officer of cloud-computing provider Right Now, and keynote speaker at the event, told the audience: "We believe this is the most secure event in the history of government computing."

Posted on Jun 14, 2013 at 12:56 PM0 comments


Posted on Jun 14, 2013 at 8:40 AM0 comments


Doan defends Bush on conference spending

Lurita Doan, former head of the General Services Administration, reappeared on the GSA scene April 9 as a guest on the Fox News Channel’s Fox & Friends morning show to combat the Obama administration.

She came to the defense of the George W. Bush administration as a scandal broke out recently about a lavish conference hosted by her former agency in 2010 in Las Vegas.

Doan said the Obama administration has “diverted attention” away from the scandal by blaming the previous administration.

“They love to blame George Bush for all of their problems,” Doan said on the show. Video is available. “The fact of the matter is that there can be no comparison whatsoever, and when you look at it, it’s one of these situations where there’s simply no way that you can excuse the kinds of excesses that went on.”

She was reacting to a statement a White House official had given Fox News that apparently contrasted the Obama administration's response with Bush's. "At least we have taken, bold, swift forceful action to hold those responsible accountable and put in place protections to make sure this never happened again,” the official said.

Doan resigned from GSA in 2008 after her own scandals, including frequent dust-ups with the same inspector general whose work led to Johnson's resignation.

Posted by Matthew Weigelt on Apr 09, 2012 at 12:56 PM0 comments


A senator's inauspicious rise

Former Sen. George Mitchell told an audience at the FOSE trade show that his ascent to the Senate was not necessarily auspicious.

Mitchell, who delivered the morning keynote address April 4, was serving as a federal judge in Maine when Sen. Edmund Muskie resigned to become President Jimmy Carter's secretary of state in 1980. Maine Gov. Joseph Brennan appointed Mitchell to the vacant seat, offering him some time to think it over.

Mitchell told the crowd that he consulted with his two brothers, with whom he had always been competitive. Both tried to discourage him, he said. One told him, "We don't know how you got to be a judge, let alone a senator," at least according to Mitchell's possibly embellished humorous retelling.

Mitchell accepted the offer and met then-Senate Majority Leader Robert Byrd on the floor of the Senate for a quick swearing-in during the normal course of Senate business. It happened so quickly that "Nobody knew what had gone on, not even senators who were standing a few feet away," he said.

Right after the swearing-in, the bill that was under debate came up for vote. Mitchell told the audience that he now holds the Senate record for the shortest time between swearing-in and first vote: two minutes.

The day ended, he said, with an invitation to deliver a keynote speech to 3,000 certified public accountants. After his new assistant disillusioned him of the notion that the convention had held the spot open for him -- they'd actually had several speakers cancel -- he fretted that he knew nothing about their requested topic, the tax code.

His assistant set him straight on that score too, he said, saying: "You are now a U.S. Senator. You will regularly be called on to speak on subjects you know nothing about."
 

Posted by Michael Hardy on Apr 05, 2012 at 12:56 PM2 comments


Adm. Eric Olson on wisdom from Jimmy Buffett

During a keynote presentation at the FOSE Conference, Adm. Eric Olson, former commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command, projected an image of a painting showing prehistoric people gathered around a campfire. The painting was “The Storyteller,” by Martin Pate.

“It reminds me that no man should tell another man’s stories,” he said. “Jimmy Buffett says, don’t try to describe a KISS concert if you’ve never seen one.”

It may seem incongruous for a decorated four-star admiral to talk about the garish rock band and the laconic folk/rock singer, but he’s right. The sentiment about the need to experience KISS before talking about it is drawn from the lyrics to Jimmy Buffett’s song “Mañana.”

Olson also projected a slide showing five military personnel dressed in various kinds of combat gear --  fatigues, a flight suit, camouflage.

“This looks like a scene from the Wizard of Oz,” he said in leading up the point the slide makes. “Or a Village People concert.”

Posted by Michael Hardy on Apr 05, 2012 at 12:56 PM0 comments


Line of sight: A buzzword defined

Scott Cameron, senior vice president at R3 Government Solutions, advised an audience at FOSE to create "lines of sight" in organizations so that all employees understand how their work contributes to the organization's mission.

To illustrate the point, he told a story about President John F. Kennedy visiting a NASA facility after the race to reach the moon had begun.  Encountering a janitor, Kennedy asked what his job was.

"I'm here to put a man on the moon," the janitor said.

"Now that's a line of sight," Cameron said. "He's there to put a man on the moon, not to sweep the floor."

It's an old story, one that's been incorporated into business speeches time and again to illustrate principles of self-worth and inspired employees. It may be apocryphal. But it is a good one.

Posted on Apr 04, 2012 at 12:56 PM1 comments


Defense Systems eNewsletters