Commissioner of GSA's Public Building Service Speaks at GAB Forum

This morning Johns Hopkins University and REI Systems welcomed Norman Dong, Commissioner of GSA's Public Building Service, as the speaker for this month's Government Analytics Breakfast (GAB) Forum.  Mr. Dong discussed how GSA uses data analytics to manage one of the largest asset inventories in the U.S.

Mr. Dong spoke about how the use of relatively simple analytic techniques has helped GSA dramatically reduce the federal footprint in terms of both space and energy use.  By embracing a flexible benchmark of 150 square feet per employee, GSA has been able to make smarter leasing and purchasing decisions that provide workspaces to meet agency needs without wasteful spending.  Further, by breaking the mentality that an agency should remain in one location for decades, GSA has been able to secure more favorable lease replacements and renewals.

In the area of energy consumption, a data analysis revealed that several systems were not being turned off when agencies were closed (such as on federal holidays).  As a result of the analysis, GSA was able to remedy the problem and save a substantial amount of money.

Mr. Dong emphasized that "you can't manage what you don't measure."  In recent years, GAS has increasingly relied on data analyses to guide its decision making and, through this approach, produced significant savings.

A recording of the event can be viewed here.

The next meeting of the GAB Forum will be held on November 18 (8:30-10 am). 


European Union and Democracy: After the Greek Crisis

Last Tuesday morning, the Center for Advanced Governmental Studies, together with the Student Government Association hosted a roundtable discussion on the European Union and Democracy: After the Greek Crisis, with keynote speaker, Klaus Welle, Secretary General of the European Parliament.  Also on the panel were Desmond Dinan, Professor of Public Policy and Jean Monnet Chair in European Public Policy at George Mason University and Michelle Egan, Professor and Jean Monnet Chair at the school of International Services at American University.

Mr. Welle led off the discussion with a number of key points about the importance of the vertical and horizontal distribution of power within the European Union.  He spoke about the possibility of integration through legislation although warned about “integration on the brink.”  Mr. Welle also highlighted that from a historical and comparative perspective, European integration was moving “at the speed of light” and that the EU still had time to beat the record of the United States! He then spoke about the importance of democratic quality throughout the legislative cycle and discussed recent measures such as the new lead candidate system for the election of the president of the European Commission.

Following on from this Michelle Egan took to the podium to discuss European democratic legitimacy in the context of the Greek crisis and what she saw as some of the main issues facing Europe.  She spoke how a focus on Greece misses the politics in the rest of Europe and advised the audience not just to look at the surge of Euroscepticism but also the pressures of secession and the rise of sub-national populism. She pointed out that questions of democratic legitimacy were issues well before the crisis.

Desmond Dinan then spoke, pointing out that the Greek Crisis was not yet over and that there was likely to be a chronic EMU crisis for some time to come. Nevertheless he was sanguine about the prospects for both Greek and European democracy.  He argued that the Greek referendum served as a safety valve and that the Greek crisis was actually an example of democracy at work.   He argued that the cynicism and democracy fatigue were normal and that the rise of the far right and far left, was perhaps the main challenge in Europe because of its corrosive effect on democracy, but that is in fact a global phenomenon. Speaking to specific EU problems, he felt that absence of a shared demos, identity and shared experience within the EU was still problematic. 

These thoughtful speeches were followed by a number of questions from members of the audience, asking about:  the bailout of European banks, European unemployment, the immigration crisis, corporate tax competition, and the Greek crisis as a Greek problem or a European problem


William McNulty MA Gov Alum Selected for Presidential Scholar Program 

William McNulty, MA in Government 2009 and recipient of the JHU Center for Advanced Governmental Studies Alumni Award 2011 was featured prominently in the Presidential Scholars Program video (click on video to view) for his work on Team Rubicon a global disaster relief organization that he and another co-Marine founded in 2010.  Congratulations to William for his recognition as a young leader and his work on Team Rubicon.  To learn more about Team Rubicon, please click here.


Why we need a 3 year college degree

Read Professor Paul Weinstein's story at CNN about why a three year college degree would help rein in college costs. Together with Will Marshall of the Progressive Policy Institute he suggests that restructuring the curriculum to a three year program would save thousands and boost completion rates.







Congratulations to new Bryce Harlow Students!

We are delighted to announce that two of our students, Kirsten Hunter, MA in Government, and Arya Birdie, MA in Public Management, are recipients of the highly competitive Bryce Harlow Foundation fellowships.  Since 1985, the Bryce Harlow Foundation has awarded fellowships to highly motivated, part-time graduate students to support them in their pursuit of careers in lobbying, government relations or public affairs. The yearly fellowship is awarded to graduate students pursuing careers in professional advocacy through lobbying and governmental relations.   The application process for next year begins in the spring, and we will send information then for those interested in applying next year. For more information about the fellowship please also visit the  Bryce Harlow Foundation website at:


This Year’s Recipients:

Kirsten is a Research Associate at the DC-based lobbying firm Peck Madigan Jones, and focuses on a wide portfolio of energy and education clients.. Previously, she worked for a Boston-based marketing firm specializing in online political advertising as well as for former Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts.  Within the Government program, her concentration is Political Communication.


Arya, is the Regulatory Testing Policy Specialist at the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. Ms. Birdie promotes human-relevant alternatives to the use of animals in toxicity tests for chemicals, cosmetics, pesticides, and other products through outreach to legislators, companies, federal agencies, and other stakeholders.


Congratulations to both!