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  • Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton: Bill clears up claims process for some feds

    Two years ago, a federal appeals court ruled against a financial analyst and a military commissary employee who said they’d been summarily removed from their positions without being able to contest their agencies’ decisions before the Merit Systems Protection Board. At issue is a category of federal jobs called “noncritical sensitive.” Even though those workers don’t handle classifiedinformation, the government contends that airing their cases before MSBP could expose “sensitive” information — and the label now applies to about 200,000 Defense Department workers, according to two members of Congress who say they need more due process rights. Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va.) and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) introduced a bill this week to make clear that MSBP is allowed to hear those employees’ claims. Holmes Norton talked with Federal Drive with Tom Temin by phone about why the appeals court’s ruling needs to be overturned.

  • Tim McManus: New tools for hiring younger feds

    The government is big, with 2 million people in the civilian workforce. It’s also middle-aged. Only 7 percent are under 30. Now the Office of Personnel Managment has come out with something called the Pathways Toolkit to help agencies hire greater numbers of younger people. Tim McManus, the vice president of education and outreach at the Partnership for Public Service, told Federal Drive with Temin how it’s helping OPM develop the new tools.

  • Joe Weishaar: What went into winning WWI memorial design

    After a 6-month competition, the national commission in charge of building a new World War I memorial in Washington has picked a design. The new memorial will take the form of a partial transformation of Pershing Park in downtown Washington, D.C. That site is already a tribute to Gen. Joseph Pershing, the commander of American forces in Europe. In the new memorial, his statue will be joined by walls inscribed with quotes from key World War I figures and sculptures of rank and file soldiers for a total of 116,500 cubic feet of new architecture — one for every American who died in the war. Joe Weishaar is the young architect who won the competition. His design is called “the weight of sacrifice”. He talked with Federal Drive with Tom Temin about how the design came together, and what visitors will see when construction is finished.

  • Larry Allen: Learning to tolerate little failures to prevent big ones

    There’s failure and then there’s failure. Big and small. One way to prevent the big ones is to develop tolerance for the small ones along the way. That’s in part the idea behind a Pentagon drive to get more commercial innovation into its so-called third offset strategy. For what this means to contractors, Larry Allen, principal at Allen Federal Business Partners spoke to Federal Drive with Tom Temin about the topic.

  • John Neumann: Belt-tightening needed at Oak Ridge Institute

    It’s a big ticket item. Over five years, several big departments spent three quarters of a billion dollars to sponsor students and recent post-grads in science and engineering. They get to work in federal agencies like Defense, Energy and Health and Human Services. The program is called the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education. The Government Accountability Office took a look at the program and found some things that need tightening up. John Neumann, director of natural resources and environment issues at the GAO, told Federal Drive with Tom Temin about the Oak Ridge Institute and what GAO found there.

  • Keith Dominic: Things are heating up in the arctic region

    It’s the abode of everything from Santa Claus to Russian and Chinese warships. Several nations jut far enough up north to have coastlines and territory in the Arctic. For a variety of reasons, the arctic has become more strategically important to the United States and to the countries with which it shares that polar region. To help U.S. agencies operating there, the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency has been releasing non-classified data to anyone who wants to use it, public or private. Keith Dominic, chief of the Atlantic Maritime Division at the NGA, he spoke with Federal Drive with Tom Temin about this.

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