This is the In Depth show blog. Here you can listen to our interviews, find more information about the guests on the show each day, as well as links to other stories and resources we discuss. Jared Serbu, Federal News Radio’s defense reporter, is filling in for Francis Rose today.
On the show today:
Tim McManus Vice President for Education and Outreach Partnership for Public Service
Internships are a classic way to break into a top-tier organization, and federal agencies are no different. But sequestration might threaten your agency’s internship potential. However, there are ways to keep your recruiting pool filled with fresh talent, according to Tim McManus, vice president for Education and Outreach at the Partnership for Public Service.
Asif Khan Director of Financial Management and Assurance Issues Government Accountability Office
The latest official estimate on money lost through improper payments at the Defense Department stands at $1.1 billion. Given the scale of DoD’s budget, that’s actually not bad relatively speaking, especially compared against high-error programs. Medicare, for example, lost well over $40 billion to improper payments last year. On the other hand though, it turns out the Defense Department doesn’t actually know the scale of its improper payment problem, so the numbers it reports to OMB and Congress are likely suspect. In a new report, the Government Accountability Office finds pervasive weaknesses that keep DoD from accurately estimating its improper payments. Asif Khan, GAO’s director of Financial Management and Assurance Issues, joins In Depth with more.
The pressure on agencies to improve their cybersecurity is already paying off. The White House says the government saw significant improvements across all three cross-agency cybersecurity goals in the six months since they were established. The goals are to implement continuous monitoring, to strengthen Internet gateways and to use two-factor authentication to log onto federal networks. Andy Ozment, the senior director for cybersecurity in the Executive Office of the President, tells Federal News Radio Executive Editor Jason Miller how agencies are making federal networks and computers more secure.
Sequestration is forcing every agency to take a hard look at spending policies, and the Department of Justice is no exception. DoJ is absorbing a $1.6 budget cut and its fiscal 2014 budget request reflects that hard reality. Attorney General Eric Holder testified before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies yesterday. He says the fiscal 2014 budget should let the D-O-J to meet its normal law enforcement expectations.
The recent profiling scandal and latest uproar over conference spending is keeping the Internal Revenue Service in the Congressional hot seat. The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform called a number of IRS and inspector general employees to testify on past conference spending yesterday. Among them, Danny Werfel, the new acting IRS. He tells committee chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) the conference spending problem is really a vestige from the past.
The Senate Appropriations Committee is fielded a round of hearings this week on budget plans for fiscal 2014. One of those was the Department of Labor. Labor’s Acting Secretary Seth Harris testified before the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies yesterday. In his opening statement he tells subcommittee chairman Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) his department’s plan revolves around the Obama administration’s central goal.