In Depth interviews – July 17

This is the In Depth show blog. Here you can listen to the interviews, find more information about the guests on the show each day and links to additional resources.

Today’s guests:

Mary SantiagoDirector, Veteran Employment Services Office, VA


Shrinking hiring times at your agency is still a high priority for the administration and for the Office of Personnel Management. So is hiring veterans. The Department of Veterans Affairs is building a new line of business to help you bring more vets into your agency, faster. Mary Santiago leads the Veteran Employment Services Office at VA.

Santiago is one of six winners of the 2012 Causey Awards. She discussed VA’s success and how the office will make it available to other agencies.

Learn more about her nomination.

See the full list of Causey Award winners.

Tom ShoopEditor-in-Chief, Government Executive

When you hear the term “gestapo”, what do you first think of? Chances are, it’s not the FDA or IRS, both of which have recently been characterized as such, and not by who you would think.

The Internal Revenue Service was recently compared to Adolf Hitler’s secret police for the increased role they will have as part of enforcing the Affordable Care Act by Maine Republican Gov. Paul LePage. He apologized for the remark — to the Jewish community, not federal workers. More recently, Republican Iowa Sen.Chuck Grassley has called officials at the Food and Drug Administration the same for monitoring the emails of their employees.

Tom Shoop, the editor-in-chief of Government Executive, wrote about the comparisons on his GovExec blog.

Steve KelmanProfessor of Public Management, Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government

Was the GSA scandal really scandalous? Steve Kelman, a professor at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and a former administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, reflected on the fallout to the lavish spending at the General Services Administration in a recent Federal Computer Week column.

Kelman said he was at first hesitant to write the column because of the strong emotional response it would likely garner. But he said he felt compelled to write it because, “the civil servants are really getting a bad rap.”

Full coverage of the Shakeup at GSA

Dan GoureVice President, Lexington Institute

Drones are one of the line items in the DoD budget that — opposite many other items — is growing. Domestic agencies are adding more drones too, including the agencies that monitor our borders.

Daniel Goure, vice president of the Lexington Institute, discusses the growing use of unmanned aerial vehicles by DHS. Goure recently told Phoenix public radio DHS is actually behind the curve in adopting drones.

“We’ve done as much as we can do on the surface and so you have to go into the air. And we’re going to have to increasingly have to go into the air in order to be effective,”

Bill PhillipsPrincipal, KPMG

The Obama administration is committed to shared-services strategy. Implementing, though, is a different story.

But five specific steps will make it easier.

Bill Phillips, a principal at KPMG and a member of the Defense Business Board, co-authored a chapter in a new book, “Governing to Win” about expanding the use of shared services.

Also on the show:

Cybersecurity chief urges action by Congress
The head of the Pentagon’s Cyber Command, Army Gen. Keith Alexander, last week called for swift action in Congress to sort out roles, standards and authorities for government agencies charged with defending against destructive computer attacks. (Click to listen to Alexander’s remarks at an American Enterprise Institute forum.)

GSA freezes hiring, suspends most SES bonuses

Clock already ticking on automatic cuts

Navy begins live-fire training in Pacific Ocean

Vote nears on Senate cyber bill

FBI tests mobile vulnerabilities