In Depth Show Blog – May 29, 2013

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.

Jessica Wright
Acting Under Secretary for Personnel and Readiness
Department of Defense


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Furlough notices are on the way for civilian employees all across the Defense Department. Furloughs begin for those employees July 8. Jessica Wright, acting under secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, spoke with Francis about what comes next and why DoD made the decision to institute furloughs.

Steven Bucci
Director, Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies
Heritage Foundation

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Military leaders say they’re having trouble maintaining readiness during sequestration. A Heritage Foundation event recently examined the future of U.S. national security in light of current fiscal restraints. Steven Bucci, director of the Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies at the Heritage Foundation, spoke to Francis about the main themes that came out of the event.

Pentagon Solutions
Wednesdays, 3 p.m.

The Better Buying Power Initiative was introduced in 2010 at the Department of Defense. It’s aim was to help the agency make smarter and more cost-efficient decisions when buying products and services.

In 2012, the initiative was expanded to cover six key areas.

Frank Kendall, Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics; and Dr. Ash Carter, Deputy Secretary of Defense, recently gave an update on the agency’s Better Buying initiative at an event held by the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

On this week’s edition of our Pentagon Solutions show, host Francis Rose aired a portion of the event. You can watch an archived version of the full event here.

Also on the show:

From Our Reporters:

  • The Air Force is three years early on its goal to cut its use of aviation fuel by 10 percent. So the service is rolling out a more ambitious set of metrics for energy efficiency. It’s part of a new strategic energy plan officials published earlier this year. Dr. Kevin Geiss, deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force for Energy, talked about the latest plan with Federal News Radio’s Jared Serbu on this week’s edition of On DoD. Listen to the interview.
  • The General Services Administration has a new approach for agencies to buy technology products and services. GSA plans to launch reverse auctions for IT. In his latest edition of Inside the Reporter’s Notebook, Federal News Radio Executive Editor Jason Miller talks about how the reverse auctions work. Listen to the interview or read Jason’s Reporter’s Notebook.
  • You’ve heard about the dreaded retirement tsunami expected to hit the federal government. But what if it isn’t coming…ever? Federal News Radio’s special report, Retirement Conundrum, explores these miscalculated retirement predictions. Jeff Neal, the former chief human capital officer at the Homeland Security Department and senior vice president at ICF International, told Federal News Radio’s Jack Moore people spend too much time looking at the number of federal employees eligible to retire. Listen to what Neal had to say, as well as Jack’s conversation with Francis about his series. You can also read Jack’s article on the retirement tsunami mirage.
  • Changes to the Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan come after years of complaints that the structure of the plan isn’t fair to people who have only one other person in the house. That’s why the government came up with the “self plus one” option in the FEHBP. Federal News Radio Senior Correspondent Mike Causey spoke to Francis about why it’s rare to find a plan set up that way. Listen to the interview or read Mike’s column.
  • Open data advocates are worried about a possible loophole in the open data policy. The section would let agencies withhold data they believe could create a mosaic effect. The mosaic effect is the idea that multiple data sets taken one-by-one provide no private information. But taken all together, the information could shed light on personal or classified data. Steve VanRoekel, the federal chief information officer, sat down with reporters recently to talk about the open data policy and other issues. Federal News Radio’s Executive Editor Jason Miller was there. Listen to what VanRoekel had to say or read Jason’s article.
  • Success at IT spending reduction goals in the Navy are coming mostly through efficiencies. The Navy’s two-year-old plan was to cut IT spending by 25 percent. Since the budget picture isn’t getting any better, Federal News Radio’s Jared Serbu reports the service will turn to IT for even more cuts. Listen to Jared’s report or read his article.

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