In Depth Show Blog – Aug. 26, 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.

Today’s guests:


Lauren Pitcher
Director of Communications
Energy Star Commercial Buildings Program, EPA

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The fourth Energy Star National Building Competition Battle of the Buildings is under way at the Environmental Protection Agency. Cutting waste and saving energy will earn one building top honors in the competition. EPA started the competition in 2010. Lauren Pitcher, director of communications for the EPA’s Energy Star Commercial Buildings and Industrial Plants program, says the competition has come a long way since it started.

John Streufert
Director of Federal Network Resilience
Homeland Security Department

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The next step toward continuous monitoring is coming from the General Services Administration and the Homeland Security Department. Agencies can buy from a five-year blanket purchase agreement for Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation.

Sharon Pickup
Director, Defense Capabilities and Management Issues
Government Accountability Office

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Training simulations are helping the Defense Department save money and maintain readiness at the same time. Sequestration’s extension into fiscal 2014 may mean more simulators instead of live training. Sharon Pickup, director of Defense Capabilities and Management Issues at the Government Accountability Office, is looking at the cost benefits of training simulators for the Army and Marine Corps and how to decide when to use them.

Also on the Show:

  • Today in the 3 p.m. hour, Francis listened to highlights from two separate events. The first — a Center for Strategic and International Studies event focused on ways agencies can cut down the cost of natural disasters and emergencies — where we heard from David Heyman, assistant secretary for policy at the Homeland Security Department. The second — a Brookings Institution event on enterprise leadership in the federal government. Adm. Thad Allen, former commandant of the Coast Guard, speaks about the new book, “Tackling Wicked Government Problems: A Practical Guide for Developing Enterprise Leaders.”
  • More than 6,000 civilian defense employees might lose their jobs if sequestration carries into fiscal 2014. According to planning documents obtained by Bloomberg News, about 1,500 might come from defense agencies and the majority will be from the Defense Contract Management Agency. The document is a draft and pre-decisional, but that would be on top of down sizing the military force strength, too. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel visited troops at a Marine Corps Air Station in Hawaii for a town meeting last week. While he didn’t talk specifically about the document he did say the current budget scenario doesn’t make the country look very good.

    View video of Hagel’s speech in Hawaii below.

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