Federal Drive interviews – July 27

This is the In Depth/Federal Drive 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:

Ken WainsteinPartner, Cadwalader, Wickersham and Taft


A post-Sept. 11 law that made it easier for federal agents to eavesdrop on conversations is set to expire. The White House is lobbying Congress to renew the FISA Amendments Act but some lawmakers wish the law would just disappear. The director of National Intelligence recently admitted that agents had used the FISA Amendments Act to spy on law-abiding Americans and had violated their constitutional rights at least once. A similar controversy dogged George W. Bush’s presidency. Ken Wainstein was assistant attorney general for national security under Bush. He defended the act and told Federal Drive that it enables the intelligence community to keep up with today’s technology.

Government acknowledges one-time surveillance problem

John BerryDirector, Office of Personnel Management

Two years have passed since President Barack Obama issued an executive order to boost the number of disabled people working for the government. He told agencies to collectively hire 100,000 more people with disabilities by 2015. A new report by the Office of Personnel Management shows agencies are trying. Together they employ more full-time workers with disabilities than at any time in the past 20 years. But they’ll have to pick up the pace to meet the president’s goal. OPM Director John Berry tells Federal Drive that he is optimistic.

Feds make progress in disability hiring, but lofty goal looms large

Thad JuszczakDirector Global Public Sector, Grant Thornton

If ever there was a golden age for the federal budget, it certainly isn’t now. And that has chief financial officers challenged like never before. Consulting firm Grant Thornton recently asked more than 100 CFOs and other federal financial leaders about what’s working and what isn’t. Thad Juszczak, director of Grant Thornton’s Global Public Sector, told Federal Drive the President’s effort to cut waste wasn’t an affective use of time and resources as finance were busy compiling reports that didn’t contribute their agency’s mission. His survey also found that financial managers aren’t integrated well into programming and services, making it more difficult for them to justify the need for funding from Congress.

Panel: Budget preparation best practices

It’s that time of year when federal agency managers are dealing with three budgets at once. They’re planning for end of year 2012 activities. They’re awaiting Congress on the 2013 final budget. And they’re preparing submissions to the Office of Management and Budget for their 2014 budgets.

Federal News Radio wanted to know about the latest thinking and best practices in budget preparation and financial management — especially in hard-to-predict times like these.

Panelists were:

  • Owen Barwell, Managing Director, Global Public Sector, Grant Thornton LLP, and former Chief Financial Officer at the Energy Department
  • Nani Coloretti, Acting Assistant Secretary for Management & Deputy Assistant Secretary for Management and Budget, Treasury Department

Read more and listen to panel discussion.

Also on the show:

U.S. report says Iraq rebuilders died by hundreds

Defense cuts could hit civilian workforce

Senate advances measure to improve cybersecurity