Federal Drive interviews – Oct. 1, 2012

Owen BarwellManaging Director, Global Public Sector, Grant Thornton

Today’s the first day of a brand new fiscal year. It slipped in without a lot of fanfare. Maybe that’s because for the first time in several years, there was no threat of a government shutdown. Still, one group of people have been busy: chief financial officers. Barwell is the former CFO of the Energy Department.

Jim SnyderReporter, Bloomberg Government

President Barack Obama’s campaign to give the public easier access to federal records may be one of the best-known management initiatives of his term. But it doesn’t seem like agencies are getting the message. Snyder asked 20 agencies to fulfill Freedom of Information Act requests. Only one did so by the legal deadline.


Read Snyder’s story.

Doug NierleProgram Manager, Merit Systems Protection Board

One in eight federal employees say they’ve observed violence at work. They’ve seen attacks, threats, harassment, intimidation and bullying at their agencies. But there’s perhaps a more disturbing fact: most perpetrators are current or former colleagues. These findings come from a new report by the Merit Systems Protection Board.

Mary KiczaAssistant Administrator for Satellite and Information, NOAA

A new European satellite is out there — somewhere — in space, helping forecasters predict the weather. It’s part of a cooperative agreement between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and a European satellite group called Eumestat. Taken together, the international fleet gives most of the data used for weather analysis worldwide. Kicza explains how the program is pushing the frontiers of weather forecasting.


DoD Report

Two Americans were killed in Afghanistan on Sunday, bringing the U.S. death toll in the Afghanistan War to 2,000. An unnamed U.S. official told Reuters that a soldier and civilian contractor were killed in what may have been another “insider attack” by a member of the Afghan security force. But now it is believed their deaths were caused by a confusion after insurgent gunfire. More than 50 members of the NATO-led coalition have been killed by Afghan forces in so-called green-on-blue attacks this year. (Reuters)

The bring- your-own-device wave stops at the door to the Pentagon. In fact, it may be years before Defense Department employees and troops will be allowed to use personal smartphones for work. That’s according to Robert Carey, the DoD’s deputy chief information officer. Military Times reports, Carey says DoD hasn’t cracked the code on secure mobile device management. Leaders worry about safety of classified information set to, or stored on, smartphones. And Carey says personal identification still can’t be safely verified on the devices. He says DoD hasn’t ruled out smart phones, just those not issued by the government. (Military Times)

These stories are part of Federal News Radio’s daily DoD Report. For more defense news, click here.

Cybersecurity Update

The woman in charge of the largest civilian agency in the federal government does not use e-mail. Janet Napolitano, secretary of Homeland Security, describes herself as very secure because she has no e- mail accounts of her own. She spoke at a cyber security summit organized by National Journal. Her comments were reported in the New York Daily News. Napolitano cited what she called a whole host of reasons for not using e-mail, but offered no specifics. She’s not the first. A spokesman for former DHS secretary Michael Chertoff says he kept off e-mail during his tenure in the Bush administration. (New York Daily News)

The Defense Information Systems Agency is killing off a well-known cybersecurity tool. It is saying goodbye to the Windows Gold Disk project by the end of this year. Windows Gold Disk lets system administrators scan networks for cyber weaknesses and apply security patches. But it forces them to manually run each scan on each individual system. DISA says users can move to enterprise-level scanning solutions.It says organizations can start using the Host Based Security System and the Security Content Automation Protocol Compliance Checker. DISA has set up a frequently-asked-questions page on its website. (DISA)

These stories are part of Federal News Radio’s daily Cybersecurity Update. For more cybersecurity news, click here.