Federal Drive interviews – Oct. 11, 2012

Danielle IvoryReporter, Bloomberg News

More than two dozen agencies have outsourced parts of the FOIA request process to contractors. The practice increased by 40 percent since 2009. The Obama administration promised to usher in a new era of openness in the federal government. But rejections of FOIA requests have also risen sharply in the last four years. Transparency advocates say control of what gets released should stay in the hands of federal employees.

Read the story.

Bakul PatelSenior Policy Advisor, Center for Devices and Radiological Health, FDA


Smartphone users have tens of thousands of health-related apps they can download. Everything from calorie counters to tips on overcoming depression. But on the Internet, nobody knows if you’re a quack. So the FDA is starting to take a look at the quality of mobile health apps. But that’s a daunting task for an agency already stretched thin.

Read more:

California Rep. proposes FDA Office of Mobile Health (Government Health IT)


Cybersecurity Update

A new survey finds nearly one in five Americans say they’ve been victims of online crime. They say they’ve been bullied online, had their personal information or data stolen or been tricked by fake auctions. They’ve also been contacted by email stalkers or others who make them feel uncomfortable. Anti-virus maker McAfee and the National Cyber Security Alliance released the survey to highlight cyber crime and law enforcement. Alliance board members briefed officials from the Department of Homeland Security and Secret Service in Miami yesterday. They discussed best practices for handling cyber crimes like credit-card skimming, data breaches, viruses and malware. October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month. (Stay Safe Online)

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

DoD Report

President Obama has nominated Marine Gen. John Allen to become the NATO supreme allied commander. Allen is currently the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan. If confirmed by the Senate, Allen would succeed Adm. Jim Stavridis in the spring. Allen took over in Afghanistan in July 2011. President Obama says he has served with distinction in the critical phase before U.S. troops prepare to withdraw. Allen would be replaced in Afghanistan by Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, now the assistant Marine commandant. (Federal News Radio)

Military acquisition folks may have wasted $390 million because they failed to compete contracts. The Defense Department inspector general found the services failed to follow guidance on 31 — or more than a third — of their single-bid contracts. It says managers should have monitored their commands better. But the IG also faults them for letting deadlines slip by. For example, they did not re-compete four out of every five contract modifications within the three-year limit. Managers failed to check whether staff had properly coded other contracts. It turns out staff got that wrong a quarter of the time. (DoD Inspector General)

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