Federal Drive Interviews — Oct. 18, 2012

This is the 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:

Tim ManningDeputy Administrator for National Preparedness, FEMA


It’s time for the Great Southeast Shake Out. Later today, the DC region will participate in a mass earthquake drill that’s happening along the East Coast. The Office of Personnel Management and FEMA are asking all agencies to participate.

Dr. Carolyn Clancydirector, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality at the Department of Health and Human Services

Developing more effective tools for healthcare begins with the collection of information and tedious research. Evidence-based Practice Centers are an important part of the process. Dr. Carolyn Clancy, director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality at the Department of Health and Human Services, talked about EPCs with Lauren Larson on this week’s Agency of the Month.

Read full story.

Conference Coverage: AFCEA Health IT Day

The Federal Drive broadcast live from the AFCEA Health IT Day in Bethesda, Md. Co-anchor Tom Temin spoke with federal senior executives and IT professionals to discuss best practices around IT program management, acquisition and the budget process.

TBI treatment improves after 10 years of war


DoD Report

  • The Army is offering early retirement to midgrade officers. Gerald Purcell, the Army’s enlisted personnel policy integrator, said you may be eligible if you have between 15 and 20 years of service and are not moving up in grade. If you take the offer, you will receive slightly less in retirement benefits than otherwise. But Purcell said this was a better deal for soldiers than involuntary separation. He said the qualitative selection board would identify eligible soldiers. They are quality officers, he said, but with skills that are excess to the Army’s needs. Soldiers picked for involuntary separation will have a year to take this early retirement package instead. The offer is part of the Army’s plan to trim 80,000 positions by the end of fiscal 2017.
  • There’s more turnover in the Pentagon’s personnel office. The woman at the top, Erin Conaton, is taking leave to address a personal health issue. Conaton moved from the Air Force to the undersecretary of defense in January. She stepped in after her predecessor, Clifford Stanley, resigned amid allegations of mismanagement. While Conaton is away, the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs Jessica Wright will fill in. The undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness advises Secretary Panetta on all matters concerning recruitment, service members’ career development, military health care and pay and benefits.
  • Defense Department employees in Europe could be getting some fat bills. The Stars and Stripes reports: about 2,000 civilians might have gotten allowances for housing by mistake. They may have to repay years’ worth of lodging expenses. European Command said they may have misinterpreted a rule defining who gets housing allowances and who doesn’t. Federal rules say locally-hired employees must have worked for only one non-government employer overseas before joining the government.

Cybersecurity Update

  • A White House-led study of telecommunications equipment has found no clear evidence that Chinese companies are helping their government spy on the United States. Reuters reports the review does not completely exonerate Huawei, a company that has been the target of congressional investigations and hearings. The researchers found weaknesses in the company’s networking gear. Those could pose security risks. But the experts disagree on whether the company deliberately created those vulnerabilities.