Election Special: Federal Drive Interviews — Nov. 7, 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.

Audio will be added later today.

Today’s guests:


Po Collinschairwoman, Ethics Committee, National Contract Management Association

In the contracting world, sometimes ethical standards are obvious: Don’t take a bribe. But what about when you become friends with people within your industry? How do you make sure you’re beyond reproach?

See more coverage of NCMA Conference

Don Kettldean of the school of Public Policy, University of Maryland.

Federal employees, especially at the management level, always have a unique interest in national election results. Yesterday it was the re-election of President Obama, plus a repeat of Democrats holding the Senate and Republicans holding the House. For insight on what you can expect, we turn to Don Kettl, dean of the school of Public Policy at the University of Maryland.

Read more:

Feds should expect minor tweaks in Obama’s second term

With few changes from election, gridlock likely to continue?

Alexander BoltonSenior staff writer, The Hill

Republicans missed their chance to gain control of both houses of Congress last night and with it control of committees affecting federal workers. But that doesn’t mean there won’t be any changes at all. Senior Staff Writer Alexander Bolton of The Hill discusses the election results and what they mean for committee leadership.

Craig Karchprogram manager special agent, ICE

Photo: ICE

Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents see all sorts of things cross U.S. borders.

Recently, they returned 4,000 ancient artifacts they had seized from smugglers to the items’ rightful owner: the government of Mexico.

J. David Coxnational president, Association of Federal Employees

The American Federation of Government Employees union worked hard for the re-election of President Barack Obama. And yesterday, it got its wish.


DoD Report

  • Any defense contractor hoping to sell its company should make sure it settles up with the Defense Department. A four-year-long backlog of audits at the Defense Contract Audit Agency could hinder mergers and acquisitions. A local consultant, Mitchell Martin of the McLean Group, warned companies in a Washington Business Journal column. He wrote, once those audits are completed, companies could find they overcharged the Pentagon and had to return the money. In today’s tight fiscal environment, he expected the Defense Department to go after every penny. That was not an attractive scenario for a would-be buyer. Martin said they were doing more thorough investigations on the companies they were considering acquiring. He recommended would-be sellers push the DCAA to complete its audit so it could close out its contracts.

Cybersecurity Update

  • The General Services Administration is working overtime to get the first set of cloud-computing services approved. The Federal Risk Authorization and Management Program, or Fed-RAMP, has been up and running for five months. GSA’s Kathy Conrad oversees Fed-RAMP. She says 50 companies and agency data centers applied for cybersecurity certification. Six are under active evaluation. Conrad expects three of them to receive approval by Dec. 31. GSA holds a Fed-RAMP webinar today to explain the review process to vendors.
  • A Congressional panel is calling China the “most threatening” force in cyberspace. Bloomberg News got a draft copy of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission’s annual report to Congress. In it, the panel said China’s persistence and its notable recent achievements posed growing challenges to computer users. In particular, it said, penetration of defense systems threaten the U.S. military’s readiness and ability to operate. U.S. officials said Chinese hackers have tried to disrupt U.S. satellites, weapons and navigation systems.