Federal Drive interviews – Nov. 15

Jennifer NorrisVictim Advocate, Military Rape Crisis Center

The Air Force is calling for reform in a new report on sexual assault. The proposal follows an internal investigation into a widespread scandal at Lackland Air Base near San Antonio. More than a dozen male instructors are accused of harassing, abusing and even raping nearly 50 female recruits. As the service released its report yesterday, critics were quick to say it’s not enough.

Gen. Charles WaldDirector, Deloitte’s Department of Defense Practice

Instead of crying wolf over sequestration budget cuts, the military ought to do a little navel gazing. It needs to find ways to get more defense for a given dollar, and make better use of cheap but effective technologies like network-enabled drones. Who says? Someone who ought to know. Gen. Charles Wald is a four-star in the Air Force who retired as deputy commander of U.S. European Command. Now he leads the Defense Practices group at Deloitte. He shares his view of what he calls the new normal.



Cybersecurity Update

Cybersecurity legislation appears to be dead in the 112th Congress. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said the comprehensive legislation ran out of lives after it failed to gain sixty votes to end cloture. He called the bill, originally sponsored by outgoing Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.), the most important piece of legislation to the intelligence community and Pentagon. Reid blamed opposition from the Chamber of Commerce, whose position was taken up by Senate Republicans. GOP members objected to giving Homeland Security regulatory power over private critical infrastructure, a key provision in the bill. (Federal News Radio)

NASA says someone broke into an employee’s locked car and stole an agency laptop and official documents. Officials say the laptop contained records of sensitive personal information on NASA employees and contractors. Associate Deputy Administrator Rick Keegan says the computer was password-protected but did not have whole-disk encryption software. That means hackers could access the data. In an internal memo posted on SpaceRef.com, Keegan tells employees that his team is investigating the incident. In the meantime, NASA employees cannot remove laptops with unencrypted sensitive information from agency buildings. Keegan says NASA has hired data-breach specialist ID Experts to notify and help victims. The break-in happened at NASA headquarters in Washington. (SpaceRef.com)

DoD Report

President Obama signed a secret directive letting the military hit back at cyber attacks. It covers atacks against networks in government and in the private sector. The Washington Post reports, Obama signed the secret Presidential Policy Directive 20 in October. Sources tell the Post, the directive sets out strict guidance for agencies confronting threats in cyberspace. It more closely defines offensive and defensive actions. And it specifies a process for protecting the personal data of U.S. and foreign citizens during cyber operations. The policy updates a 2004 presidential directive at a time when many officials worry that cyber attacks may become more damaging than other forms of terrorism. (Washington Post)

The Air Force has come up with 46 recommendations to fix its basic training program. The program has been marred by sexual abuse of female enlistees by male trainers. The Air Force will introduce more oversight, better leadership development and ways to change culture within the training ranks. When the Air Force can get enough female trainers certified, it will establish four-member training teams. Each team will have at least one women. The Air Force will also establish a training oversight council, to be headed by a three-star general. A study of conditions at Lackland Air Force Base was commissioned by General Edward Rice, commander of the Air Education and Training Command. (Air Force)