Federal Drive Show Blog – April 17, 2013

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:

Solar panels at Fort Bliss, Texas


Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.)
Commerce-Justice-Science Subcommittee

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The Commerce Department’s leadership chart looks like Swiss cheese. Leaders have left some of its biggest agencies. There’s no chief financial officer either and Acting Secretary Rebecca Blank is leaving too. Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) chairs the Commerce-Justice-Science Subcommittee, which oversees Commerce’s budget. After a recent hearing on the department’s budget and possible furloughs, Wolf sent Blank a letter urging her to prompt the White House to nominate candidates. At the bottom, Wolf wrote in capital letters: “This is important.”

Jennifer Martinez
cybersecurity reporter
The Hill newspaper

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The House plans to vote today on a bill to help companies defend against cyber attacks. The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act or CISPA would encourage them to share cyber-threat data with the federal government and each other. It’s bipartisan and has support from major tech industry players. But President Barack Obama yesterday threatened to veto it.

Maj. Gen. Dana Pittard
Fort Bliss, Texas.

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It’s all systems go on the largest renewable energy project in the Defense Department’s history. The Army Corps of Engineers has given the go-ahead to build a solar farm at Fort Bliss, Texas. When it’s completed in two years, the 20-megawatt farm will power all of the division headquarters and then some.

From Our Reporters

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told lawmakers yesterday the Pentagon is way behind when it comes to developing an electronic health records system that works with the Department of Veterans Affairs’ system. Federal News Radio’s Jared Serbu reports, Hagel has ordered the defense department to rethink its approach.

It’s been more than two years since Congress passed and President Barack Obama signed the Plain Language Writing Act. It may be easier these days to understand federal documents. Agencies are doing a better job of writing in a way that the rest of us can understand. But could they do better? Robert Agnello, deputy chief in the Web and creative services division of the Defense Department’s TRICARE Management Activity, shares some tips with Federal News Radio executive editor Jason Miller.

Federal News Radio’s Tom Temin attended the CGP’s 2013 Spring Conference, interviewing multiple government acquisition professionals in attendance. Listen to their interviews here.


House approves FISMA modernization bill, two other cyber bills (Federal News Radio)

Hagel orders DoD to ‘restructure’ path toward integrated health record (Federal News Radio)

Request for Investigation and Complaint for Injunctive Relief: AT&T Inc., Verizon Wireless, Sprint Nextel Corp., and T-Mobile USA, Inc. (FTC)

Removal of Penalty for Breaking Appointments (Federal Register)

Letter from National Association of Postal Workers to Postmaster General Pat Donahoe (NAPS)

Senator: Police have suspect in ricin mailing (Federal News Radio)

Federal Agencies Obtain Training to Meet Requirements, but Have Limited Insight into Costs and Benefits of Training Investment (GAO)

Report: US footing greater bill for overseas bases (Federal News Radio)

WordPress Sites Targeted by Mass Brute-force Botnet Attack (US-CERT)

Tips, techniques to write in plain language (Federal News Radio)

Federal CIO Steven VanRoekel pushes agencies to save money by using shared services (Max.gov)