Federal Drive Show Blog – August 6, 2013

This is the Federal Drive show blog. Here you can listen to our interviews, find more information about the guests on the show each day, as well as links to other stories and resources we discuss.

Today’s Interviews:


John Palguta
Vice President for Policy
Partnership for Public Service

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President Obama wants to develop an aggressive management agenda for his second term that delivers a smarter, more innovative and more accountable government for its citizens. So, what does successful management reform look like? How do you prioritize the issues at hand? The Partnership for Public Service and Booz Allen Hamilton are finalizing a report (out later this week) called, Building the Enterprise: Nine Strategies for a More Integrated, Effective Government. John Palguta is vice president for policy at the Partnership for Public Service and he joins us now.

Carlo Munoz
The Hill

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The State Department has told non-essential personnel at its Embassy in Yemen to leave the country. U.S. and allied diplomatic posts scattered throughout the Muslim world are closed this week. Intelligence officials say al-Qaida and its affiliates are plotting a terror attack. Carlo Munoz of the Hill newspaper has been following the story.

Rebecca Gambler
Director of Homeland Security and Justice Issues
Government Accountability Office

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Millions of visitors come to the United States each year. As non-residents, they can only stay so long under the law. But a new report suggests about 1 million foreign visitors stay past that deadline. Either that or the Homeland Security Department has a major accounting problem. Rebecca Gambler is director of Homeland Security and Justice Issues at the Government Accountability Office. She joined Emily to discuss the report she wrote.

Don Kettl
University of Maryland School of Public Policy

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Some agencies depend on Congress to appropriate money for their programs. Others generate their own revenue. The Postal Service has postage stamps. Several others, like the Food and Drug Administration or the Patent and Trademark Office, collect user fees. Companies that pay those fees argue they should be exempt from sequestration. The debate is heating up as we get closer to the end of the fiscal year. Don Kettl is dean of the University of Maryland School of Public Policy.

Susan Tsui Grundmann
Merit Systems Protection Board

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With hundreds of thousands of federal employees taking furlough days this summer, the Merit Systems Protection Board was expecting to see lots of furlough appeal cases. Employees have been working overtime. Now Board Chairman Susan Tsui Grundmann says the rate of appeals has exceeded the historical high.

Keith Alexander
National Security Agency

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National Security Agency Director General Keith Alexander was all business at the Black Hat cyber security conference in Las Vegas, even when a few members of the audience heckled him during the speech. It was clear Alexander wanted to clear up what he says are misconceptions about the NSA programs.

Robert Richardson
Editorial Director of Security Media Group

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You could be forgiven for thinking the recent cyber conferences in Las Vegas were a showdown between the National Security Agency and hackers. Some audience at the more buttoned-up Black Hat heckled NSA Chief Keith Alexander when he spoke about data collection programs. The other conference, Def Con, had asked government officials to stay away. Robert Richardson is editorial director at TechTarget’s Security Media Group. He was in Las Vegas and joins us now.

Joe Petrillo
Procurement Attorney

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Contractors will have a harder time living down their mistakes. The Defense Department, General Services Administration and NASA have published a final rule years in the making. It aims to standardize the way agencies evaluate contractors’ past performance. That means a mistake at one federal agency could kill your chances for work at another agency. We turn to procurement attorney Joe Petrillo for analysis in our weekly Legal Loop segment.

Heard Tom and Emily talk about another story during the show, but don’t see it here? Check out our daily federal headlines for the latest news affecting the federal community.