Countdown: Egypt protests, Air Force workforce reduction

Today’s guests are:
Francis Rose, host, In Depth
Debra Roth, partner, Shaw, Bransford and Roth

Francis Rose’s stories
#3 Exclusive: DHS mandates HSPD-12 card use
From Federal News Radio:

Agencies must develop plans by March 31 to fully implement the use of secure identity cards under Homeland Security Presidential Directive-12.

Federal News Radio obtained a draft copy of the memo that sources say the Homeland Security Department could issue as early as Friday. The final memo details five steps agencies must take to make secure ID cards work on their computer networks and physical access control systems.


#2 DoD needs more workplace flexibility
From Federal News Radio:

Adm. Michael Mullen said he views creating a more flexible workplace in the Defense Department as a “strategic imperative” to the nation as a whole. Failing to accomplish that, he said, would lead to a flight of talent from the military.

“People ask me about the future of our military. I only use one metric,” he said. “We’re the most combat hardened, capable force we’ve ever been. Those young captains, those young 25-to-35 year-olds and their families – if we keep the right ones in, we’re going to be fine for decades to come. And the opposite is true as well. They have choices because they’re so extremely capable.”

#1 Involuntary force reduction coming to Air Force
From Federal News Radio:

It’s move up or you’re out at the Air Force. Seeking to thin the ranks of officers, the Air Force has announced an involuntary force reduction program for FY 2011.

Debra Roth’s stories
#3 Lawmaker proposes ban on TSA collective bargaining
From Government Executive:

A Senate lawmaker wants to bar transportation security officers from collective bargaining rights, citing national security concerns.

Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., on Wednesday introduced the Termination of Collective Bargaining for Transportation Security Administration Employees Act, an amendment to Federal Aviation Administration authorization legislation that would prevent more than 40,000 TSA workers from being granted collective bargaining rights. The amendment also would strip those rights from more than 10,000 additional TSA employees who currently have them.

#2 Bush whistle-blower protector faces jail
From Washington Post:

A federal judge has ruled that the former head of a federal whistle-blower protection office could face at least one month in prison for withholding information from congressional investigators, a decision that could derail a plea deal with prosecutors.

Scott J. Bloch pleaded guilty in April to criminal contempt of Congress for withholding that he ordered private technicians to “scrub” computer files at the Office of Special Counsel in December 2006.

#1 White House and Egypt Discuss Plan for Mubarak’s Exit
From New York Times:

The Obama administration is discussing with Egyptian officials a proposal for President Hosni Mubarak to resign immediately and turn over power to a transitional government headed by Vice President Omar Suleiman with the support of the Egyptian military, administration officials and Arab diplomats said Thursday.

Even though Mr. Mubarak has balked, so far, at leaving now, officials from both governments are continuing talks about a plan in which Mr. Suleiman, backed by Lt. Gen. Sami Enan, chief of the Egyptian armed forces, and Field Marshal Mohamed Tantawi, the defense minister, would immediately begin a process of constitutional reform.

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