In Depth interviews – July 12

On the In Depth show blog, you can listen to the interviews, find more information about the guests on the show each day and links to additional resources.

This is the In Depth 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:

Bill DouganPresident, National Federation of Federal Employees

After a petition drive which garnered over 126,000 signatures, it appears thousands of temporary seasonal firefighters will soon be eligible to buy into the Federal Employee Health Benefit Program.

Despite the danger of what they do, many of them were not eligible before because of their employment status. So what will this mean not only for the firefighters and their families?

Bill Dougan, the president of the National Federation of Federal Employees Union, discusses what will change for these workers.

Capt. Mark VandroffU.S. Navy

Last month, the Navy held a ceremony to recognize some of its best and brightest acquisition leaders.

One of the winners was the Navy team in charge of managing the fleet’s acquisition program for the DDG-51 line of destroyers. Capt. Mark Vandroff is the program manager for the DDG-51 program, a class that’s been serving in the Navy fleet since the early 1990s. But the Navy’s still building them at two separate shipyards — one of the reasons the program was able to win the Navy award for competition.

Ramsey SulaymanLegislative associate, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America

The Veterans Skills to Jobs Act has passed Congress and will be signed by President Barack Obama.

The measure is designed to make it easier for military members to translate their certifications earned while serving the country to the civilian workforce. The legislation will open more than 70 jobs in the federal government to veterans without needing federal licenses or certifications.

Ramsey Sulayman, a legislative associate with the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, discusses the new legislation.

Read Sulayman’s blog post

Todd HarrisonSenior Fellow for Defense Budget Studies, Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments

Former Defense secretary Robert Gates used to frequently say personnel costs are eating the Defense Department alive. If those costs stay on their current trajectory, pay and benefits for servicemembers will crowd out everything else in the DoD budget within just the next few decades.

But a new report takes a relatively novel approach to the military personnel conundrum: Asking servicemembers themselves which benefits they actually care about.

Todd Harrison, the senior fellow for defense budget studies at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, authored the study, “Rebalancing Military Compensation: An Evidence Based Approach.

This story is part of Federal News Radio’s daily DoD Report. For more defense news, click here.

Steve CaldwellDirector of Homeland Security and Justice Issues, GAO

In the past few years, the Homeland Security Department has sent thousands of security surveys to critical infrastructure companies. DHS is assessing their standards, finding vulnerabilities and prioritizing risk.

But when the Government Accountability Office took a look at those records, they found the survey databases themselves weren’t up to par, according to the findings of a recent report. Steve Caldwell, the director of Homeland Security and Justice Issues at GAO, discusses recommendations for improving the survey.

Read the GAO report

Frank FigliuzziAssistant Director of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division

The FBI says $13 billion in privately owned intellectual property will flow out of U.S. companies and into foreign countries as a result of economic espionage this year.

And the agency says it’s getting worse, partly because of the global economic slowdown. Foreign countries see more value in stealing knowledge when their economies are on the skids.

Frank Figluizzi, the FBI’s assistant director for counterintelligence, tells In Depth most of the espionage is sponsored by governments themselves — not overseas companies.

This story is part of Federal News Radio’s daily Cybersecurity Update. For more cybersecurity news, click here.

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