In Depth Show Blog – Jan. 8, 2013

This is the In Depth 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 guests:

Nora Bensahel
Co-director, Responsible Defense program
Center for New American Security

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Budget cuts could be an opportunity for the Defense Department to strike a new fiscal and military balance. Nora Bensahel is co-director of the Responsible Defense program at the Center for New American Security. She and her co-director, retired Army Lt. Gen. David Barno, are trying to help DoD find that balance in a new project called Responsible Defense.

Jared Serbu
DoD Reporter
Federal News Radio

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The Army says the budget agreement will go some way toward easing the pain of sequestration. But even with that relief, it will be 2020 before the Army digs out of the military readiness problems sequestration caused.

Mike Causey
Senior Correspondent
Federal News Radio

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Your Thrift Savings Plan account looks really good right now if you have most of your money in the stock funds. The C, S and I funds are all way up from a year ago after a very good year in 2013. What’s down though? Gold is way down and that got Federal News Radio Senior Correspondent Mike Causey thinking. He says not long ago some of your colleagues demanded a gold fund in the TSP.

Ron Neumann
American Academy of Diplomacy

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The deadline to put finishing touches on the Congressional budget deal is next Wednesday. The potential for fiscal stability is a welcome change for some, but others are taking a “wait and see” approach on whether or not it can really help agencies run smoother. One of those cautiously optimistic folks is Ron Neumann, president of the American Academy of Diplomacy. He shares his top three stories for the coming year.

  1. How budget impasses waste money and impede rational planning. while it is possible that the latest budget deal will quiet matters it is likely that we will face further continuing resolutions. Whatever the merits of the debate these CRs impede effective government. First, because the only continue existing programs they make no provision for new challenges. In the area of foreign affairs where the world does not standstill the CRs tie the hands of our diplomacy in reacting to new challenges. Second the absence of full year budgets make for holding back funds and losing efficiency through short term funding.
  2. Afghanistan: This is a year of three transitions; military, economic and political. Clear US policies, whatever our direction are essential to maximizing our influence for influence leading to outcomes that merit 12 years of human sacrifice and fiscal investment. I don’t see that clarity coming out of our confusing deliberations.
  3. The Arab Spring is going to continue to evolve. This is a marathon, not a sprint. We need to look to our interests, understand that there are tensions among them and that we are going to have to explain ourselves beyond bumper sticker slogans.

Jason Miller
Executive Editor
Federal News Radio

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The industry trade association TechAmerica is reemerging from a rough end of 2013 when four key executives left suddenly to start a competing public sector organization. Mike Hettinger is TechAmerica’s new senior vice president of the public sector. He’s been charged with ensuring federal contractors that TechAmerica is committed to the public sector. Federal News Radio’s executive editor Jason Miller shared details about how Hettinger and TechAmerica plan on doing just that.

Also on the Show:

John Roth passed another hurdle to become the next Inspector General of the Homeland Security Department. The office hasn’t had a Senate-confirmed leader since 2011. In his nomination hearing before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs committee today, he said a quarter century’s worth of experience at the Justice Department gives him a unique strength to lead the DHS Inspector General’s office.

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