In Depth Show Blog – March 5, 2014

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:

Robert Gates

Former DoD secretary

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The new Defense Department budget request and the new 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review are out. The administration’s budget request includes a proposal to increase premiums for TRICARE, the Defense Department’s healthcare program. In May 2010, former Defense Secretary Robert Gates said “health-care costs are eating the Defense Department alive.” Secretary Gates’s new book is “Duty: Memoirs of A Secretary at War.” He tells me the problem with DoD’s healthcare budget is a simple math problem.

Steve Grundman
Lund Fellow for Emerging Defense Challenges
Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security, Atlantic Council

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The 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review is out and now the analysis begins. The QDR is supposed to set strategy and priorities for the next four years. But events of the coming months and years may negate that four-year plan. Steve Grundman is Lund Fellow for Emerging Defense Challenges at the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security at the Atlantic Council. He participated in the first QDR in 1997. He explains the point of the QDR.

David Wessel
Director, Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy
Brookings Institution

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The new budget request from the White House meets the topline number Congress agreed to in the Bipartisan Budget Act. Members of President Obama’s administration are already on Capitol Hill telling members why they want the amounts of money they want and why they want to spend it the way the budget request proposes. Federal News Radio is taking a look at the budget process this week in our special report, “Now or Never: Ideas to Save the Failing Budget Process.” David Wessel, director of the Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy at the Brookings Institution and a Pulitzer Prize winner, says the problem may not be only Congress as most people think.

Bob Tobias
Director, Key Executive Leadership Programs
American University

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The White House budget request for fiscal 2015 could unlock some potential in the federal workforce. It could also help foster the incoming potential of new hires at your agency.

Rep. Chris Van Hollen


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Federal employee groups are as happy about what’s not in the White House’s budget request as what’s in it: No chained CPI, no increases to contributions for pensions or health care. Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), ranking member of the House Budget Committee, writes as part of our special report, “Now or Never: Ideas to Save the Failing Budget Process.”

Jared Serbu
DoD Reporter
Federal News Radio

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The Pentagon’s top leaders appeared on Capitol Hill to argue for their new budget request for the first time. Federal News Radio’s Jared Serbu reports the spending plan doesn’t seem to have any new fans.

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