Federal Drive interviews – Nov. 19, 2012

(Photo:George Washington University)
Leon FuerthDirector of the Project on Forward Engagement at the George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs, and the former National Security Advisor to Vice President Al Gore

Crisis management just might be the enemy of solid, long-term management. Unfortunately, the federal government sometimes seems stuck in crisis management mode. Fixing that requires upgrading management systems so federal managers can operate in what our next guest calls “anticipatory mode.”

Read more:

Anticipatory Governance Practical Upgrades (Wilson Center)


David PownerDirector of Information Technology Management Issues, Government Accountability Office

Reports show most of the $79 billion federal agencies budgeted for IT in 2011 was spent on the operations and maintenance of existing legacy IT systems — or steady state investments. Each agency has its own operational analysis policy. The Office of Management and Budget requires analysis of the effectiveness of these investments annually. Powner took a look at five agencies not meeting expectations in a new GAO report.

(Photo: Center for a New American Security)
Thomas RicksAuthor, The Generals American Military Command from WWII to Today

The recent picture of the nation’s military leadership hasn’t been pretty. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has asked the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to review officer ethics training. That follows scandals with AFRICOM Commander William Ward, Afghanistan commander John Allen and others. Plus there is the case of retired General David Petraeus, who had to quit the CIA after an extramarital affair came to light. A new book looks at both excellence and failure in military leaders since World War II, with some important lessons.

Read more: Ricks’ article in The Atlantic

(Photo: Senate)
Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.)

The soon-to-be senior Senator from Virginia, Mark Warner, has been in the thick of recent federal appropriations battles. A Democrat, he led the original gang of six that tried to get a bipartisan deal on the budget going last year. Now, he’s back at it, trying to head off sequestration. Warner says that, in spite of how it may seem, lawmakers understand the dangers of the fiscal cliff.

Part Two of this interview will air on Tuesday on the Federal Drive.

(Photo: File)
Danielle IvoryReporter at Bloomberg News

Can federal acquisition officers tell the little guys apart from the giants? New analysis of federal contractor data shows big companies are getting billions meant for small businesses. Bloomberg Government reporter Danielle Ivory crunched the numbers. She found big firms got 45 percent of the more than $10 billion intended for small businesses in fiscal 2011.

Read the story. (BGov is a paid site that requires a subscription to access stories.)

(Photo: CDC)
Dr. Arjun SrinivasanAssociate Director for Healthcare-Associated Infection Prevention Programs, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Drug-resistant viruses known as superbugs are on the rise. And it’s our fault, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC has launched a public awareness campaign to change the way doctors, patients and farmers use antibiotics. Dr. Arjun Srinivasan is associate director for healthcare-associated infection prevention programs. He explains what the feds really can do to change our behavior.

Read more:

Antibiotics Overuse: Health Experts Seek Action To Curb Rise Of Drug-Resistant Superbugs (The Huffington Post)

NIH superbug claims 7th victim (The Washington Post)


Dod Report

The Air Force is telling members in Colorado: Just because everyone else can do it doesn’t mean you can. The state has voted to legalize recreational marijuana use. But that doesn’t go for military members or even their families to a certain extent. Buckley Air Force Base leaders say using pot still violates federal law and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. While family members or civilians working on base are not beholden to the code, they cannot bring marijuana on base. The Air Force says the new law could place Airmen “in the crossfire” because of the temptation. They say members need to “play it smart” and stay away from anyone whom they suspect uses marijuana. (Air Force)

The Pentagon has fallen short when it comes to realizing savings from base consolidation. In a new report, the Government Accountability Office says the Defense Department doesn’t really have solid plans to drive savings. Joint basing was supposed to save $2.3 billion over 20 years. But DOD will see only a small fraction of that. GAO says DOD doesn’t even have a good method for collecting cost and savings data. Local joint bases include Anacostia-Bolling, Andrews-Naval Air and Myer-Henderson Hall. (Government Accountability Office)

Cybersecurity Update

The global supply chain has become an important source of cybersecurity danger. That’s according to researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Their latest report on emerging cyber threats says malware embedded in network equipment is a far greater threat than mobile device viruses. The supply chain threat came to light recently when a congressional report warned about gear from Huawei and ZTE, two Chinese manufacturers of telecommunications equipment. By contrast, the report said authorized app stores and the ease of removing programs from smart phones makes the mobile threat not so tough. (searchsecurity.techtarget.com)

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