Federal Drive interviews – May 16

The Federal Drive talks to GSA's Bev Godwin about National Women's Health Week and NetApp's Mark Weber on big data.

This is the Federal Drive 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:

Rep. Geoff DavisCongressman, Kentucky

The House will begin debate today on the defense authorization bill for fiscal year 2013. One key provision would let general-schedule feds working national security jobs rotate from agency to agency. Backers believe it will spread best practices and help integrate a fractured system that’s plagued civilian agencies for decades. Kentucky Congressman Geoff Davis sponsored the original legislation that eventually made its way into this year’s big defense bill. He told Federal News Radio’s Jared Serbu it’s a response to an inter-agency process that he thinks is fundamentally broken.

Mark WeberPresident of U.S. Public Sector, NetApp

The amount of individual data bytes created is so enormous, it is quickly outpacing the ability to capture, search, analyze or store it. “Big Data” is the general term used to describe the 2.5 quintillion bytes of information produced every day. The federal government sees benefits in taming the ubiquitous data stream, but most agencies are years away from doing that. Weber’s company recently sponsored a study by Meritalk called The Big Data Gap. (You must register to access the study.)

Read more: Big Data creates big challenges for agencies

Brian FrielFederal Business Analyst, Bloomberg Government

A shift in the acquisition landscape could mean changes in government contractors’ bottom lines. Bloomberg Government’s Federal Business Intelligence Analyst Brian Friel released a study about big MACs that explores President Obama’s 2009 order to favor fixed-price contracts over cost-reimbursement contracts. Cost-reimbursement orders limit companies’ ability to increase profits by reducing their operating costs, Freel says.

Read the executive summary.

Keith LaingTransportation Reporter, The Hill

Questions about federal pay and benefits, like proposed phased retirements, were supposed to be answered in a compromise Surface Transportation bill. The bill is in conference committee now as lawmakers from the House and Senate try to agree on a final version. However, hope for a reconciled bill is all but gone. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood recently predicted there will not be a bill, as some controversial proposals have remained in it. Keith Laing covers transportation for The Hill newspaper and joins us to talk about where the bill stands, and if a compromise can happen before the current short-term highway bill expires at the end of next month.

Bev GodwinDirector, Federal Citizen Information Center, Office of Citizen Services, General Services Administration

When agencies have an important message to deliver to the general public, they can rely on the expertise of their fellow feds. This week, the General Services Administration’s Federal Citizen Information Center is helping the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Women’s Health get the word out about National Women’s Health Week — and in some very unusual ways. Bev Godwin is the director of FCIC, and she details how her office has made HHS efforts more successful.

John PalgutaVice President for Policy, Partnership for Public Service

Federal human resources professionals are like the shoemakers’ children — they help others, while largely neglecting their own problems. John Palguta delivered this message to a Senate committee last week on behalf of the Partnership for Public Service. He joins us now to talk about the problems that exist in the federal HR workforce — and some potential solutions.

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