Federal Drive interviews – Oct. 24

Dr. Andrew Von EschenbachPresident, Samaritan Health Initiatives & Chairman, Manhattan Institute’s Project FDA

Congress sometimes has the habit of passing laws it won’t pay for. A case in point is the FDA Modernization Act. It imposes new regulatory responsibilities on the Food and Drug Administration. But agency managers say they can’t fulfill the law because they don’t have enough money. Von Eschenbach is a former FDA commissioner,

Kevin BogardusReporter, The Hill

Can’t wait for the Presidential election to be over? You’re not the only one. All this political uncertainty is hurting a Washington institution: K Street. Kevin Bogardus covers the lobbying industry for The Hill newspaper. He says most firms are waiting out a dry spell by planning for the future.

Related story: Campaign season idles K Street (The Hill)

Davita Vance-CooksActing Public Printer Government Printing Office

The Government Printing Office may have figured out something that has escaped storied newspapers and magazines: How to stay relevant in the digital era. The agency has mapped out a strategy for the next five years. It pledges to be official, digital and secure.

Read more.


Cybersecurity Updates

Intelligence officials think Iran is behind cyber attacks on Aramco, the big Saudi oil company. The New York Times reports analysis of the virus code reveals clues the attack was payback for the Stuxnet and Flame viruses. Stuxnet caused damage to Iran’s nuclear processing capabilities. In the Saudi attack, the company was forced to replace the hard drives on tens of thousands of machines. The virus removed data and replaced it with images of a burning American flag. (New York Times)

DoD Reports

The Army is is about to launch exercises to test new battlefield technology. Exercises will take place at Fort Bliss and the White Sands missile range in New Mexico. Soldiers will use a new bundle of 600 I-T systems called Capability Set 13. They’ll be able to pick and choose which applications are needed for a given situation. Brigade teams trying out the new technology bundle are headed for Afghanistan. Army officials say they are testing not only the technology itself, but also a new, more flexible way of acquiring it. (Federal News Radio)

As troops withdraw from Afghanistan, they may be assigned to East Asia. The Army’s top commander in the region says he wants soldiers to do 30-to-45 day rotations. Lt. Gen. Francis Wiercinski says relationships matter and this way, troops will get to know their counterparts in the region. He says it’s an alternative to establishing more U-S bases…something no one wants to do. Wiercinski spoke at a DoD bloggers’ roundtable yesterday. He also announced that an Australian officer will become deputy commanding general for operations in the region. It’s the first time in U.S. Army Pacific’s history that it has asked an allied army general to join the leadership. (Defense Department)

The Defense Information Systems Agency is looking for a way to manage a quarter million hand-held devices. It has issued a request for proposals for a mobile device management system. If the three-year project works out, DISA might expand it to cover all mobile devices in the Defense Department. That would put up to eight million devices under a single management system. DISA tells vendors the management system must work for Apple I-O-S and Google Android devices. The contractor would also be responsible for making sure the mobility platform complies with federal security requirements such as Fips 140-2. (Federal News Radio)