Federal Drive Interviews — Nov. 14, 2012

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:

JJ Greennational security correspondent, WTOP

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So much attention has focused on the departed director, David Petraeus, it’s easy to forget the CIA has a big job to do every day, and a lot of hard-working people to do it. Yet the scandal surrounding the director, who quit Friday, can potentially affect the entire intelligence community. JJ Green, national security correspondent for our sister station WTOP, discusses what the Petraeus affair means for the larger community.

Steve Goodrichpresident and CEO, Center for Organizational Excellence and chairman of HCMF

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From orders to diversify their workforces to new tools for recruiting workers, federal human-resources staff have seen many changes this year. They’ll have a chance to discuss all of them later this month at the Human Capital Management Federal Conference in Arlington, Va.

Jeremy Herbdefense reporter, The Hill

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Jeremy Herb of The Hill newspapers offers his insight on how the unfolding Petraeus scandal is playing on Capitol Hill.

Lawmakers turn up heat on FBI over investigation of Petraeus

Lorelei St. Jamesdirector of physical infrastructure issues, Government Accountability Office

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The Marine Transportation System infrastructure is maintained primarily by the Army Corps of Engineers, but it’s also a team effort with the Department of Transportation. Lorelei St. James, director of physical infrastructure issues at the Government Accountability Office, says that partnership has room for improvement, and coordination could be system-wide.


New marketing chief helps USPS practice what it preaches

DoD Report

  • Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has demoted the former four-star general in charge of U.S. Africa Command. Gen. William Ward will retire with three stars. And he’s got to repay the government $82,000. Ward was accused of spending thousands of dollars on lavish travel and other unauthorized expenses. Army Secretary John McHugh agreed with Panetta’s decision, according to a Pentagon spokesman. Army General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, argued Ward should keep all four stars. The reduction in rank also cuts Ward’s retirement pay by $30,000 a year. A report by the Pentagon inspector general found that Ward used military vehicles to shuttle his wife on shopping trips. He billed the government for a refueling stop overnight in Bermuda, where the couple stayed in a $750 hotel suite.
  • The Air Force plans to release its internal report on the sexual abuse scandal at its training center. Reuters reports that the finding should detail a systemic, widespread problem at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio. Prosecutors have charged eleven trainers with sexual harassment, abuse and rape of female students. Five instructors have been convicted or pleaded guilty. Advocates for female troops say the problem is rooted in military culture and can’t be blamed on a few bad apples. They say victims are reluctant to report abuse because they fear it will harm their careers.

Cybersecurity Update

  • Adobe Systems is investigating the release of 230 federal customer names, email addresses and encrypted passwords. An Egyptian hacker claims to have grabbed the information, which he released on the website Paste-bin. The hacker claims to have the credentials of thousands more government customers. Computer World reports, all of the records have dot-mil, dot-gov or adobe-dot-com addresses. Users whose information was taken come from the departments of Homeland Security, State and Transportation, including the FAA. Although passwords were encrypted, they can be easily cracked with available tools. The incident shows why it’s wise to use a different password for each online service you might use.
  • Defense contractor Lockheed Martin says its suppliers should bolster their cyber defenses against an increasing number of attacks. Hackers are exploiting social media, websites and emails. Reuters reports the company rates one in five attempts against its networks as “advanced persistent threats.” They suspect a foreign government or other organized group of trying to spy on or harm operations. But company officials will not say whether Iran is behind any of the attacks. Lockheed is the government’s biggest IT provider. It recently took more than $450 million contract to run the Pentagon’s cyber center. Defense News reports, the Army plans to award it another $80 million dollar to continue its work on the National Cyber Range operations.

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