Federal Drive Interviews — Nov. 8, 2012

Roy Smith of the Interactive Technology Group talks about his career in procurement. Anthony Vegliante of the USPS says no more buyouts. Kevin Concannon of the ...

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:

Roy Smithexecutive vice president, Interactive Technology Group

Here’s one way to really understand federal procurement. First spend a career buying. Then spend a second career selling. That’s what Roy Smith, the executive vice president at software contractor Interactive Technology Group, is doing. He spent 21 years in the Air Force, where he received the Pentagon’s highest acquisition award.

Anthony Vegliantechief human resources officer, U.S. Postal Service

No more buyouts for the U.S. Postal Service — that’s the word from the agency’s chief human resources officer. USPS offered three different buyouts to its employees in 2012, but Anthony Vegliante says there are no plans for any more in the foreseeable future. In an exclusive interview on Federal News Radio’s Agency of the Month show, Vegliante says despite the cuts to the workforce, the Postal Service is making sure it gets the job done.

Exclusive: No new buyouts on Postal Service horizon

Kevin Concannonunder secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services, USDA

New York City and northern New Jersey storm victims managed to get out and vote Tuesday. But storm damage has made it hard to do even basic, everyday tasks, like getting food. Power shortages, transportation problems and infrastructure damage are causing officials to worry about food shortages. The Agriculture Department has helped distribute more than 1 million pounds of food to victims and temporarily eased rules on food stamps.

Dan Chenokexecutive director, IBM Center for the Business of Government

A newly re-elected president Obama is dealing this morning with the big issues of foreign policy and the federal deficit. But deeper in the administration, he’s got to keep a myriad of management initiatives from running out of steam. Joining us with insight on how to do that is Dan Chenok. He was a long-time career manager in the Office of Management and Budget, and now executive director of the Center for the Business of Government.


DoD Report

  • If you can drive an armored tank, you can drive a truck. That’s the theory behind a new law that went into effect last month. It’s designed to make it easier for service members to find jobs in the civilian world. The law lets those who have military licenses apply for commercial driver’s licenses. States can issue the licenses to members who aren’t residents, but are currently stationed on bases within their borders. The Pentagon has set up a credentialing and licensing task force to improve the help it gives departing service members. It expects this law to help up to 10,000 soldiers and marines.
  • Navy Admiral James Stavridis has been cleared of misconduct charges after a lengthy investigation. The Pentagon said Stavridis, who is the head of U.S. European Command, failed to exercise proper oversight of his staff and their record-keeping activities. They made multiple mistakes concerning travel reimbursement. But Navy Secretary Ray Mabus concluded that he did not misuse his position for personal gain.

Cybersecurity Update

  • Gen. Keith Alexander is standing on one leg, figuratively. The head of the National Security Agency said he was impatient with the nation’s response to the cybersecurity threat. He has repeated his call for Congress to act on stalled legislation to boost information sharing between government and industry. Alexander said the biggest barrier to improving the nation’s cyber posture is a basic lack of education about how networks operate and the scope of the threat.
  • Research In Motion has received federal security certification for its BlackBerry 10, even before the new device goes on sale. BusinessWeek reports, the company plans to introduce the latest Blackberry sometime in January. But it’s already received FIPS 140-2 approval from the National Institute of Standards and Technology. RIM said Blackberry remains strong in the government. The company claims 1 million federal BlackBerry users. Many feds have defected to Android and Apple iPhones, but RIM said the BlackBerry remains the gold standard for security.
  • Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s warning of a “cyber Pearl Harbor” is overblown. That’s according to private-sector cybersecurity experts interviewed by PC World. They said Panetta and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano are exaggerating the damage that cyberattacks could do. One expert, author Bruce Schneier, said a major attack would bring damage “at the margins” and would not be a war. Another doubts the government has really improved its tracking of cyber-attackers. But all seem to agree that the best offense is a good defense by building security in critical networks rather than mounting firewalls. Panetta said the U.S. was facing the possibility of a “cyber Pearl Harbor” in a speech last month on cyberthreats.

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