Federal Drive with Tom Temin
Summary: When he's not tooling around the National Capital region on his motorcycle, Tom Temin interviews federal executives and government contractors who provide analysis and insight on the many critical issues facing the Executive branch. The Federal Drive is found at FederalNewsNetwork.com and 1500 AM in the Washington D.C. region.
Dr. Michael Wooten, the administrator in the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, said he is preparing the workforce for a future where robotics process automation and artificial intelligence take over the mundane tasks of acquisition.
Two members of Congress, one from each party, have introduced legislation to end the use of reverse auctions when buying federal and federally-funded construction projects. One of the sponsors is North Carolina Republican Mark Meadows, the other is California Democrat Ro Khanna — the latter of whom joined Federal Drive with Tom Temin to talk more.
Cybersecurity has emerged as a top consumer protection topic in recent years. For a long time the Federal Trade Commission has issued data security orders to companies that fail to protect consumers' private information. But now it's toughened up the orders, driven by the increasing number and severity of breaches. Andrew Smith, the director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection, joined Federal Drive with Tom Temin for the details.
The Merit Systems Protection Board hit a rather unfortunate milestone this month: Three years now without a quorum. The backlog topped 2,500 pending appeals at the end of 2019, the most in agency history. Tristan Leavitt is the general counsel and acting chief executive and administrative officer at the MSPB. He told Federal News Network's Nicole Ogrysko about the backlog and what the agency has been able to get done over the past three years. The president's three nominees to fill the board are stuck in the Senate confirmation process. Now the delays have sparked a debate over who's to blame for the historic absences at the MSPB. Ogrysko reported those arguments have turned heated, and they illustrate a broader debate over the status quo in the civil service system. Hear the full interview on Federal Drive with Tom Temin.
Just a few months after it created the new position of chief learning Officer, the Navy said it’s backing up its commitment to more rigorous education with more money. Officials are adding $300 million in new education spending. And they expect sailors to take advantage of it. As Federal News Network’s Jared Serbu reported on Federal Drive with Tom Temin, education is about to become a bigger factor in whether or not they get promoted.
There has been years of continuous procurement reform for the Defense Department. Tinkering by Congress has rendered procurement into a sort of laboratory. And each of the armed services is running its own experiments according to Susanna Blume, is senior fellow and director of defense programs at the Center for a New American Security. She joined the show to explain.
Since the first compilation, software programs have contained errors from programmers that malicious hackers discover and exploit. If you want to know the most current dangerous software errors, you need look no further than the Common Weakness Enumeration list maintained by the Homeland Security Systems Engineering and Development Institute. For the latest on the list and how they maintain it, we turned to project leader Chris Levendis of the Homeland Security Systems Engineering and Development Institute and Scott Randels, director of the Federally Funded Research and Development Center program management office — both at the DHS Science and Technology Directorate.
As artificial intelligence test programs pop up, the Defense Department’s Joint AI Center plans to double its workforce in the next couple of years. The Veterans Affairs' National AI Institute is looking at ways to transform health care. Artificial intelligence experts tell federal News Network's Jory Heckman about the challenges to deploying these projects more widely.
The Trump administration is planning to use Defense Department funds this year to build parts of a border wall. The White House wants double last year's wall spending to $7.2 billion, even with year’s reprogramming still caught up in the courts. Members of Congress are concerned about the use of military construction and drug interdiction funds for border security. They let the administration know it in a letter this week. Federal News Network’s Scott Maucione spoke to House Armed Services Committee Vice Chairman Anthony Brown about his concerns.
Science and engineering spending in the United States exceeds a half trillion dollars annually. Yet the U.S. share of global science and engineering is falling, as is federal participation in U.S. science and engineering. Those are a couple of the trends from this year's biennial State of U.S. Science and Engineering. The report for the President and Congress is the work of the National Science Board, under the auspices of the National Science Foundation. Science Board member and University of Vermont president, Dr. Suresh Garimella joined the show with highlights.
A 2016 law was supposed to give employees at the FBI the same whistleblower protections most other federal employees have. The FBI Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act was a bipartisan, bicameral effort. But when it came time to quickly pass the bill only a shortened version made it to the Senate floor for a vote. Attorneys and whistleblower advocates say the 2016 law gives FBI whistleblowers a few more protections, but still falls short. Federal News Network's Nicole Ogrysko joined Federal Drive with Tom Temin with the story of one FBI whistleblower who says he's still waiting for his day in court.
Come October, after a law and a lot of feverish rule making, federal employees are scheduled to start getting paid parental leave — time off for the birth or adoption of a child. With details on how it might work, and what it will mean for employees, federal employment attorney Tom Spiggle of Spiggle Law Firm joined Federal Drive with Tom Temin.
Recent and tragic shootings at military installations show that physical threats remain potent, even in the continental U.S. Yet officials missed or overlooked what in retrospect were clear danger signals from the visiting Saudi naval officer officer who killed five people in Pensacola, Florida. With some ideas for what to do next, Federal Drive with Tom Temin turned to former Marine Corps Col. Michael Hudson, now with Clear Force.
Last summer the off-color postings on Facebook by a group of Border Patrol agents caused an uproar. A review by the agency recommended seven of them be fired. But four of the seven are still on the job. Many others who should have received no-pay suspensions got reprimands instead. With analysis of what's going on, Federal Drive with Tom Temin turned to federal employment attorney Debra D'Agostino.
The Environmental Protection Agency is not just a policy-making body. It's also a first responder to spills or releases of substances that could harm the environment. That takes equipment. The EPA's Office of Inspector General has found the agency needs to sharpen up its management of response equipment. The Director of Efficiency Audits, Mike Davis, joined Federal Drive with Tom Temin for the details.