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.
Federal contractors mostly work hard to keep politics out of their workplaces. Administrations come and go, but the work continues regardless of policy. But what if a significant number of employees wants the company out of Defense work altogether. It happened at Google. Former Assistant Defense Secretary David Berteau, president of the Professional Services Council, joined Federal Drive with Tom Temin for a reaction.
When they are not training or otherwise performing their duties, military service members have many of the same mundane concerns as the rest of us — like paying their taxes on time. It is a pain in the neck for everyone, but Military OneSource is there to help. As this year's tax deadline approaches, Erika Slaton, program analyst, and Army Lt. Col. David Dulaney, executive director of the Armed Forces Tax Council, joined Federal Drive with Tom Temin.
The idea predates Sept. 11, 2001: A uniform, national broadband network to replace the mishmash of radio systems now used by first responders. After decades of work, FirstNet, part of the Department of Commerce, has given AT&T the authority to start actually building out of the network. First Responder Network Authority CEO Mike Poth joined Federal Drive with Tom Temin for an update.
Lot of old satellites and debris orbit the earth in space. But one hunk of metal is particularly special this year. The satellite Vanguard has been orbiting the earth for 60 years. It is the oldest satellite in orbit and it launched for the Naval Research Laboratory. For more on the significance of this satellite, Federal News Radio's Scott Maucione spoke with NRL Historian Angel Callahan and Naval Center for Space Technology Director John Schaub for Federal Drive with Tom Temin.
The Trump administration has made it crystal clear: It wants agencies to think about performance management in a new way. The Department of Health and Human Services is making it a priority, too, as it works through five main goals and 37 priorities in an attempt to maximize talent and create a modern HHS workforce. Christine Major is the deputy assistant secretary for human resources and chief human capital officer for HHS. In part two of her interview with Federal News Radio's Nicole Ogrysko, she explained how HHS is approaching performance management differently.
When it comes to federal retirement benefits, everything seems to be on the table these days. Contribution rates, cost of living adjustments, annuity supplements, Thrift Savings Plan returns all could change under proposals from Congress and the administration — and not for the better. Tammy Flanagan, senior benefits director at the National Institute of Transition Planning, joined Federal Drive with Tom Temin for a round up.
Sometimes in federal procurement a requirement lasts longer than the contract to fulfill it. One course of action is a contract extension. But you cannot just — voila, grant an extension. That is almost like a new contract. There are rules. But U.S. Postal Service contracting officers are not consistent applying them. Federal News Radio's Eric White spoke with Keshia Trafton, audit director at the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General for Federal Drive with Tom Temin.
Artificial intelligence and the federal government have become bedfellows of sorts. Agencies are looking to adopt this technology for their own operations, and many regulatory agencies have to oversee how AI makes its way into critical areas of the economy. The Comptroller General convened a forum on AI to look at some of this stuff. Timothy Persons, chief scientist at the Government Accountability Office, gave an overview on Federal Drive with Tom Temin.
Colleges and universities are anything but ivory towers free of sexual harassment and intimidation. Now the National Science Foundation wants to make sure its grants do not go to investigators who might be engaging in sexual harassment, or to institutions who let it go on. With more on the new rule, Rhonda Davis, head of diversity and inclusion at the NSF, joined Federal Drive with Tom Temin.
Reorganization is a big deal project at the Health and Human Services Department. Senior executives spent months crafting the concept they call "Reimagine HHS." Maximizing talent within the agency's 85,000 employees is a big part of it. Christine Major leads the effort as HHS deputy assistant secretary for human resources and chief human capital officer. Major told Federal News Radio's Nicole Ogrysko how the agency came up with the "reimagine" concept.
The main point of the armed services is to wreck things and kill the enemy. Often bombers and long range missiles do not do the job. Sometimes soldiers and marines need to get close. Recent losses show these tip-of-the-spear warfighters may not have the training and equipment they need. For a perspective on the Pentagon's new Close Combat Lethality Task Force, Army Maj. John Spencer, deputy director of the Modern War Institute at West Point and former Army ranger, joined Federal Drive with Tom Temin.
Nearly every federal tech shop, as well as Congress, is looking into blockchain. They all see potential for electronic health records and supply chain risk management. But early adopters face challenges bringing the rest of government on board. Federal News Radio's Jory Heckman had more on Federal Drive with Tom Temin.
A lot of federal technologists have the feeling that somehow, blockchain online ledger technology could help their agencies. But they are not sure how. Some possible answers might be coming from the Treasury Department's Bureau of the Fiscal Service. They have just completed a blockchain proof of concept. Innovative Program Manager Craig Fischer joined Federal Drive with Tom Temin with more details.
The military is touting its Career Intermission Pilot Program as a way for troops to live more flexible lifestyles. But, for all the advertising, enrollment numbers are low. Federal News Radio reporter Scott Maucione joined Federal Drive with Tom Temin to talk about his special report, “Taking a break to retain talent in the military."
The omnibus appropriations bill Congress passed last month includes some major plus-ups in the funding lines the military uses to pay for upkeep of its facilities. But even though the amounts are larger, they are still not nearly enough to fund all of the maintenance the Defense Department needs. In some cases, facilities will continue to deteriorate. In others, the military is just treading water. Federal News Radio’s Jared Serbu examined the numbers as part of this week’s DoD Reporter’s Notebook on Federal Drive with Tom Temin.