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.
If at first you don't succeed, protest, protest again. That's the twist on the old rhyme one 8(a) contractor used to overturn a bitterly contested contract from the State Department. For lessons learned from a nasty case, we turn to D.C. procurement attorney Joseph Petrillo of Petrillo and Powell.
A major breakthrough in treating a genetic disorder can be credited to our next guest. Sickle cell disease is a blood disorder that affects more than 20 million people worldwide. Federal News Network's Eric White spoke to one of the scientists at the National Institutes of Health conducting research on sickle cell. They've recently had a breakthrough. Dr. John Tisdale is a finalist in this year's Service to America Medals program.
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy is defending his plan to cut extra and late trips between mail processing facilities and local post offices. He tried to assure House and Senate committees the agency has the capacity to deliver mail-in ballots on-time. But he also blamed Congress’s inaction on long term postal issues as the reasons these cuts are necessary in the first place. Federal News Network’s Jory Heckman joins me to analyze the latest.
Nearly a decade in the making, the Office of Federal Procurement Policy is ready to launch a new IT vendor management office. The idea it to provide "acquisition intelligence" to agencies buying technology using governmentwide acquisition contracts. For his weekly feature, the Reporter's Notebook, executive editor Jason Miller got a hold of a briefing document explaining the IT-VMO concept. Jason joins me now with details.
The Army often helps civilian authorities with disaster relief. But sometimes, soldiers and their families are impactedby those very disasters such as hurricanes. Help is available. For details, at the start of what promises to be a busy hurricane season, the director of Army Emergency Relief, Raymond Mason.
The explosion in Beirut was a reminder that chemicals essential to life and the economy must be stored, handled and processed safely. Chemical accidents in the United States also occur often resulting in the loss of life. The U. S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board the small federal agency that investigates chemical accidents and makes recommendations at the moment has only one of five statutory members. Joining the show with why this needs to be rectified, the President and CEO of the American Chemistry Council, Chris Jahn.
The Defense Department has been struggling with daycare issues for years. Now members of Congress are calling on Defense Secretary Mark Esper to sign up non-profit organizations and private industry to expand childcare options for military families. Representative Deb Haaland led a bipartisan and cross-committee charge to light a fire under the military’s feet. Federal News Network’s Scott Maucione discussed the implications with Haaland.
The pandemic has proven both scary and monotonous. And now the end of the federal fiscal year is only a month away so agencies and contractors alike can start to worry about the possibility of a partial government shutdown. For these and other concerns we check in with the executive vice president and general counsel of the Professional Services Council, Alan Chvotkin.
To help solve the problem of getting its vast inventory of analog holdings online, the Library of Congress has been turning to crowdsourcing enlisting volunteers to read and transcribe documents. The latest completed project makes available thousands of letters written to Abraham Lincoln while he was president. For details, Federal News Network's Jared Serbu spoke with the Library's digital collections specialist, Carlyn Osborn.
Some 700 companies hold slots on the 8(a) STARS II contract. The Small Business Administration pulled the rug out from under them. It let the General Services Administration raise the ceiling of the popular governmentwide acquisition contract by $7 billion but only if the contract’s period of performance was reduced by nearly two years. The small firms say SBA's decision is shortsighted and misinformed, and reverses decades of small business policy and precedence. In his weekly Reporter's Notebook, executive editor Jason Miller looked into this controversy. Jason joined us to discuss.
Some agencies have made detailed return-to-work plans and posted them publicly, but the Social Security Administration's been relatively quiet on reopening over the past few months. Most employees have been teleworking since mid-March, but SSA has a few more details now on plans to handle what it calls reposturing. The agency said given its high-risk customer base telework may continue for a while. That is of course a departure from SSA's previous treatment of telework. Federal News Network's Nicole Ogrysko joined Federal Drive with Tom Temin to help explain things.
Agencies received tens a billions of dollars from the CARES Act to ramp up their IT capabilities. Nearly five months later the Labor Department said it's seeing an accelerated pace to its IT modernization projects. Those include greater adoption of digital signatures and a shift away from paper-based process. Labor's also seeing a rise in automation to make better sense of its workplace injury data. For more on the status of those projects, Federal News Network's Jory Heckman spoke with Labor's Chief Information Officer Gundeep Ahluwalia on Federal Drive with Tom Temin.
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy is expected to face tough questions from a House comittee Monday, less than a week after he agreed to postpone a series of USPS operational changes until after the election. Democrats in particular still want answers about steps that have been taken so far that could still lead to mail delays. Mitchell Miller, Capitol Hill correspondent for sister station WTOP, joined Federal Drive with Tom Temin to talk more.
If the United States has to make some sort of containment of China, a foreign policy priority, the Navy's got a big part of the job. But is the Navy fully capable? The recent burning of an important ship while in port is the latest event to call into question the basic condition of the Navy. James Russell is associate professor in the Department of National Security Affairs at the Naval Postgraduate School. He talked about the implications on Federal Drive with Tom Temin.
The coronavirus pandemic has made the federal hiring process quite a bit trickier. But there's no let up in the demand signal for scientists, engineers and management professionals to staff the nation's nuclear enterprise. Because of that the National Nuclear Security Administration is getting ready to host an all virtual job fair this Wednesday. NNSA and its contractors are looking to hire about 600 people. For more about the process and how NNSA is managing the hiring process during the pandemic, Federal Drive with Tom Temin spoke to Frank Lowery, the agency's associate administrator for management.