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A new guide put together by a unit of the Agriculture Department aims to help spur employment in rural areas. Its resource guide includes sources of funding available from the USDA itself. Farah Ahmad, chief of staff for Rural Development at USDA, joined Federal Drive with Tom Temin to talk more about the program.…
 
The Postal Service is moving ahead with plans to both increase mailing prices and slow down delivery for nearly 40% of first-class mail. It’s a one-two punch that some of its biggest customers warn will accelerate the decline in mail volume. USPS says they'll boost efficiency and save money. You can guess what Congress thinks. We get the latest fro…
 
Can the wings help the Army? No, not the Air Force. Actual birds. Scientists working with the Army have isolated a protein in birds that could help with navigation of future autonomous vehicles. Federal News Network’s Scott Maucione talked about it with Army Research Office Biochemistry Program Manager Stephanie McElhinny.…
 
The Senate Armed Services Committee has issued its version of a Defense policy bill for 2022. To nearly everyone's surprise, it would add $35 billion to what the Biden administration has proposed. For more about this and what else is in there, Federal Drive with Tom Temin turned to a senior adviser in the national security program at the Center for…
 
The National Security Agency is not known for opening its arms to outsiders. But the NSA’s Cybersecurity Collaboration Center is trying to change that perception just as the nation seems to be under constant cyber attack. The center staff wants to work with the defense, telecommunications, and other industries to develop a more widely shared unders…
 
Mail delivery is like weird weather — everyone has their own theory about it. Now the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General has taken a step to make the public aware of what's really going on with mail delivery, where it's flagging and where it's right on time. For more about the project, Inspector General Tammy Whitcomb joined Federal Dr…
 
Military training is supposed to train service members, not kill them. But the Army and Marine Corps have sustained thousands of non-combat vehicle accidents. In a 10-year period, 123 service members were killed. A review by the Government Accountability Office finds that the services don't always employ their own preventive practices. GAO's Direct…
 
Everyone wants to save the whales, but Jay Barlow has actually saved them. He's developed new ways of tracking marine mammals, worked with the Navy and others to reduce noise damage, and even discovered a whole new whale species. He's a senior scientist at the National Marine Fisheries Service, part of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administratio…
 
Agencies are setting tentative dates for their employees to return to the office. The dates are part of agencies' wider reentry plans. They were to due to the White House for review last week but many agencies are still fine-tuning the details. And they're still working out how telework and remote work programs will fit into the equation. The Offic…
 
The Senate Armed Services Committee reported out its version of the 2022 Defense authorization bill last week. The legislation has some historic changes and a bit of a plus-up for the Defense Department. Federal News Network’s Scott Maucione joined Federal Drive with Tom Temin for more insight.By Tom Temin
 
The Treasury Department's Bureau of the Fiscal Service laid out its most complete vision of what the future of financial management shared services will mean to agencies and vendors. The second request for information outlined the role of the Quality Service Management Office (QSMO) and how it hopes to reach the right mixture of standardization and…
 
The recent executive orders on cybersecurity and on diversity and inclusion struck many readers are overly wordy and complex — hard to understand. Fergal McGovern ran these texts through an algorithm-based program that analyzes written text for complexity and understandability. The CEO of Visible Thread joined Federal Drive with Tom Temin with what…
 
Among the blizzard of executive orders coming from the Biden White House was a June missive telling agencies to buy American. But procurement law and regulation have required buy American for decades. Is there anything left to do? For one interpretation, Federal Drive with Tom Temin turned to Venable attorney Dismas Locaria.…
 
The Biden administration has proposed no less than 72 initiatives in a single executive order on competition. The order, earlier this month, is ostensibly to benefit consumers. But if you read far down in the order, there's a lot there about federal contractors. For analysis, Federal Drive with Tom Temin turned to the President and CEO of the Profe…
 
Given what's happened over the last year and a half, the Department of Health and Human Services would have something which the departments of Defense and Energy, as well as the intelligence community have — namely, an advanced research projects agency. Now the Biden administration has proposed just that: a $6.5 billion ARPA Health as part of the N…
 
Deep in the Defense Department, a group is partnering with industry to create a window into the cyber vulnerabilities of the defense industrial base. The Defense Industrial Base Collaborative Information Sharing Environment (DCISE) is part of the Defense Cyber Crime Center, and division chief Mike Weiskopff talked about it in more detail on Federal…
 
A group of House lawmakers is out with new legislative proposals addressing vulnerabilities in the defense supply chain. They want the Pentagon to take supply chain security more seriously, especially when it comes to dependencies on China for key materials. Federal News Network’s Justin Doubleday joined Federal Drive with Tom Temin to explain more…
 
Former State Department leadership have said it’s time to rethink what a stint in the Foreign Service looks like. Options on the table include transforming the agency’s up-or-out system of promotions, and allowing outside experts to lend their talents to the Foreign Service for a few years at a time. Former officials said these changes would help t…
 
It's the last week of legislating on Capitol Hill before lawmakers depart for more than a month for the August recess. And there's a lot on their plates. Between the Defense authorization bill, work on a potential infrastructure package, and annual spending legislation, members of Congress are hoping to get at least a few big things finished before…
 
The Sesame Workshop has a long history of working with the Defense Department. Its goal is to help children of service members adapt to the sometimes-difficult living conditions they face. This year, the muppets are tackling race and diversity. Federal News Network’s Scott Maucione spoke with the workshop Vice President Maria del Rocio Galarza.…
 
A trillion here, a trillion there — as Congress prepares to spend relatively more money than it spent on World War II, the question arises whether the federal workforce even has the capacity to carry out whatever programs the coming money will spawn. Bob Tobias said the government needs a parallel investment in management. The professor in the Key …
 
As cybersecurity attacks interrupt government services at the state and municipal levels, governors are calling on the National Guard for help. For details on just how often this happening, Federal Drive with Tom Temin turned to a senior fellow at the center-left think tank Third Way, Todd Rosenblum.…
 
As it expands additive manufacturing all over, the Defense Department is also adding cybersecurity risk. That's because operators of networked 3D printers aren't always securing the machines or the files that drive them. For more, Federal Drive with Tom Temin turned to Karla Roark, program director for Audit Cyberspace Operations in the DoD Office …
 
Both the Air Force and the Navy want Congress’ permission to retire some of their weapons systems. The basic rationale is to free up money for the sort of high-end warfare they say they need to prepare for. Some of those systems are decades old, and showing their age, but not all of them. Federal News Network’s Jared Serbu had details on the servic…
 
It might sound surprising, but many federal contractors are under no obligation to report cybersecurity breaches to the government. That could changing under a new bipartisan bill introduced in the Senate this week. The Cyber Incident Notification Act of 2021 would require contractors, critical infrastructure companies, and agencies themselves for …
 
Department of Veterans Affairs reform legislation back in 2018 required the Veterans Health Administration to report regularly on its staffing and vacancy levels. VHA officials generally meet the requirement. Now the Office of Inspector General has found that VHA has made a lot of progress in the accuracy of its reporting but still has a ways to go…
 
Federal contractors who ship stuff often overlook or don't put a lot of bother into compliance with obscure federal shipping rules. Now with a refreshed federal emphasis on Buy American, that could be a costly mistake. Federal Drive with Tom Temin got details from Thomson Coburn attorney Jayna Marie Rust.…
 
Federal data isn’t much use if no one can find it. Many chief data officers are running inventories of their data, saying they've got a battle getting their agencies to think critically about it. The Treasury Department’s Bureau of the Fiscal Service is also assessing the maturity of its data and trying to make it more shareable. The bureau's CDO J…
 
How can the Department of Homeland Security possibly vet 40,000 people coming to the United States every day to spot the possible security threats? Until recently, it couldn't, or it took so long a terrorist could already have moved in. Lori Vislocky developed, in record time and on a shoestring, a modern information system that lets Custom and Bor…
 
Defense policy will forever be debated, but nearly everyone agrees it's possible for the Pentagon to spend more wisely. One potential for savings comes from the prices for spare parts, which came up recently in Congressional hearings. The Project on Government Oversight's Mandy Smithberger testified, and she joined Federal Drive with Tom Temin to t…
 
Congress provided the Department of Veterans Affairs received nearly $20 billion to take on COVID-19. The money came with the requirement to account for it. Now VA's Office of Inspector General has found that the department worked hard to document its handling of the money. But weaknesses in VA's financial management systems raise questions. For mo…
 
Who’s in charge of the Veterans Affairs Departments police force? That's one question VA officials hope to settle as they struggle to reform VA's law enforcement arm. Government overseers said veterans and employees could be at risk in the meantime, and are pressing the VA to sort out a confusing leadership structure that could be preventing the de…
 
A tough congressional look at the budding Space Force and an experienced hand chosen to lead Air Force acquisition. Two of the top stories on the defense front this week. Most urgent perhaps is something of a budget crisis for the National Guard. For more, Jared Serbu and Scott Maucione joined Federal Drive with Tom Temin.…
 
For all of its talk about yet more procurement reform, the Biden administration still hasn't appointed anyone to run the small but crucial Office of Federal Procurement Policy. Meanwhile, over at the Labor Department's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, something big is brewing. Federal Drive with Tom Temin talked about that with feder…
 
In terms of customer service, the IRS is in a difficult spot. A delayed filing season, extra duties piled on by Congress, and some enduring technology issues. No wonder taxpayers could hardly get through with a phone call. For how the agency might improving things for the next filing season, the National Taxpayer Advocate Erin Collins joined Federa…
 
Pentagon acquisition might not animate dinner party conversations. But it's a hugely important topic in military planning circles, and it generates reams of articles each year. That's why, each year, the Army backs a program known as the Major General Harry Greene Awards for Acquisition Writing. Among the winners of the most recent round is a profe…
 
The Defense Department said it was going to start considering climate change a major part of its national security planning. That was back in January. Now, the department is almost finished with its strategy. Federal News Network’s Scott Maucione joined Federal Drive with Tom Temin.By Tom Temin
 
President Joe’s Biden’s pick to run the Census Bureau has outlined to Congress steps he's take to improve workforce morale. Robert Santos said Census employees worked under harrowing conditions last year, in some cases 80-hour work weeks to get ahead of pandemic delays. The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee also heard from…
 
Few events have affected the National Transportation Safety Board as much as TWA Flight 800. It tragically exploded 12 minutes after departing New York back in 1996. It touched off a year's long investigation and a long list of lessons learned. Now the reassembled fuselage of the doomed 747, in storage in a Virginia warehouse for the last 25-some y…
 
Federal employees on the whole weathered the COVID pandemic pretty well, but some did get sick and some did die. Now a Senate measure would bolster safety for when feds returned to the office. WTOP Capitol Hill correspondent Mitchell Miller joined Federal Drive with Tom Temin with more.By Tom Temin
 
If the pandemic proved anything, it's never to early to start thinking about hour health care needs long term. That means now's a good time to review your needs. Federal Drive with Tom Temin talked about that with the director of wealth management at the Government Employees Benefit Association, Greg Klingler.…
 
Reaching and serving people without bank accounts has been a persistent challenge for federal agencies. But on the hunch that banks themselves could helped the so-called un-banked, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation has launched a tech-sprint to come up with what it describes as technologies and techniques to do just that. The Federal Drive'…
 
The Department of Veterans Affairs wrapped up a highly-anticipated strategic review of its massive electronic health record program. But the toughest work lies ahead. VA said it will implement a new governance structure to manage the project. And it's working on new budget estimates and a deployment schedule. VA Secretary Denis McDonough said the r…
 
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