Federal Drive Show Blog - October 31, 2013

Thursday - 10/31/2013, 9:18am EDT

This is the Federal Drive show blog. Here you can listen to our interviews, find more information about the guests on the show each day, as well as links to other stories and resources we discuss.

Today's Interviews:

Ed Miles
Director of Morale, Welfare and Recreation Policy
Defense Department

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Ensuring troops deployed overseas maintain a well-balanced life is a top priority for the Defense Department. It plans to extend its Morale, Welfare and Recreation services to more bases overseas, offering troops a way to unwind when they're not on duty or fighting on the front line. With more about the MWR services in Afghanistan is DoD's director of Morale, Welfare and Recreation policy, Ed Miles.

Michael Navarre
Special Counsel
Steptoe & Johnson LLP

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A federal appeals court recently apologized for its decision to uphold the dismissal of a lawsuit. It was brought by the husband of Army soldier January Ritchie. It accuses Army commanders of forcing Ritchie to do physical training while she was pregnant, despite her pleas and her doctors' instructions. Ritchie went into premature labor. The baby died shortly after birth. In its opinion, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals suggested it was time to rethink the law preventing service members from suing the government in these cases. In today's Legal Loop, former Navy JAG Officer Michael Navarre discusses the Feres doctrine. He's now special counsel to Steptoe & Johnson LLP.

Peyton Robertson
Chair of Sandy Assessment Team
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is funding new research into how people react to storm warnings. The announcement comes as we mark the first anniversary of Superstorm Sandy. Or was it Hurricane Sandy? The wording changed several times throughout the event. Some say that led to confusion and perhaps kept victims in their homes for too long. Chair of NOAA's Sandy assessment team, Peyton Robertson, has more.

Jennifer Sheehy
Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Office of Disability Employment Policy
Labor Department

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The partial shutdown forced agencies to cancel long-planned events. But in many instances, surrogates stepped in to complete the mission. October is Disability Employment Awareness Month. It's usually the culmination of a year-long campaign at the Labor Department. Jennifer Sheehy is deputy assistant Labor secretary in the Office of Disability Employment Policy. She explains what happened this year.

Dr. David Murray
Director, Office of Disease Prevention
NIH

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Cigarettes are a lot more expensive than they were a generation ago. But they are still the leading cause of preventable death and disease. It might not be much different a generation from now. The Food and Drug Administration and the National Institutes of Health are sponsoring new tobacco-related research centers with a two-pronged goal: better regulations and a new crop of scientists trained to carry on the mission. Mitch Zeller is director of the FDA's Center for Tobacco Products. David Murray (pictured) is director of NIH's Office of Disease Prevention.

Lauren Larson
Host
Agency of the Month: DISA

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The Defense Information Systems Agency is working to streamline and consolidate how it buys and rolls out goods and services under existing acquisition rules. Jennifer Carter is the component acquisition executive at DISA. On this week's Agency of the Month, she tells Federal News Radio's Lauren Larson why planning ahead is a better approach for rapid delivery of cutting edge capabilities.

Jason Miller
Executive Editor
Federal News Radio

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Over the past year, the Air Force lost 35 contracting officers with a combined 700 years of federal experience. Instead of replacing them, the service is pooling its global resources under a new installation contracting agency. Air Force Maj. Gen. Wendy Masiello is the director of contracting. Federal News Radio's Jason Miller caught up with her at the Coalition for Government Procurement's fall conference. She talked about the contracting agency's launch on Oct. 1.

Heard Tom and Emily talk about another story during the show, but don't see it here? Check out our daily federal headlines for the latest news affecting the federal community.