Federal Drive Show Blog - February 27, 2014

Thursday - 2/27/2014, 9:43am EST

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:

Brian Conniff
President
Middle East Broadcasting Networks

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For the Broadcasting Board of Governors, providing an alternative to one-sided broadcasts in the Middle East is a priority. That's why it provides grants to a news organization called Alhurra. Alhurra means "the free one" in Arabic. For 10 years, its broadcast team has been working to establish journalistic credibility in a region where the U.S. isn't generally trusted.

Brian Conniff is president of the Middle East Broadcasting Networks. He oversees Alhurra Television and Radio Sawa. He described their mission in the Middle East and what they've been doing.

Lexine Hansen
Senior Policy Adviser for the Global Climate Change Initiative
USAID

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Who speaks for the trees? The U.S. Agency for International Development and the private sector are working together in a new program they call the Global Forest Watch Initiative. Its goal is to create a real time mapping application to monitor forest lost. Lexine Hansen is the senior policy adviser of the initiative at USAID.

Michael Navarre
Special Counsel
Steptoe & Johnson LLP

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A tragic case involving the federal government, a contractor and a soldier could be headed to the Supreme Court. Contractor KBR built military housing in Iraq. The electrical work was so shoddy that a solder was electrocuted while taking a shower. The law ordinarily prohibits soldiers or their estates from suing the government. But what about KBR? Michael Navarre, special counsel at Steptoe & Johnson LLP, explains.

Travis Sharp
Adjunct Fellow
Center for a New American Security

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Topic A in Washington now is the future of the Defense Department. In particular, the size and scope of the armed services. The debates don't fall precisely on partisan lines. Travis Sharp, an adjunct fellow at the Center for a New American Security, offers his perspective.

Jason Miller
Executive Editor
Federal News Radio

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The Defense Department is literally putting technology programs in a box. DoD says the IT box is used to ensure programs meets cost, schedule and performance goals and focuses on rapid and small increments. Federal News Radio Executive Editor Jason Miller has details on the IT box and other changes DoD is making to improve how it buys technology.

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Jared Serbu
DoD Reporter
Federal News Radio

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Defense Department officials say the 2015 budget won't just be about reducing the size of the uniformed forces. They also intend to propose targeted reductions to the civilian workforce and cut the numbers of contractor employees. Federal News Radio's Jared Serbu reports, all of the armed services say they're mapping out ways to make do with less contractor support than they have right now.

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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.