In Depth interviews - May 14

Tuesday - 5/15/2012, 1:20am EDT

This is the In Depth show blog. Here you can listen to the interviews, find more information about the guests on the show each day and links to additional resources.

Today's guests:

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack

Tuesday is the 150th birthday of the Agriculture Department.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told In Depth his agency will observe it by honoring the agency's employees. Vilsack also discussed the effect of congressional proposals and budget cuts at the agency.

READ MORE: USDA celebrates 150 years of service


Jeff NealSenior Vice President, ICF International

Linda BilmesDaniel Patrick Moynihan Senior Lecturer in Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School of Government

How would the Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and Benjamin Franklin view the federal workers of the 21st century. That's the intriguing concept behind a panel discussion hosted by the National Academy of Public Administration and ICF International, titled "How Would the Founders Envision the Civil Service Today?"

The concept is based on a article Linda Bilmes, a Harvard Kennedy School of Government senior lecturer, wrote for Public Administration Review.


Brenda Brockman SmithExecutive Director of the Trade Policy and Programs, U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Customs and Border Protection announced last week it's expanding its Centers of Excellence and Expertise Program. The virtual centers aim to lower CBP's cost of business and to transform customs procedures.

Brenda Brockman Smith, the executive director of CBP's trade policy and programs, joins In Depth to discuss how the new centers expand the focus on "21st century trade" and how they provide services.


Dr. H. Allen DobbsChief Medical Officer for the National Disaster Medical System, Health and Human Services Department

When disaster strikes, one of the biggest challenges facing responders is how to efficiently treat and track those injured.

H. Allen Dobbs has made the modernization of the process a priority during his career and is being recognized for his work. The chief medical officer at the Health and Human Services Department's National Disaster Medical System is a finalist in the "Career Achievement Medal" category of the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals, more commonly know as the Sammies.

He joins In Depth to discuss his work and the award.


Sharon PickupDirector of Defense Capabilities and Management Issues, GAO

There's a difference between fighting a war and keeping the peace.

And the Government Accountability Office is helping the Defense Department draw the line, with a recent report examining the steps DoD has taken to assist Afghan security forces.

Sharon Pickup, the director of Defense Capabilities and Management Issues at GAO, tells In Depth the Pentagon has broadly defined the term "security assistance" and has already identified gaps in its development doctrine.


Mark CohnChief Technology Officer, Unisys

The mobile device explosion is causing a security nightmare for your agency's IT shop. Not so much because of actual events, but because of the possibilities for exploitation.

According to a new Unisys Security Index report, nearly one-third of respondents prefer simple passwords to secure their mobile work devices — even though hackers can break a six-character simple password in just 10 minutes.

Mark Cohn, the chief technology officer of Unisys Federal Systems, joins In Depth to discuss the survey.

This story is part of Federal News Radio's daily Cybersecurity Update. For more cybersecurity news, click here.