Blog, Videos and Podcasts

This Defense official put allied suppliers to Ukraine on speed dial
July 13, 2023 |
19 min
For nearly 18 months, the United States and its allies have shored up Ukraine with advanced weapons and ammunition. Early on, a policy office deep in the Pentagon coordinated efforts to enlist more than 50 countries to gather up not only weapons, but also medical supplies, ambulances and clothing. Laura Cooper is Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia, or RUE. For her work in to help Ukraine, she's a finalist in this year's Service to America Medals program, orchestrated by the non-partisan Partnership for Public Service. She is the lastest of Federal Drive Host Tom Temin's weekly guests who are Sammies finalists.
These USDA employees modernized an old program so poor Americans could eat better
July 6, 2023 |
20 min
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is among the oldest enduring federal programs. Now, the Agriculture Department has found a way to help recipients eat well even if they live in what's known as a food desert: no access to supermarkets or high quality food. Two finalists for Service to America Medals brought SNAP to online food buying. Federal Drive Host Tom Temin spoke with the two Sammies finalists: Lisa Gafaldi, a Senior Technical Adviser to the SNAP program and Shelly Pierce, Director of the SNAP Policy and Innovation Division.
This federal lawyer got a settlement from a powerful industry after a 20-year dispute
June 29, 2023 |
21 minutes
When you hit that convenience store for a pack of smokes, you might notice the warning sign. That's thanks to my next guest. She produced a settlement in a long running dispute with the tobacco industry about retail signage. For her tenacity and skill, she's a finalist in this year's Service to America Medals program. The assistant director of the consumer protection branch of the Justice Department, Lisa Hsiao, joined the Federal Drive to discuss further. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
A redo on Schedule F spotlights personnel reform
June 27, 2023 |
39 minutes
The leader of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, Jen Easterly, says her agency is “not tracking a significant impact against the civilian .gov enterprise” because of the MOVEit hack. But there is more CISA can do to help civilian agencies fight cyber attacks, according to Ron Sanders, the President and CEO of Publica Virtu; former Associate Director at OPM; and former Chief Human Capital Officer at the IRS, and the intelligence community. He’s writing about what CISA can do that it’s not in Gov Exec, and he tells you what steps he thinks CISA can - and should - take. The revival of legislation that would bring back Schedule F has the spotlight on poor performers again. But some experts are leveraging that revival to talk about broader human capital management reform. Jenny Mattingley, Vice President of Government Affairs at the Partnership for Public Service and former Day 1 Impact Fellow at the Office of Management and Budget, reviews some possible points to watch for. Three aviation crashes since 2015 have reshaped the way the U.S. military operates. One aircraft accident investigator has played a critical role in all three. Dave Clark, Air Safety Specialist and Aircraft Mishap Investigator for Naval Safety Command, and finalist for a Service to America medal from the Partnership for Public Service in the Career Achievement category, tells you about his office’s mission, and his work. Photo: Dave Clark, courtesy of Partnership for Public Service
DHS adviser finds a way to ground airborne human trafficking
June 22, 2023 |
10 minutes
Not all human trafficking takes place in trucks and boats. Sometimes perpetrators fly their victims around. Federal Drive host Tom Temin's interview guest led an effort by the Homeland Security and Transportation Departments to train aviation personnel -- on the ground and in airplanes -- how to identify potential victims of human trafficking. It's called the Blue Lightning Initiative. And for Michael Camal's work on Blue Lightening, he finds himself as a finalist in this year's Service to America Medals Program, aka the Sammies. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Virtual reality is more than fun and games at the VA
June 15, 2023 |
22 minutes
Immersive technology has shown real promise in treating both physical and psychological illnesses. It is taking hold at the Veterans Health Administration, enabled by a special network called the Extended Reality Network. The leaders of the team that built the network are finalists in this year's Service to America Medals Program. Federal Drive host Tom Temin spoke with Anne Lord Bailey and Caitlin Rawlins. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Why access to suicide prevention services is easier in one crucial way
June 8, 2023 |
23 minutes
Last year the federal government deputed a three-digit suicide prevention hotline phone number. 988. It replaced a 10-digit number. The new number is thanks to the work of a team at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Team members are now finalists in this year's Service to America Medals Program. Two of the finalists, James Wright and Dr. Richard McKeon joined the Federal Drive to tell their story. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
How the EPA funneled enforcement into a difficult-to-reach part of the country
June 1, 2023 |
11 minutes
Region Six of the EPA encompasses 15% of the U.S. land area. But it accounts for 25% of enforcement actions by the EPA. The region covers five states and 66 tribal nations. It also includes many oil and gas fields, chemical plants, and paper factories. Federal Drive host Tom Temin's guest, helped helped drive much of the enforcement activity. Now she's a finalist in this year's Service to America Medals program. She's Cheryl Seager, EPA's Region Six Director of Enforcement, Compliance and Assurance. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Meet the GAO investigator who bird-dogged the federal student loan program
May 25, 2023 |
23 minutes
Waste, fraud and abuse in the federal student aid loan program is bad. But it would be a lot worse, if not for someone at the Government Accountability Office (GAO) For more than 20 years, she has dispensed tough and crucial oversight to federal financial aid for students, which has rooted out fraudsters and saved untold sums of money. Now she is a finalist for a Service to America Medals, administered by the Partnership for Public Service. Federal Drive host talks with Melissa Emrey-Arras, the GAO's Director of Education, Workforce and Income Security Issues. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
In our Service to America Medals series: How the Air Force went from logjam to innovation factory
May 18, 2023 |
11 minutes
The Air Force was among the earliest agencies to organize around the need for innovation. Its approach, known as AFWERX, got started back in 2017 and became a model for many other agencies. The idea man behind AFWERX is now a finalist in this year's Service to America Medals program. He's the first of a series of finalists Federal Drive Tom Temin will be talking to through October. He's Mark Ingram, the Chief Strategy Officer of the Air Force Integrated Capabilities Directorate. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
Page header: Charles Bolden, former Administrator of NASA, interviewed backstage at the 2013 Sammies gala