Wednesday Morning Federal Newscast – May 12th

The Morning Federal Newscast is a daily compilation of the stories you hear simplify the federal hiring process. The long-awaited directive orders a dramatic reduction between when a job is announced and filled. It also eliminates knowledge, skills and abilities essays from the initial application process and mandates plain-language job announcements. Chief Human Capital Officers from all agencies today will meet to discuss implementation.

  • The safety and security of federal workers garners unanimous support in the form a House resolution, reports the WashingtonPost. The resolution is in the wake of a series of attack on government workers across the country. The tragedy at Fort Hood, the attack on an IRS building in Texas and the shooting at the Pentagon are just a couple. From 2001 to 2008, there were more than 1,200 assaults against Federal Employees. The measure “urges the government to seek ways to improve the safety and security of federal employees.”
  • The Base Realignment and Closure Commission mandate to transform Fort Belvoir in northern Virginia will give that military base a bigger workforce than the Pentagon when completed, reports FederalTimes. The number of Defense agencies operating in Fort Belvoir facilities will increase from 135 to 160. But the biggest increase in personnel will come from the $800 million dollar community hospital complex. The hospital will house 25 primary and specialty care clinics. It will replace the outdated DeWitt Army Hospital, and will take in one third of the patient services delivered by Walter Reed Hospital.
  • The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency is going green with new environmentally friendly buildings. The new $1.8 billion dollar headquarters being built at Fort Belvoir in northern Virginia will be the largest federal facility certified under the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program. The facility was mandated under the Base Realignment and Closure process. Construction will not be complete for another year, but some employees will begin moving into the new building this January. Federal Times reports, when completed the NGA building will be the third largest government building in the Washington area.
  • The General Services Administration is asking IT experts for advice on how to build their new e-mail system with cloud computing technology. GSA wants to close its old and outdated infrastructure and use the cloud to make a new state of the art email system. Federal Computer Week reports GSA’s desire for the new system stems from their need for a network that can handle an increasingly collaborative working environment. GSA is currently accepting comments on their proposal at the better buy projects wiki site.
  • A glitch that caused major computer system outages at the Census Bureau has been fixed. Developers and agency staff worked together to correct the problem. The glitch occurred in the paper-based operations control system, and could drive up costs beyond the $15 billion dollar price tag. So far there are no estimates to how much money the Bureau has lost but NextGov reports Census Director Robert Groves says, “it will cost a lot less money than it would have cost if that system didn’t work.”
  • Senior senators are trying to push through a $60 billion supplemental appropriation by Memorial Day. It includes funds for warfighting in Afghanistan, replenishing FEMA accounts, and disaster relief for Haiti. Appropriation Committee chairman Danial Inouye and majority Harry Reid call the bill a must-pass. But it could be an uphill battle in an election year.
  • Interior Secretary Ken Salazar detailed plans to split the Minerals Management Service into two parts. One would oversee safety of oil drilling in federal land and waters, and the other will collect oil and gas royalties. Lawmakers and government auditors have charged the two functions combined amounted to a conflict of interest.
  • The FCC is considering a rule requiring wireless providers to notify customers close to racking up charges for exceeding the minutes on their plans. The proposal is modeled after a rule in European Union, where customers complained of bill shock caused by too many text messages or phone calls. Under the FCC plan, customers would receive a text message from their carrier when they are about to exceed monthly limits.
  • Contractors would face more scrutiny for longer under a new bi-partisan Senate bill. The 2010 Federal Contracting and Oversight Act would double the time past performance records remain in the Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System from five years to ten. NextGov reports the bill would also add records of administrative proceedings against a firm, and open the database to all members of Congress. Sponsors of the bill say it’s designed to prevent unqualified companies from winning government work.
  • Two contractors are battling NASA over who will pay for shutdown costs if the Obama administration gets its way in ending the Constellation rocket program. Lockheed Martin and Alliant Techsystems face a price tag of $1 billion, according to the Wall Street Journal. Costs include paying subcontractors, dismantling equipment, and securing sensitive technology. Whether the government or the companies pay might have to be settled by Congress, or the courts.

  • More news links

    Carper Urges Review of Federal Building Efficiency Measures to Save Taxpayer Dollars and Improve Energy Efficiency (press release)

    Air Force officials announce FY 2011 force structure alignments (AFNS)


    Green cards for permanent residents green again

    Microsoft gets more aggressive with free software

    NASA’s Declining Research Facilities Could Prevent Agency From Meeting Important Mission Goals (press release)

    Drifting satellite threatens US cable programming

    Secular groups protest ‘Godly’ oath on behalf of census workers (press release)


    Coming up today on The Daily Debrief:

    ** We’ll continue our coverage of OPM’s announcement changing the way agencies hire people.

    ** And earlier this week, the Senate confirmed the head of the Defense Department’s cyber command. Federal News Radio’s Jason Miller will report on the new command — and DOD’s steps to protect its systems.