The Morning Federal Newscast is a daily compilation of the stories you hear Federal Drive hosts Tom Temin and Amy Morris discuss throughout the show each day. The Newscast is designed to give FederalNewsRadio.com users more information about the stories you hear on the air.
If you travel on business, depending on your destination, you’re about to get less money to spend on lodging. GSA has lowered fiscal 2011 per diem rates for more than 300 frequently-traveled locations, mostly metropolitan areas. The rates for less-traveled-to areas goes up to $77 dollars.
Management association leaders accuse the Postal Service of manipulating pay-for-performance ratings. The heads of the National Association of Postmasters of the U.S. and the National League of Postmasters say that higher-ups may have lowered original ratings for hundreds of postmasters. GovExec reports the Postal Service Inspector General’s office is investigating. And a spokesman for the Postal Service says the agency disagrees with the unions.
The agency that oversees offshore drilling is imposing a first-ever ethics policy. The head of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement Michael Bromwich says the new policy bars inspectors from dealing with any company that employs friends or family members. He hopes the new policy helps to restore credibility to the scandalized agency, formerly known as the Minerals Management Service. The new policy also bans inspectors from work involving their former employers for two years.
More Defense Information Systems Agency workers are willing to accept relocation from Virginia to new headquarters at Fort Meade, Maryland. NextGov reports, the latest DISA employee surveys show 60 percent are ready to transfer. When the move was first announced in 2005, only 29 percent said they would move. DISA BRAC executive, Dave Bullock, says telecommuting plus flexible schedules mean some workers would only need to commute three days out of ten. DISA managers are considering a telecommuting center in Woodbridge, Virginia for those who need classified network connections.
Now that U.S. combat operations in Iraq are officially over, that country is looking to buy $13 billion dollars in American arms and military equipment. USAToday reports the order includes tanks, ships, hardware and other military weaponry. U.S. officials say it shows Iraqi-U.S. military ties will be tight for years to come. About half the sales are finalized contracts. The rest are still in negotiations. The sales will make Iraq among the world’s biggest customers for American military arms and equipment.
CACI International continues its partnership with the Library of Congress, helping the library digitally archive millions of documents. The new contract is worth as much as $40 million. It is a one-year deal with four one-year options. CACI will provide content management, delivery services, and Web application development. This, as the Library of Congress moves much of its collection online. The idea is to make it digitally available to the public.
Changes are coming to the 8(a) business development program, specifically when it comes to sole source contracts with Native American and Alaskan Native companies. Agencies will need to justify sole-source contract awards to 8(a) businesses, when those awards exceed $20 million dollars. The Federal Acquisition Councils have announced a series of meetings on how to implement some changes. But they have not said when the meetings will be held.
The Obama administration has remade U.S. foreign and domestic policy. Now it has remade the Oval Office. As have his predecessors, President Obama — with help from a California designer and presumably the first lady — has completed a make-over of the famed West Wing office. It now sports a relaxed color scheme or tan, camel and brown, including soft, cotton-covered new sofas. And a new, cream-colored rug. Even the president’s leather chair is new, covered in brown leather. Funds for the do-over came from the nonprofit White House Historical Association, through a contribution from the presidential inaugural committee.
** They look like funky bar codes. They’re call QR codes and they’re actually SUPER bar codes. They aren’t that popular in the U-S… just yet. We’ll tell you what QR codes are — and how government can use them.
** And a big day for aviation — the first flight using the Next Generation air transportation system. How’s it work? We’ll tell you…
Tom Temin is the host of The Federal Drive, which airs from 6-8 a.m. on 1500 AM in the Washington, D.C. region and online everywhere. Tom has 30 years experience in journalism, mostly in technology markets. Before coming to Federal News Radio, he was a long-serving editor-in-chief of Government Computer News and Washington Technology magazines.