Wednesday Morning Federal Newscast – Nov. 10th

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.

  • The Social Security Administration may be leaving its networks and computers open to attacks. The agency’s inspector general criticizes SSA for not doing enough to protect them. The IG says that from the end of October 2009 to September 21st of this year, the agency experienced nearly 200 incidents of malware that could have given someone unauthorized access or disabled systems. Federal Times reports the IG’s recommendations include revising a policy that allows employees and contractors to install non-agency software. The IG also recommends enforcing the policy through disciplinary action, where appropriate.
  • The National Mall gets a “C” from Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. Salazar has signed a plan to restore what he calls “the front yard of America” – saying that the National Park Service should strive for an “A.” He says that to restore the Mall, the federal government will have to partner with private sponsors. That’s why Coca-Cola is on board. It donated a half million dollars for recycling bins. Other improvements include new restrooms, entertainment facilities and cafes or restaurants. Gravel walkways would be paved, grass turf would be reengineered and seawalls around the Tidal Basin would be rebuilt to prevent flooding.
  • Federal agencies working in Afghanistan are gearing up for closer scrutiny of reconstruction projects collectively worth more than $450 million. An eight-member team from the Commission on Wartime Contracting is heading to the country for nine days of inspections and briefings. They’ll examine a number of projects, including a $94 million contract to build a police training center and $67 million to improve an air base. The team’s findings will be used in a future hearing on construction-contract issues. They’ll also help the commission refine its recommendations for current and future contingency operations.
  • The Education Department has released its 124-page plan for transforming public education. The plan emphasizes use of technology to improve teaching, learning and student assessment. Plus, it sees technology as a way to control costs and improve schools’ infrastructure. Each area of improvement comes with a detailed set of goals, with a deadline of 2015. The plan envisions classroom technology enabling greater access and mobility, as well as use of new, digital media.
  • You may already have your HSPD-12 card. Now the Government Printing Office wants to help you personalize it. GPO has launched a service that will print and customize the card with your picture and biographical information. GPO is the only federal agency to offer the service. GSA lists one private company that can do the same thing: Oberthur Card Systems. Several other vendors provide electronic personalization.
  • Hilton Worldwide will improve accessibility for the disabled at all nine-hundred of its hotels in the United States. The agreement with the Justice Department resolves a lawsuit that claims Hilton hotels failed to comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act in hundreds of its hotels built over the past 17 years. This is the first time DOJ has required anyone to make such a sweeping survey of all its facilities to ensure it complies with ADA. Hilton will also have to work on its reservations system and its website to make sure they’re compliant. The company also will appoint a national ADA compliance officer and have an ADA contact person at each hotel.
  • GeoEye is reporting higher revenue and adjusted earnings that topped analyst estimates. The company’s stock has hit a new all-time high. The Washington Business Journal reports that GeoEye reported revenues in the third quarter of $86.5 million. That’s an eight percent increase from the year before. GeoEye provides high-resolution earth-imaging services to the U.S. government and other customers. This past summer, it won a contract worth as much as $3.8 billion over the next 10 years from the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency.
  • Business must be pretty good for ICF International. The professional services firm, which has contracts with Health and Human Services, Education, Social Security, EPA, and other government agencies, plans to expand its leased headquarters in Fairfax to 300,000 square feet over the next 12 years. The Washington Business Journal reports ICF also plans to invest $20 million in the facility and hire 400 more employees over the next three years.
  • Could it be the end for the Office of Congressional Ethics? Watchdog groups cited in USA Today worry the new Republican Majority in the House will close it. Presumptive House Speaker John Boehner voted against the office in 2008. And he’s questioned questioned its effectiveness. The Office of Congressional Ethics is an independent body that investigates alleged wrongdoing by members of the House. A spokesman for Boehner says that Democrats are the only ones who have publicly called for its closing. No decision has been made.

More news links

Mass.-based Raytheon reports postelection layoffs

Feds dismiss misconduct claims at FDA device unit

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No charges for destroying CIA interrogation videos

And Finally: Happy Birthday Marines!

The Marines are 235-years-old today (JacksonSun by Lt. Gen. John “GLAD” Castellaw, USMC Ret.)

Concluding paragraph:

America has to have the Army to win big land battles and garrison territory; we have to have an Air Force to defend our skies; the Navy is required to protect our shores and project global power; but America doesn’t have to have a Marine Corps. The Marine Corps only exists because the American people want her Spartans, warriors who meet adversity, thrive on challenges and willingly make the ultimate sacrifice. Happy birthday Marines.

THIS AFTERNOON ON FEDERAL NEWS RADIO

Coming up today on The DorobekInsider:

** A lot of talk about government innovation — and about government as a platform. On this day before Veterans Day, we’ll talk to a computer science professor who says V-A’s VistA health IT can unleash innovation.

** And get ready to do more with less. Details on a new report out on how to fix the budget process.

Join Chris from 3 to 7 pm on 1500 AM or on your computer.