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Wednesday morning federal headlines – Jan. 11, 2012

  • The Air Force is looking into wearable computers for its warfighters. This comes after the Army abandoned a similar program. The Air Force placed a request for information in FedBizOpps. It’s looking for a ruggedized system with a touchscreen readable in sunlight, an integrated GPS receiver and a tactile keyboard. They want the system to have at least 64 Gigs of memory and be able to run Windows 7. The Army abandoned plans for a similar wearable computer in favor of phone-like devices. (FedBizOpps)
  • The Postal Service has picked Verizon to build and run a major internal IT network. The six-year deal is worth $168 million, according to Verizon. They’ll build the internal Internet protocol infrastructure that USPS plans to use for communication with employees and managing day-to-day operations. The Virginia-based company already has separate agreements with the Postal Service for satellite services and videoconferencing, which the new network will support. (Federal News Radio)
  • Top federal officials and thousands of well-wishers gathered in Washington state yesterday to remember Margaret Anderson, a Mount Rainier National Park ranger who was shot and killed on New Year’s Day. Among the attendees: Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, who read a letter from the President. Anderson was the first NPS ranger to die in the line of duty. The 34-year-old mother of two was shot and killed after setting up a roadblock to stop a vehicle that blew through a checkpoint on the road to the park’s visitor center. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Air Force’s Chief Information Officer is retiring. The Air Force confirmed to Federal News Radio yesterday that Lt. Gen. Bill Lord will step down effective this July. He served in the job since the summer of 2009. Lord will be replaced by Lt. Gen. Michael Basla, currently the vice commander of Air Force Space Command. At Space Command, Basla helped implement and manage enterprise IT for the Air Force and played a key role in IT efficiency savings. (Federal News Radio)
  • The General Services Administration wants to thin its ranks across four major offices. GSA yesterday asked the Office of Personnel Management for buyout and early retirement approval for about 600 employees, or 5 percent of its workforce. GSA wants to reduce its workforce in the: Federal Acquisition Service; the Office of the Chief Information Officer; the Office of Governmentwide Policy and the Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies. OPM must still approve GSA’s request. Agency officials say they don’t know when OPM will issue an opinion. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Obama administration’s acquisition reforms seem to be taking hold. A new survey by Federal News Radio of federal chief acquisition officers shows their priorities for 2012 are focused on improving the acquisition workforce, reducing the use of high risk contracts and implementing strategic sourcing. Seventy-one percent of the respondents say they have already begun reducing the use of high risk contracts. Eighty-five percent say a better trained acquisition workforce is the key to saving money and reducing contracting. (Federal News Radio)
  • Catch 22, Freedom Flyers: The Tuskegee Airmen of World War II and Physics of the Future are among the titles on the Air Force Chief of Staff’s reading list for 2012. Air Force Gen. Norton Schwartz sent a letter to service personnel highlighting 13 books, including for the first time, supplementary films, treatises and Internet-based resources, that are on his professional reading list. Schwartz plans to highlight each book throughout the year. He is starting with three books, Airpower for Strategic Effect by Colin Gray; Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand; and Start with Why by Simon Sinek. (Federal News Radio)
  • President Obama paid a visit to employees at the Environmental Protection Agency yesterday to offer them a pat on the back and tell them he appreciates their work. The President told workers their mission is vital and that he’s proud of the work they’ve done on areas like mercury standards, fuel economy standards and environmental cleanup under the Recovery Act. (Federal News Radio)
  • The White House is hosting a forum today on how companies can bring jobs back into the United States. President Obama will be meeting with a number of industry leaders who have already begun insourcing jobs from abroad back into the U.S. The President will then be talking with government leaders from various agencies about the steps they can take to help make those jobs a reality. (
  • The Public Declassification Board has a new chairwoman. President Barack Obama appointed Nancy Soderberg to lead the board, which promotes the declassification of government information. The President also named Elizabeth Parker as a member to that Board. Soderberg is the president of Connect U.S. Fund, a non-profit organization that focuses on promoting U.S. global engagement. She is also a former U.S. Representative for Special Political Affairs at the United Nations from 1997 to 2001, with the rank of Ambassador and was the Staff Director of the National Security Council and Deputy Assistant to the President from 1993 until 1997. Parker has served as the dean of the McGeorge School of Law at the University of the Pacific since 2002. Congress created the Public Interest Declassification Board in 2000 and modified it in 2004.(Public Declassification Board )