Federal News Countdown: supercommittee stalemate, Army cost-savings

Today’s guests on the Federal News Countdown are:
Tim Hoechst, chief technology officer, Agilex
Debra Roth, partner, Shaw, Bransford and Roth

Tim Hoechst’s stories
#3 Oh, the Places We Could Go
From New York Times:

In science fiction, wars between the Earth and her interplanetary colonies are a staple of the far future, but this was not that. Before we go to war with Mars, there has to be somebody living there to fight. Toward the end of the exhibition “Beyond Planet Earth: The Future of Space Exploration,” which opens at the American Museum of Natural History on Saturday, a visitor is confronted with a chance to help make the red planet, currently a frozen desert, livable.

#2 Why NIST Should Scrap “the Cloud” Entirely
From Wired:


[I]t’s easy to poke fun at NIST’s pie-in-the-sky wishlist for cloud computing, but the authors themselves know that the document is more aspirational than operational. The plan is to identify priorities, to define goals (however lofty), and to foster discussion that will hopefully nudge to this whole cloud thing forward to the point where the government can start saving money with it. Nonetheless, the challenges that the authors face in trying to help “the cloud” are fundamental, and they’re rooted in the fact that it’s not really clear what, if anything, “the cloud” is.

#1 Army Aims to Save by ‘Buying Less, More Often’
From Wall Street Journal:

White Sands Missile Range was the site of the first atomic-bomb test in 1945. Now the Army is using the New Mexico complex for a different kind of test: to see if it can get more bang for its buck.

Troops at White Sands and the adjacent Fort Bliss, Texas, are trying out new radios, smartphones and other gear to build a secure wireless network for the battlefield.

Debra Roth’s stories
#3 Postal Service will resume FERS retirement contributions next month
From Government Executive:

The U.S. Postal Service will resume payments in December to its Federal Employees Retirement System account after suspending them this summer, the agency announced Tuesday.

#2 IRS more popular than Congress
From Talking Points Memo:

The public’s approval of Congress is at all-time lows, and Democrats — despite controlling half the legislative branch — enjoy reminding Republicans of that fact at every opportunity.

#1 Lawmakers at Loggerheads on Deficit
From New York Times:

With just days remaining before their final deadline, members of a Congressional panel on deficit reduction made frenzied efforts on Thursday to overcome an impasse, but appeared to be talking past one another and reported no tangible progress toward an agreement.