Friday Morning Federal Newscast – April 30th

The Morning Federal Newscast is a daily compilation of the stories you hear agencies have strategies for mentoring and employee performance management mandated under the Federal Supervisor Training Act. OPM’s Nancy Kichak tells a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee, a majority of agencies are developing training strategies.

  • The CIA will step up the deployment of staff overseas. A new plan unveiled by director Leon Panetta calls for more analysts to be placed outside of the U.S. to join the operations workers posted abroad since the 9/11 attacks. The Washington Post reports, Panetta told CIA staff to expect more co-location of analysts and operators at home and abroad over the next five years. He believes fusion of the two sides results in better agency performance.
  • Counterfeit parts are the subject of a report by Government Accountability Office. GAO investigators found counterfeit parts in military equipment. The report says parts could have entered the Department of Defense supply chain at any point. The investigation found the Pentagon lacks a department-wide definition of the term counterfeit and a consistent means of identifying instances of suspected counterfeit. The GAO has recommended the DoD establish an anti-counterfeiting guidance across the department and its contractors.
  • Only three government agencies got the green flag on their transparency plans. The Department of Transportation, NASA and Health and Human Services met all the requirements of the Obama administration’s open government directive. FCW reports the directive lays out 30 criteria the agency must meet to get a green flag. The departments were also scored on the process in which they formulated their plans. A yellow score indicates progress has been made but more work needs to be done. The White House posted the results on their dashboard. No agency received a red flag.
  • The government’s financial regulators are hoping for a major IT upgrade. Senate appropriators on Wednesday heard from the heads of the Commodities Futures Trading Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commission, both of whom say their agencies will need big IT improvements if Congress passes financial regulatory reform. SEC’s 2011 budget request proposes $12 million dollars for IT. The trading commission’s proposal asks for $18 million.
  • The Veterans Affairs Department is practicing what it preaches. It has doubled the number of contracts it awards to veteran-owned small businesses. According to a new Government Accountability Report, that amounts to one in five VA contracts in 2009. The majority of those contracts went to companies owned by disabled veterans. But GAO cautioned that VA needs to spend more effort in vetting and ensuring the status of companies claiming to be disadvantaged.
  • Congressional Democrats have unveiled a bill that would prevent government contractors from spending on election ads. The measure is designed to soften the impact of a Supreme Court ruling in January that opened the door for companies to fund independent political ads. Congress Daily reports the bill would also place restrictions on other groups, including labor unions. Sponsors hope to pass it in Congress by July 4th. Http://
  • It’s a bird, it’s a plane, no it’s a NASA balloon bearing a gamma-ray telescope. But it wasn’t in the air long, the balloon crashed during liftoff in Australia. The balloon overturned an SUV and narrowly missed several onlookers. The balloon was part of a research project by academics and students at the University of California, Berkeley, and several Taiwanese universities designed to study gamma rays in space from 25 miles above the Earth. No one was injured in the accident. The exact cause of the crash is still unknown, although wind gusts are suspected.

  • More news links

    VA, Tricare to get millions from settlement (Stars&Stripes)


    Remains of WWII soldiers found in sunken bomber are buried at Arlington (Stars&Stripes)


    Coming up today on The Daily Debrief:

    ** You know about DARPA, of course — DOD’s research organization. But have you heard of ARPA-e, a new Energy Department organization that is tasked with energy innovation? We’ll talk to the head of ARPA-e.

    ** And can online government tools change how people perceive YOU? A new Pew Research poll has some interesting findings and we’ll get details.

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