Tuesday Morning Federal Newscast – August 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.

  • If Defense Secretary Robert Gates gets his way, the Pentagon will be $100 billion slimmer in five years — with less brass. Gates wants personnel and materiel cuts, including the CIO position, Business Transformation Agency and a major command in Norfolk, Va. He also wants to cut at least 50 general and flag officer positions.
  • The Census Bureau is expecting to save more than a billion dollars on its latest population-count. Census Director Robert Groves today will announce at least $1.6 billion dollars in savings — about 22-percent of its costs in 2010. A Census official tells Federal News Radio a big chunk of that is because the bureau didn’t need to tap into a contingency fund for unplanned events, like natural disasters. Census workers also conducted fewer door-to-door interviews. Other savings come from improved internal operations.
  • The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says workplace discrimination is on the rise in federal government. For a second year, in 2009, more federal employees filed discrimination complaints. And the EEOC sided with more of those cases. According to Federal Times, the complaints number in the hundreds. But the trend reverses a decade of steady declines.
  • Two feds were injured when a rocket motor they were disassembling ignited. It happened at the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Indian Head, Maryland. The motor belonged to a sidewinder rocket. But no war head was involved. The employees were sent to the hospital, and investigators are looking for a cause.
  • The Homeland Security Department will pay for its electronic foreign visitor tracking system by charging travelers to the United States a $14 dollar fee. The fee will apply to participants in the Visa Waiver Program. NextGov reports DHS arrived at the fee by dividing the cost of the program — nearly $325 million dollars over five years — by the expected number of eligible visitors. The system, called the Electronic System for Travel Authorization, gathers information to help assess people who might pose security risks.
  • Two senators — Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Tom Carper of Delaware — have urged the Obama administration to crack down on counterfeit parts making their way into the Defense Department supply chain. Recent studies by the Commerce Department and the Government Accountability Office have detailed the extent of counterfeit electronics and other products, and how they threaten military safety. In a letter, the senators asked what steps DOD has taken so far to stop faked parts, and urged it to speed up efforts to ensure the integrity of weapons systems.
  • Google and Verizon Communications reached an agreement on the handling of Internet traffic they say should be a model for any legislation on the matter. The agreement basically calls for equal treatment of most Internet traffic. But the companies left room for broadband providers to charge extra to route traffic from premium services such as remote medical monitoring and smart-grid controls over dedicated networks that are separate from the public Internet. Plus, the agreement would only apply to wired traffic, not wireless cellular. In a statement, FCC Commissioner Michael Copps said the time for discussion about the issue has passed and it’s time to move a decision forward.
  • GeoEye Imagery Collections Systems has landed a huge contract from the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. If all options over 10 years are exercised, the deal is worth up to $3.8 Billion dollars. The Washington Business Journal reports the contract is part of the NGA’s EnhancedView commercial imagery program. GeoEye’s satellite imagery is already used by the Department of Defense and intelligence agencies. NGA also awarded a similar contract under the EnhancedView program to DigitalGlobe, worth up to $3.5 billion dollars.
  • A federal jury in Hawaii on Monday convicted a former B-2 stealth bomber engineer of selling military secrets to China. Noshir Gowadia was convicted on 14 counts, including conspiracy, violating the arms export control act and money laundering. He was found not guilty on three counts of communicating national defense information. Gowadia has been in federal custody since October 2005. He faces life in prison when he is sentenced in November. Prosecutors accused Gowadia of helping China design a stealth cruise missile, and that he pocketed $110,000 over two years for his exhaust nozzle design.
  • The National Institute for Standards and Technology wants to find a way for a family of four to use only as much energy as it generates. It is called Net Zero Energy and NIST has re-issued a pre-solicitation notice for the construction of a Net Zero Energy test facility on its Gaithersburg campus. The Washington Business Journal reports it will be used as a development and testing area for a net zero home for a family of four. This is the second try for NIST, which first put the $5 million dollar contract out for bid in May.

More news links

DHS Warns Metro About Threat (NBC4)


Boeing May Get $7 Billion for Upgrades as Lockheed JSF Stalls (Bloomberg)

Statement of President Barack Obama on Secretary Gates Reform Agenda (White House press office)

Are federal workers overpaid? (WTOP Radio)