Thursday Morning Federal Newscast – September 16th

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 users more information about the stories you hear on the air.

  • The Pentagon has reopened an investigation involving hundreds of DoD employees who allegedly subscribed to child pornography sites using their government e-mail addresses. In a statement issued yesterday the deputy Inspector General for Investigations at the Pentagon said he has asked the DCIS to re-open more than 250 investigations started in 2007 but later dropped due to a lack of resources. The announcement from DoD comes a day after the National Science Foundation was sent a letter about continuing concerns over porn problems there. The Washington Times reports Sen. Charles E. Grassley, the ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, sent the letter telling NSF officials he’s heard from three unnamed whistleblowers that senior executives caught looking at pornography are being punished more harshly than lower-level employees.
  • The plans are coming together for the Mark Center, but there’s still a lot of work to do and a big part of the project is still missing. The biggest project is adding direct access from I-395 to the Mark Center. That has yet to leave the planning stages. The National Capital Planning Commission has approved the transportation management plan for the Mark Center,which will house more than 6,400 Army employees starting this time next year. However, the Washington Examiner is reporting that long-term solutions are still a long way off. The management plan includes shuttling commuters between Metro and the Mark Center, new traffic signals, turn lanes, and other road improvements.
  • The FBI will strip Lockheed Martin of its prime contractor status on the troubled Sentinel case-management system. Information Week reports the bureau will finish work on the project with internal resources. The FBI froze the last two phases of Sentinel in July. The $451 million dollar program has faced multiple delays and rising costs. The bureau will still work with Lockheed on some things, but FBI CIO says his bureau is taking the lead.
  • It’s happened again. Two people were buried in the wrong graves at Arlington National Cemetery. The mixup was discovered as part of the Army’s investigation into widespread bookkeeping and grave-location problems at the nation’s premier military burial ground. In late August, cemetery staff had to exhume the casket of an Army staff sergeant, and switch it with the contents of a nearby grave. The Army faces potentially thousands of similar cases.
  • White House officials said they’ve canceled upgrades to financial management systems at the Small Business Administration and the Veterans Affairs Department. The move is part of an Office of Management and Budget strategy to save one billion dollars a year in IT. And all major agency financial system projects, including upgrades, are under the microscope.
  • A presidential panel recommends major changes aimed at helping small companies win federal contracts. The Task Force on Federal Contracting Opportunities for Small Business says the White House should require agencies to set-aside work on Multiple Award Schedule or task-and-delivery order contracts. Other recommendations include stronger rules and better training and resources for the acquisition workforce. GovExec reports a recent federal scorecard found the government again missed its goal of giving 23 percent of all contracts to small businesses.
  • The Securities and Exchange Commission is trying to walk a narrow line between secrecy and the Freedom of Information Act. The financial regulation law passed in July lets the agency keep secret, information it receives from securities brokers it uses in supervising the industry. That means many documents can be placed beyond the reach of FOIA. The Wall Street Journal reports, SEC chairwoman Many Schapiro has issued FOIA guidance that attempts to limit documents staff can designate as secret. In general, that means information related to investigations obtained from financial institutions. Schapiro is scheduled to testify on the matter to a House committee today.
  • The General Services Administration took a step closer to offering governmentwide satellite communications services. It has awarded the first of three contracts in a joint project with the Defense Information Systems Agency. The program is known as Future Comsatcom Services Acquisitions. NextGov reports, the first contract went to Artel, but agencies won’t be able to issue task orders until the other two contracts are awarded. That move is expected soon. The new contracts will replace DISA’s Inmarsat and GSA’s Satcom II programs, which expire in 2011 and 2012.
  • Boeing will team with Space Adventures Limited to take individuals to low earth orbit. The Washington Post reports the companies expect to have the space taxi service up and running by 2015. Boeing has been at work on the capsule for years, and has developed rockets in the course of its work for the federal government. It hopes to be one of the commercial space travel providers NASA will be using once the Shuttle program ends. Space Adventures, based in Vienna, has taken people to space using Russian Soyuz rockets.

More news links


FBI Takes Control Of Troubled Sentinel Project (InformationWeek)

Lawrence Berkeley Lab to Alter Staff Security (The Daily Californian)

FBI employees arrested for lying about steroid use (Reuters)

Three of the web’s most awkward phrases (CNN)


Coming up today on The DorobekInsider:

** Contractor integrity — GAO says there need to be stronger safeguards for contractors who have access to sensitive information. We’ll get details.

** All this talk about apps — there’s an app for that, right? In the end, are people using those apps? Is your investment in apps worth your time? A new report has insights and we’ll tell you about it.

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