Thursday morning federal headlines – Oct. 20

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.

  • New servers are on the way to help support the new It’s just one of the fixes the Office of Personnel Management is putting place to support the revamped federal jobs site. OPM Director John Berry said the site has received more than 140,000 applications since its relaunch last week. He also said his office is working with agencies to extend deadlines on job openings for three weeks to accommodate applicants who had trouble logging on. (Federal News Radio)
  • Veterans Affairs has given the green light to go ahead with its IT reduction plans. VA is putting into action the recommendations of its “Ruthless Reduction Task Force.” Among the ideas: Getting rid of desk-side printers, issuing either a desktop or laptop to employees – not both, reevaluating who needs a mobile device and consolidating IT contracts. The goal is to squeeze as much savings from their IT spending as possible. VA’s IT budget was $3.1 billion dollars in 2011. The agency requested about the same for 2012 but could face cuts. (Federal News Radio)
  • Lockheed Martin has won a battle with Raytheon. But this fight wasn’t for a contract. It was for a trademark, The Washington Business Journal reports. Both companies supply a certain type laser-guided missiles to the Air Force and Navy, known as a paveway. However, Raytheon applied to register the term “paveway,” and Lockheed came out swinging, filing a trademark opposition. The Patent and Trademark Office’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board unanimously ruled in favor of Lockheed. The board ruled that “paveway” is a generic term for a type of laser guided bomb, and cannot be registered. (Washington Business Journal)
  • Three bills with federal impact have passed a key Senate committee. The bills would combat wasteful spending in government, strengthen federal whistleblower protections and improve interagency communications with a new employee rotation program. They have been approved by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. The bills now move one step closer to a vote on the Senate floor. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Veterans of Foreign Wars is urging its two million members to plead with Congress to spare military and veterans’ benefits. The call to action by the VFW opposes any changes to Tricare or other retirement and health care plans. The VFW’s move was prompted by a recommendation for an annual enrollment fee for TRICARE for Life. The health care program or senior retired military personnel currently has no fee for participation. Lawmakers are already responding to the move. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said that current beneficiaries will be protected. (Federal News Radio)
  • Bigelow Aerospace has laid off half its staff because of delays developing space taxis, Reuters reports. The start-up space company builds inflatable habitats for commercial and government lease. The company had been working alongside NASA to fly people and cargo to outposts but says it needed those space taxis to be ready by 2015, and it’ll take at least a year longer than that. (Reuters)