Tuesday morning federal headlines – Oct. 25

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.

  • The Defense Department is intensifying efforts to find savings from its IT budgets. Deputy CIO Rob Carey said service-by-service efforts will be consolidated into a single, departmentwide strategy. DoD has committed to saving $450 billion over the next 10 years. Carey said every DoD agency will be looking for IT savings that can be plowed back into mission or warfighting needs. Carey said cost cutting will center on data center and network consolidation.The Navy wants to cut billions from spending on business systems. (Federal News Radio)
  • The General Services Administration is speeding up efforts to cut energy use in federal buildings. GSA Administrator Martha Johnson said GSA will pick 50 federal buildings and intensively measure how they use power. Johnson said federal buildings are already 22 percent more efficient than the average private-sector building. But she predicted the government will save an additional $1 per square foot with a detailed approach. At the Executive Leadership Conference in Williamsburg, Va., Johnson said GSA would also renew its focus on electronic waste — the government retires 10,000 computers every day, she said. (Federal News Radio)
  • Rising healthcare costs and the aging U.S. population are cramping the federal government’s long-term fiscal outlook. However, the Government Accountability Office, in its most recent report, said things are looking up since the last examination of the long-term fiscal outlook. GAO said that the Budget Control Act of 2011 has helped, but budgetary pressure will increase in coming decades as more members of the baby-boom generation retire. Auditors at GAO said that for the long-term fiscal outlook to improve, there must be a sustained commitment beyond what the Budget Control Act provides for. But even that might not be sufficient to ensure sustainability. (GAO)
  • Eleven employees and contractors with the General Services Administration have been sentenced in contracting bribery schemes. The last defendant is Eric Minor, a 25-year GSA employee, who was sentenced to 30 months in prison. Minor handed out contracts to four companies for no work. He received kickbacks totaling $118,000. Federal agents found a box containing $70,000 in Minor’s home. Minor told the judge he had a soft heart and wanted to help the contractors support their families. (Federal News Radio)
  • Some Justice Department employees are unhappy with the department’s plan to close four antitrust field offices. So they’ve taken their case to Congress, calling for hearings, Gov Exec reports. Attorney Laura Heisler, who works in the Philadelphia field office — one of the four scheduled for closure — has taken up the cause. The others are Atlanta, Dallas and Cleveland. Heisler has brought the employees’ concerns to Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), a member of the Appropriations subcommittee that includes Justice. A Justice spokeswoman said the 94 employees affected would be offered jobs in New York, Chicago, San Francisco or antitrust headquarters in Washington, D.C. (GovExec)
  • A fraud and kickback scheme involving a New York City contract has cost three executives their jobs at Science Applications International Corp. SAIC’s CEO, Walt Havenstein, called their actions an “affront to everything SAIC stands for,” The Washington Business Journal reports. At issue is the CityTime project for New York City. The project was supposed to cost $63 million back in 1998, but the costs ballooned to more than $600 million. The Wall Street Journal reports that prosecutors have called the project an international conspiracy, The Wall Street Journal reports.
  • Of all the ways that the Congressional supercommittee is considering to save money, this one could be among the more unorthodox. If the dollar bill were phased out and replaced with a dollar coin, it could save more than $5.5 billion. But the Government Accountability Office found more than $1 billion in dollar coins aren’t used. USA Today reports that lobbying interests on both sides are ramping up their efforts. They think that Congress might decide the issue after more than 25 years of debate. Mining interests, vending companies and mass transit agencies support the coin. Paper and ink producers and some small retailers oppose it. (USA Today)
  • Leaders in government information technology were honored at the 21st annual Executive Leadership Conference. Veterans Health Administration CIO Craig Luigart was awarded the prestigious Mendenhall Leadership Award. He was honored for his efforts to improve government IT, mentoring colleagues and collaborating with industry. Luigart was just one of seven who were honored. Dr. Rick Holgate, CIO for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, was chosen as Government Contributor of Year for leading the charge on emerging technologies. Michael Donovan of HP was named ACT-IAC’s Rookie of the Year.