Thursday morning federal headlines – Nov. 3

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.

  • Veterans Affairs is preparing to deploy thousands of tablet computers. But that doesn’t mean they’ll all be iPads. VA is asking industry to help it build an infrastructure to support 10,000 tablets. It’s all part of a worker mobility strategy. CIO Roger Baker says, though, he isn’t willing to bet on which brand of tablet will be the winner in the market, adding that VA’s network will be able to support future tablets that might become popular. Baker said VA will support any tablet as long as its operating system can meet federal security standards. (Federal News Radio)
  • Many federal CIOs see cloud computing as a way to cut costs. Homeland Security CIO Richard Spires also sees it as a way to cut clutter. He wants to clear away a lot of computer clutter by buying storage, email and collaboration as online services. Spires outlined his plan at a cloud computing forum sponsored by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. NIST this week issued what it calls a roadmap for cloud computing, and Spires is expecting a long road. He said it will be another four or five years before cloud becomes mainstream for business applications. (Federal News Radio)
  • The administration’s top procurement official is leaving. Dan Gordon, administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, will be joining the law school at George Washington University later this year. Gordon joined OFPP two years ago, and he immediately set out to fix some long-standing procurement problems. Under Gordon, OFPP has emphasized fixed-price contracts, better communication with industry and boosting the acquisition workforce. It’s also tried to rein in the number of governmentwide acquisition contracts. Gordon spent 17 years at the Government Accountability Office and has been a long-time adjunct professor of federal contracts law at George Washington. Now he’ll become associate dean. (Federal News Radio)
  • OPM is working on a new snow policy. It would tell federal employees to stay in their buildings until OPM says it’s safe to leave. The proposed policy would also push telework more. The document is still a draft. The Washington Post reports a it will become final by Nov. 9. (Federal News Radio)
  • As the federal government builds its National Biosurveillance Strategy, officials should also keep non-federal capabilities in mind. The Government Accountability Office says that federal agencies are working together on cooperative agreements so they can share information on disease investigation. But GAO says if there isn’t a national strategy that includes non-federal entities, the plan will not work. Auditors say while the federal government does provide resources to control disease in humans and animals, there is still no specific effort to ensure state, local and tribal jurisdictions can contribute to a national plan. The study by GAO was one of the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act. (GAO)
  • CACI has shifted its focus to high-growth contracting areas like cybersecurity and defense intelligence. And, the move appears to be paying off. The Washington Business Journal reports the contractor has raised its full-year forecast and has shown a record quarterly revenue. CACI has completed three strategic acquisitions in the past few months. It had $1.6 billion in contract funding orders last quarter, which is a record for the company. It now forecasts fiscal 2012 revenue of up to more than $4 billion. It raised its full-year earnings forecast up to $157 million. (Washington Business Journal)
  • A new plan to fix the Postal Service has hatched in the Senate. It would cut Postal employment by 100,000 but keep mail delivery at six days a week. Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) said his plan would let Postal spread out annual payments to the retiree health care plan. That’s something Postal officials have been requesting for years. Last year the Postal Service lost $8 billion. It’s on track to lose even more this year. Lieberman said his Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs committee will take up the bill next week. (Federal News Radio)
  • The welcome screens on more than 1 million hotel televisions will show a short Homeland Security public service announcement, USA Today reports. Marriott, Sheraton, Hilton, Holiday Inn and others will show the 15-second spot, encouraging travelers to say something if they see something. The federal government gained access to the hotel TV sets by partnering with the hotel industry’s largest association — the American Hotel & Lodging Association — which connected DHS with LodgeNet, the industry’s largest TV-content provider. DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano called the move a significant step in engaging the full range of partners in Homeland Security efforts. (USA Today)