Wednesday morning federal headlines – Nov. 2

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.

  • Pentagon leaders are worried about the health of the defense industrial base, which supplies everything from meals to nuclear warheads. So one policy branch is creating a map of contractors — prime and sub — that DoD plans to perpetually update. Brett Lambert, the deputy assistant secretary of Defense for manufacturing and industrial base policy, said the data will come from each of DoD’s hundreds of program managers. They’ll survey companies and bring in contracting officers from the military services. The project is called S2T2, or sector by sector, tier-by-tier. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Air Force is cutting its ranks, announcing it will fire 436 captains and majors in a force reduction. The Air Force is trying to trim its payroll to a lower level authorized by Congress. A spokesman told Federal News Radio that Air Force leadership looked at nearly 9,000 officers. The ones targeted must leave by March 1, 2012. The Air Force is also reducing its enlisted numbers by allowing selected airmen to leave earlier than planned. That’s called a data of separation rollback. To be eligible, the service member must have fewer than 14 years or service, or more than 20. They’ll need to leave by or retire by April 1, 2012. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Interior Department is making a second run at moving its email into the cloud. Its first award to Microsoft was protested by Google, which later withdrew its protest after Interior agreed to start over. Now the department has released a new request for information for email and collaboration tools to be hosted by a cloud service provider. This time Interior is asking about mobile-device management, desktop video conferencing and several other services in addition to email. But the RFI points out, the department’s standard operating environment is Microsoft and online tools must be compatible. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Senate has taken a stab at finishing the fiscal 2012 budget, passing a $182 billion bill to cover transportation, NASA, housing subsidies and the FBI. The bill combined three separate appropriations bills into one. Senators must still negotiate with House members on a final version. The move comes as both chambers await the outcome of the Special Joint Committee on Deficit Reductions. Yesterday Erskine Bowles, co-chair of President Obama’s deficit reduction commission, had harsh words for the committee. He openly doubted the six Democrats and six Republicans could agree on anything by their Nov. 18 deadline. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Air Force released a memo of proposed debarment, explaining why it suspended three contractors. The Air Force cited poor performance and organizational conflict of interest. The Air Force suspended Iron Bow Technologies of Chantilly, Va., and Advanced C4 Solutions and Superior Communications Solutions, both of Georgia. The work in question took place at Joint Base Andrews. The Air Force says the three worked in a prime-sub relationship to develop requirements for an audio visual facility. Then Iron Bow, a sub, later won contracts to supply equipment for the room. Plus, it says the work performed didn’t meet requirements. (Federal News Radio)
  • It’s so far, so good for the TSA’s new frequent travelers program. Transportation Security Administration boss John Pistole plans to tell Congress today that the pilot program has been earning positive reviews, The Washington Post reports. It allows select frequent-fliers to register with airlines by answering a few extra questions. Once part of the club, travelers can speed through screening at airports in Atlanta, Dallas, Detroit and Miami. Pistole is expected to tell the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs committee that the program has great potential for enhancing security and improving the travel experience for passengers. (The Washington Post)
  • DISA’s new headquarters complex is so green, it’s gold. The campus has earned a LEED gold rating, the second highest environmental certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. The campus includes wellness programs, automatic lighting controls, water and energy conservation and access to public transit.The 1.1 million square foot complex was built as part of the Base Realignment and Closure as a way to consolidate DISA facilities. (Federal News Radio)
  • Office of Management and Budget professional staff workers voted “no” on union representation. The vote was 101 to 59 against joining the America Federation of Government Employees. But a small group of non-professional workers voted 11 to one to join up, GovExec reports. Professional workers also also voted down forming a single bargaining unit with the clerical workers. Those results ratified by the Federal Labor Relations Authority. (GovExec)
  • Lawmakers are taking action after complaints that the Peace Corps has not done enough to protect volunteers from sexual assault. The House voted unanimously to pass a bill requiring the agency to do a better job preventing and responding to such attacks, the Associated Press reports. The bill provides whistleblower protections for volunteers who report dangerous conditions and requires the Peace Corps to develop sexual assault risk-reduction training. The agency must also establish a victims’ support office. The Senate passed the bill by voice vote in September. It now moves to the president’s desk for signing. (AP)