Wednesday morning federal headlines – Nov. 23

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 National Institute for Standards and Technology has released a draft of its cloud technology roadmap, including plans for the agency to expand its cloud computing expertise. The draft roadmap aims to reduce the complexity of moving services to the cloud. NIST leadership hope it can be used by program managers and CIOs in order to meet the administration’s mandate of moving at least three services to the cloud by 2013. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Postal Service has hired New York-based investment bank Evercore Partners to evaluate its proposal to cut annual expenses by $20 billion within four years. Those cuts include changes to operations and employee pay and benefits. Evercore Partners is best known for advising General Motors through its financial restructuring. The decline of first-class mail and the poor economy led the Postal Service to lose more than $5 billion in fiscal 2011. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency wanted to know how quickly people could put shredded documents back together again. Turns out the answer is: pretty quickly. In fact, some participants had online puzzles of shredded documents solved within days. DARPA launched the challenge with a $50,000 dollar top prize. They’re looking to develop a better technology or technique for putting shredded documents back together. So far, about 8,200 teams have signed up. They can download a number of shredded documents as part of the challenge. DARPA said the teams moving up the leader board have figured out ways to go beyond the traditional, manual jigsaw-puzzle approach. At least two crowdsourced efforts have piqued the interest of DARPA. (Federal News Radio)
  • The first day at a new job can be nerve-wracking. To ease those first-day jitters, the Office of Personnel Management has published a new “onboarding guide” especially for Senior Executive Service members. OPM Deputy Associate Director Steve Shih told Federal News Radio that the orientation plan could have a more prolonged impact in producing a better engaged SES corps. The idea is to get them up to speed quickly, do their jobs more efficiently and have better morale. Ultimately, it could mean higher retention rates. (Federal News Radio)
  • Retired Army Gen. John Abizaid will chair the panel investigating allegations of wrongdoing at a Dover, Del. Air Force mortuary. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta asked the former commander of U.S. Central Command to replace former Surgeon General Dr. Richard Carmona, who recused himself from the position after deciding to run for Senate. Abizaid, who spent 34 years in the Army, will be in charge of a review to evaluate the changes made to the mortuary procedures and made any additional recommendations. Three civilian employees at the mortuary filed complaints last year about how some remains were handled at the facility. The Air Force Inspector General and the Office of Special Counsel have completed their investigations into the charges. A former commander and two other mortuary officials have been disciplined. (
  • The arrival of the new undersecretary for cybersecurity could mean a greater balance in leadership between Homeland Security and the Intelligence community. Alan Paller of the SANS Institute told The Hill newspaper that because Mark Weatherford is a technologist and not a lawyer, he is more likely to help tilt the balance of power toward civilian agencies. Weatherford was named DHS’s cybersecurity undersecretary in October, after Philip Reitinger resigned. Cyber legislation favored by the White House and the Senate makes DHS the primary federal agency in charge of regulating cybersecurity. NSA would play a supporting role. (The Hill)