Wednesday morning federal headlines – March 28, 2012

The Morning Federal Newscast is a daily compilation of the stories you hear Federal Drive host Tom Temin discuss throughout the show each day. The Newscast is designed to give users more information about the stories you hear on the air.

  • Top-ranking military leaders say they need to do more to “significantly reduce” suicides among enlisted members. At a Washington conference, senior enlisted leaders said the services weren’t doing enough to address troops’ personal, financial and legal problems. They say counseling services for enlisted members lags behind that offered to new officers. Recent reports indicate the suicide rate among soldiers is increasing. The Army found that suicides in its service rose 80 percent between 2004 and 2008. (Defense Department)
  • If agencies have job openings, they should fill them with veterans. That’s the message the White House is sending agency heads in a new memo. Office of Personnel Management Director John Berry tells deputy secretaries that agencies should meet their 2012 goals, despite budget cuts or hiring slowdowns. He directs them to examine their strategies for recruiting veterans and helping them transition to civilian life. Berry asks the leaders to personally monitor their agencies’ veterans employments efforts. President Obama has made hiring veterans a key goal of his administration. Twelve percent of recent vets are unemployed. (CHCO Council)
  • A new report questions how a popular federal charity spent more than a million dollars. It could force the Office of Personnel Management to replace the nonprofit that runs the Combined Federal Campaigns of the National Capital Area. Agency auditors raised eyebrows at baseball tickets, meals and other entertainment that the current operator, Global Impact, charged to the charity. The nonprofit says it has repaid more than $300,000 to the CFC. OPM says it has asked Global Impact to take corrective action. (Federal News Radio)
  • The FBI’s chief information officer is leaving. Chad Fulgham says he’ll step down next month after three years on the job. The FBI calls Fulgham the driving force behind its Sentinel case-management system to shift away from paper records. That project has been plaged with delays, but is scheduled to launch in May. Fulgham says he’s returning to the private sector. (Federal News Radio)
  • A new 2013 budget plan has gained bipartisan support. Representatives Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.) and Steven LaTourette (R-Ohio) have introduced the bill aimed at saving $4 trillion over 10 years. The blueprint advocates spending cuts and changes to the tax code. And it would end the sequester set to start next year, if Congress doesn’t make big spending cuts. The sponsors say they’ve based the plan on guidelines from last year’s Simpson-Bowles deficit commission. This is the fourth budget proposal on the table. (Federal News Radio)
  • A new refueling plane under development by the Defense Department is running into potential delays. Next month the Air Force and contractor Boeing plan to test parts of the KC-46 tanker. But the Government Accountability Office says, the chief testing officials doesn’t think the testing plan can be finished on time. The tanker program hasn’t yet progressed to the delivery stage. Boeing is not scheduled to deliver the first 18 planes until August of 2017. GAO reports, both the Pentagon and Boeing agree, there is a moderate risk to that schedule. Boeing is operating under a fixed price, incentive contract for development of the tanker. It shares cost overruns with the government. (Government Accountability Office)
  • The Federal Trade Commission has won a quarter million dollar settlement against an online game operator. FTC says the operator took personal information from 179,000 children. In doing so, Rock You violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule. The company also had poor cybersecurity practices, according to the FTC. It exposed passwords and other personal information of 32 million users to hackers. Under the settlement, RockYou must revise its security and privacy policies. (Federal Trade Commission)
  • HUD and VA are joining forces to put 10,000 homeless veterans into permanent housing. HUD will provide nearly $73 million to public housing agencies in all 50 states plus D.C. VA will supply case management and other services to help veterans get into the housing units. The program is known as HUD-VA Supportive Housing. HUD officials say another round of funding will come this summer. The Obama administration has pledged to end homelessness among veterans. (HUD release)
  • President Obama has nominated Michael Huerta to become administrator of the FAA. Huerta became acting administrator in December, when Randy Babbitt stepped down after a drunk driving arrest. He joined as deputy in 2010. Huerta’s main job was overseeing an overhaul of the air traffic control system. Before joining the FAA, Huerta spent seven years at Affiliated Computer Services. He had several Transportation Department posts during the Clinton administration. Huerta also served as commissioner of New York City’s Department of Ports, International Trade and Commerce. (Federal News Radio)
  • The General Services Administration has renamed its new baby before it’s born. The baby is a planned governmentwide multiple-award contract formerly known as Integrations. Now it will be called OASIS. That stands for One Acquisition Solution for Integrated Services. GSA hopes the multiple award contract will help agencies acquire complex combinations of services that don’t lend themselves to any other GWAC. The agency recently named Jim Ghiloni to run the program. He’s busy preparing the business case for OASIS. Eventually it will be worth up to 48 billion dollars. (Federal News Radio)