Wednesday federal headlines – November 13, 2013

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

  • The newly installed director of the Office of Personnel Management is getting down to business. Katherine Archuleta says she wants to take steps to make sure federal employees remain engaged in their work. At the annual meeting of the Chief Human Capital Officers Council, Archuleta referred to the most recent Annual Viewpoint Survey of employees. It shows job satisfaction falling for the second year in a row. She says she wants OPM to pay attention to the stresses feds face. (Federal News Radio)
  • Before it launched, had serious security holes. But the memo never got to Henry Chao, the deputy CIO at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. So he went ahead and signed off on the launch. NextGov reports, this all came out in secret congressional testimony Monday night. A redacted version has been made public. One of the flaws won’t be patched until the end of May. Meanwhile, CMS says it plans to email 275,000 people who had trouble signing up for health care insurance. It will tell them to try again now that the site is working a little better. (NextGov)
  • While continues to struggle, a low-tech effort to sign people up for Medicaid is getting results. Market analysis firm Avalere Health says 444,000 people have enrolled in the past six weeks. That’s a sampling from 10 of the 25 states that expanded their Medicaid programs on Oct. 1, the same day launched. The 40-year-old program benefits from a well-established infrastructure. In some states, nurses have spent a year promoting Medicaid to low-income, uninsured patients. Elsewhere, states have used food stamp rolls to find people who might be eligible for the expanded program. (Associated Press)
  • President Barack Obama hosted a meeting and dinner for senior Defense leaders at the White House last night. Staff say they discussed a number of concerns, from the budget to ethical and moral issues like sexual assault. The annual event comes as Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel named new appointments to key positions. Former CIA Lawyer Stephen Preston has come on board as the Defense Department general counsel. Former Coast Guard Comptroller Margo Sheridan has agreed to direct financial improvement and audit readiness. (Defense Department)
  • As the armed services prepare for more budget constraints, a familiar target has moved into the crosshairs. Pentagon planners and members of Congress are thinking of cutting back the Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship program. The Wall Street Journal reports, the program will be on the table in upcoming Senate Defense authorization bill debates. Navy brass have touted the ship as the centerpiece of the future Navy. But it’s had repeated cost and performance setbacks. One ship, the USS Freedom, missed out on portions of recent exercises in Singapore because it broke down. Both House and Senate armed services committee members want the program slowed. (Wall Street Journal)
  • The Smithsonian Institution is launching a 3D digital museum as a way to bring more of its collection into the limelight. It can only showcase so many of its 137 million artifacts in its museums. So a small team is scanning three-dimensional models of some of the key treasures. They include the Wright brothers’ first airplane, Amelia Earhart’s flight suit and casts of President Abraham Lincoln’s face during the Civil War. The Institution says people can use its new 3D online viewer to download data, and even print it out if they have 3D printers. (Associated Press)
  • Cloud computing has turned out to be something less than a barn burner at the Defense Information System Agency. It’s looking to replace its commercial cloud services contract with a smaller one. In a new request for proposals, DISA says Defense agencies aren’t signing up at the rates its planners expected. The DISA cloud contract offers medium-security, commercial cloud products such as infrastructure- as-a-service with storage, virtual machine and database hosting. Federal Times reports, the Navy chose Amazon and not DISA to host its public web site. (Federal Times)