Tuesday federal headlines – December 31, 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 FederalNewsRadio.com users more information about the stories you hear on the air.

  • The Federal Aviation Administration has chosen six locations to test whether unmanned aircraft can be operated safely. Virginia Tech is one of those sites. Other are the University of Alaska, Nevada, New York’s Griffiss International Airport, the North Dakota Department of Commerce and Texas A&M University. At Virginia Tech, engineers will conduct failure mode testing. They’ll investigate operational and technical risks in airspace ranging to New Jersey. It’s all part of a Congressional mandate to have drones operate in U.S. airspace within the next few years. (FAA)
  • The White House is offering Russia help with security at the upcoming Sochi Winter Olympics. The offer of cooperation comes in the wake of two deadly suicide bombings in the city formerly known as Stalingrad. It’s about 400 miles from Sochi. Russian President Vladimir Putin has staked his prestige and tens of billions of rubles on a successful olympics. The State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security will coordinate contacts with Russians forces. (Associated Press)
  • You might not want a bobblehead of Mike Shanahan. But if you’re lucky, you might be able to get a Supreme Court justice bobblehead. They’re made by George Mason law professor Ross Davies. Most of the dolls go to people who subscribe to the law school’s quarterly journal. Davies has been issuing the bobbleheads for 10 years. The Supremes themselves like the idea. Antonin Scalia claims to be the most popular. Stephen Breyer displayed four of them in a C-Span interview a few years ago. (Associated Press)
  • The General Services Administration continues to trim its staff in order to cut costs. Federal Times reports, the agency’s headcount dropped from 12,500 in fiscal 2012 to 11,855 last year. In a financial report, the agency estimates its efficiency moves will save $200 million over the next ten years. Other measures include consolidating office space. (Federal Times)