Tuesday federal headlines – March 18, 2014

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 Navy ship that’s been helping search for the missing Malaysian airliner is dropping out of the hunt. Seventh Fleet officials say long-range aircraft are more efficient at looking over large areas. The USS Kidd, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, will return to its regular duties. It had been searching the Indian Ocean. A spokesman says P-8 Poseidon and older P-3 Orion planes can cover 15 thousand square miles in nine hours. Plus they have special surface radars and other sensors to help operators see what’s going on. They can fly very low over the water if crews want a closer look. The airliner disappeared more than a week ago. So far not a trace has been found. (Associated Press)
  • President Barack Obama today bestows the Medal of Honor on two dozen Army veterans. The ceremony concludes a 12-year multi-agency investigation of discrimination in the Pentagon’s awards process. The veterans are Jewish, latino and black. They received the Distinguished Service Cross, the nation’s second-highest military award for their actions in World War II, Korea and Vietnam. But they were denied the top honor because of their race or ethnicity. Just three are still alive and will be at the White House today. (White House)
  • Voices from the past are weighing in on what they call a “crisis of public confidence” in intelligence agencies. Frederick A. O. Schwarz Jr. was chief counsel for the Church Commission in 1975. He joins more than three dozen former Congressional staff members who sent a letter to Congress and President Obama. Schwarz urges creation of a special Congressional panel to examine the CIA and the National Security Agency. In the latest episode, CIA Chief John Brennan and Senator Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.) trade jabs over alleged surveillance of current committee staff members. The Church Commission, headed by then-Senator Frank Church, resulted in the Federal Intelligence Surveillance Act. (Associated Press)
  • More federal employees suspect their managers use the wrong reasons to select candidates for job training. A survey by the Office of Personnel Management shows a record number of federal employees, more than half, are not satisfied with the training opportunities they get. And in recent years, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has received more complaints about discrimination over training. Federal employment lawyer John Mahoney links the two statistics. He says there’s at least a growing perception among employees that their managers allocate scarce training opportunities based on prohibited personnel practices. (Federal News Radio)
  • Anne Rung will become the new head of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy. Rung will replace Joe Jordan, who left in January. Rung is currently the chief acquisition officer at the General Services Administration. She is also associate administrator of GSA’s office of governmentwide policy. She joined GSA in 2012. Before that, Rung was senior director of administration at the Commerce Department. Jordan held the job for about 18 months. He now works for FedBid, an operator of reverse auctions. (FCW)
  • Fewer college students are considering federal careers. And those who do want to work for the government may not know how to get the job. They don’t look kindly on the federal government’s job portal. They are more likely to use LinkedIn, Career Building or Monster than USA Jobs. The Partnership for Public Service analyzed a survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers. Two percent of students surveyed say they will join the government after graduation. But twice as many students say their ideal career is in federal service. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Homeland Security Department’s secrecy policy for its no-fly list is facing a stiff challenge in court. A federal judge grilled the government lawyer in a hearing over the anti-terrorist watch list. Judge Anna Brown is highly skeptical that the list must be secret to be effective. The lawsuit is playing out in the U.S. District Court for Oregon. The American Civil Liberties Union is suing the government on behalf of 13 people on the no-fly list. All are Muslims. They say they aren’t told why they’re on the no-fly list, and they have no way to clear their names. (Wall Street Journal)
  • The Health and Human Services Department backs a study on marijuana as a treatment for veterans with post-traumatic stress. Researchers have struggled for decades to get federal approval. The Food and Drug Administration cleared the University of Arizona research long ago. But the scientists could not buy marijuana from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The agency’s Mississippi research farm is the only federally-sanctioned source of marijuana. HHS approved the purchase in a letter last week. (Associated Press)
  • Airport screeners declare victory in negotiations with the Transportation Security Administration. The American Federation of Government Employees says the officers will get more say in their work schedules and better parking benefits. The two sides sought arbitration after talks on a collective bargaining agreement broke down last year. (American Federation of Government Employees)