To listen to the Federal Newscast on your phone or mobile device, subscribe on PodcastOne or iTunes.
The regulations to make federal jobs competitive with the private sector remain on ice. House lawmakers continue the prohibition of using any funding to pay for competitions using Office of Management and Budget Circular A-76. It included the long-standing provision in the 2018 omnibus spending bill passed last week. The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.
A Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the recent collisions involving Navy ships attempted to explain how the incidents occurred. Navy Secretary Richard Spencer said Congress has added too many training requirements over the years, while committee members point out several recommendations from the Government Accountability Office have not been implemented by the Navy. (Federal News Radio)
The National Federation of Federal Employees is celebrating 100 years in the books. NFFE National President Randy Erwin said the federal government had no structured pay, benefits or job classification system when the union formed back in 1917. He said feds have made progress since then, but lawmakers continue to find ways to undermine those protections. House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and 11 other lawmakers signed a resolution recognizing NFFE and its 100th birthday. (National Federation of Federal Employees)
Noel Francisco has been confirmed as the next solicitor general. The Senate sent him through with a 50-47 vote along party lines. Francisco made a name for himself defeating the Obama administration when it tried to expand presidential recess appointment powers. He also got former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell’s conviction vacated. (Department of Justice)
A career entrepreneur and innovator has been tapped to lead NIST. President Donald Trump nominated Walter Copan to head the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Copan would come to NIST after spending nearly the least three years as the president and CEO of the IP Engineering Group. He also is a founding member of the Rocky Mountain Innovation Partners. During his career, Copan held executive positions in the energy and building material sectors. He also was managing director of technology commercialization and partnerships at the Brookhaven National Laboratory. Copan must be confirmed by the Senate. (White House)
Postmaster General Megan Brennan has two senators down her neck for late mail delivery. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) urged Brennan to better train supervisors at postal processing and distribution centers. The pair responded to an August Postal Inspector General finding that two billion pieces of mail were delayed in a year, costing $85 million in unrealized revenue, and misreported by the Postal Service. The Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee members said the poor performance reflects badly on postal management. (Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee)
U.S. Cyber Command and the National Security Agency may need separate leaders. The two organizations are both headed by Adm. Mike Rogers, who during a speech at an Air Force Association Conference said the leadership post needs to evolve with the landscape. Former NSA Director Michael Hayden was more direct, saying two leaders are needed. (Federal News Radio)
Despite the risks, the Air Force said it’s looking for as many ways as it can to delegate decision-making authority to operational commanders. The Air Force chief of staff plans to issue a memo in the next one-to-two weeks giving wing commanders the authority to override rules surrounding how much rest time pilots get between missions. Gen. David Goldfein said crew rest is not a particular problem at the moment, but the Air Force is trying to send the message that wing and squadron commanders need more authority to run their missions, without spending time filling out paperwork to ask for permission from higher headquarters. (Federal News Radio)
During this time of budget tightening, the Army wants to make sure it’s spending money on the equipment it needs. It’s launching another Strategic Portfolio Analysis and Review this year. 820 of its equipment programs are expected to be ranked by order of importance. This is the second SPAR the Army will conduct this year. (Army)