Thursday federal headlines – October 15, 2015

The Federal Headlines is a daily compilation of the stories you hear discussed on the Federal Drive and In Depth radio shows. Our headlines are updated twice per day — once in the morning and once in the afternoon — with the latest news affecting federal employees and contractors.

Secretary of Defense Ash Carter criticized Congress at the annual Association of the U.S. Army conference for the latest NDAA bill’s “herky-jerky” form of budgeting....

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The Federal Headlines is a daily compilation of the stories you hear discussed on the Federal Drive and In Depth radio shows. Our headlines are updated twice per day — once in the morning and once in the afternoon — with the latest news affecting federal employees and contractors.

  • Secretary of Defense Ash Carter criticized Congress at the annual Association of the U.S. Army conference for the latest NDAA bill’s “herky-jerky” form of budgeting. Carter took issue with the bill’s use of Overseas Contingency Operation funding. The White House says President Barack Obama is going to veto it. (Defense Department)
  • Boeing agrees to pay $18 million to settle allegations it overcharged the Air Force. The Justice Department claimed Boeing submitted false claims to the Air Force for labor charges for maintenance and repair of the C-17 Globemaster aircraft. Former Boeing employee James Thomas Webb blew the whistle on Boeing, alleging the company knowingly charged the government for time its mechanics spent on extended breaks and lunch hours, and not on maintenance and repair work properly chargeable to the contracts. (Justice Department)
  • The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration says several thousand computer workstations at the Internal Revenue Service are still running on Windows 2003. The IG said 1,300 IRS workstations never got updated from Windows XP to Windows 7 because the agency couldn’t find them all. The IRS has spent $128 million on the Windows transition since 2011, when it started the project. It spent another $11 million dollars through the end of the fiscal year. The IG said the IRS didn’t follow project management guidelines. (Treasury Department)
  • Army acquisition chief Heidi Shyu calls for a streamlined defense testing process. Shyu said there should be a way for government to harness the testing done by industry to quicken the schedule. Currently industry tests its products and then sends them to the government. The government then tests the products again, sometimes with repetitive analysis. Congress has a provision that recommends curbing testing in its 2016 Defense authorization bill. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Department of Veterans Affairs chose Lockheed Martin subsidiary Systems Made Simple to help ensure recently transitioned veterans and eligible spouses have access to money for continuing education. VA wants to make their Chapter 33 system more reliable. Chapter 33 was established when the G.I. Bill was updated back in June 2008. (Lockheed Martin)
  • The Homeland Security Department is having second thoughts about the system it uses to alert the public about terrorism threats. Actually, it’s never issued any alerts. DHS launched the National Terrorism Advisory System four years ago to replace a color-coded system that critics said was too confusing and vague. Since then, there hasn’t been a single tweet from it. DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson said terrorism threats have evolved in that time, so perhaps the system should too. The review is underway now, he told a military audience at the Army’s annual meeting in Washington this week. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Office of Federal Procurement Policy wants to increase savings, reduce the number of new contracts and grow the spending on existing contracts under the new cross-agency priority goal of category management. OFPP Administrator Anne Rung and Tom Sharpe, the commissioner of the General Services Administration’s Federal Acquisition Service, said making category management a cross-agency goal is the next step in the initiative of changing the way the government buys goods and services. OFPP and GSA said they plan to save an additional $2.3 billion dollars by December 2016 and a total of $10 billion dollars by the end of 2019. OFPP and GSA also want to reduce the number of IT contracts for hardware by 20 percent, and for software and telecommunications by 10 percent each. (Federal News Radio)