Wednesday federal headlines – November 4, 2015

The Federal Headlines is a daily compilation of the stories you hear discussed on the Federal Drive and In Depth radio shows.

  • Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson presented the DHS Secretary’s Award to 329 employees from across the country. The awards are for extraordinary service and contribution to the department. Those honored included employees who supported law enforcement and protected services during the 70th U.N. General Assembly and Pope Francis’ visit to the U.S. (DHS)
  • President Barack Obama is ordering several federal agencies to put policies in place to mitigate the environmental effects of projects they approve. In a presidential memorandum, he said he wants to remove barriers agencies face using federal resources for restoration. The agencies include the departments of Defense, Interior and Agriculture, EPA and NOAA. (White House)
  • The Army is announcing plans to hold a contest for industry participants to build software-based technology they can use to visualize cyber risks. It aims to evaluate the technical feasibility of a risk-based cyber situational awareness capability tool at echelon. An industry day is planned for mid-November in the capital region to provide interested members of industry with further details of the framework and requirements of the challenge. (FBO)
  • The Social Security Administration paid about $145,000 dollars in bonuses to 240 employees with conduct and discipline problems. The agency’s inspector general said a little more than half of those employees were reprimanded.  Less than half were suspended. And one employee was demoted. The IG suggested SSA change its awards policy on employees who have certain conduct problems. Neither SSA nor the Office of Personnel Management policy prevents the agency from giving awards to employees who have been disciplined. (SSA OIG)
  • Congress found $5 billion worth of defense funding to cut from the Defense authorization bill. Cuts come from readiness increases in the Army and the Air National Guard. Other programs that got a haircut include missile defense purchases and funds for equipment modification. Congress needed to cut the $5 billion to the Defense bill to fit the parameters of the budget deal signed by President Obama. (Federal News Radio)
  • A redesign of the 2020 Census could save the bureau more than $5 billion dollars, if it gets the funding it needs and stays on track with its implementation timeline. Census is adding an online response option for the first time. It also plans to cross reference and share existing data with the IRS and Postal Service. It’s adding mobile apps to help bureau employees collect responses in the field. And the Census Enterprise Data Collection and Processing system will combine some the bureau’s 100 different IT systems. But some members of Congress said the bureau needs to be more detailed in its redesign plans.
  • Frank Baitman, currently one of the longest-serving cabinet-level chief information officers, is leaving government service on Nov. 30. Baitman, the Health and Human Services Department’s CIO, said in an email to staff that after three years at the helm, it was time to look for new opportunities. Baitman didn’t say if he would move on to industry, just that it’s best to devote his time to exploring opportunities full-time. Baitman is leaving after nearly seven years in government. He also worked for the Social Security Administration and the Food and Drug Administration. (Federal News Radio)

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