Thursday federal headlines – January 21, 2016

The Federal Headlines is a daily compilation of the stories you hear discussed on the Federal Drive.

  • The Office of Personnel Management is opening up the government’s wallet and saving employees money in an attempt to bring more cybersecurity experts into agencies. First, OPM announced a lifting of the cap on retention, relocation and recruitment bonuses for cybersecurity experts. Second, OPM said feds interested in obtaining a master’s degree in information security operations can receive a 50 percent discount from Champlain College.  OPM has partnered with Champlain since last April and nearly 1,000 feds have enrolled in courses. (OPM)
  • The region may have gotten a quick blanket of snow during last evening’s commute, but federal agencies in the D.C. area are open this morning. Employees are expected to report to worksites or begin telework on time. Check back with us at 1500 AM or at Federal News for updates. Tomorrow evening the mid-Atlantic region will be hit by what forecasters say could be a historic snow storm. (OPM)
  • The State Department has a new gatekeeper of arms sales to foreign countries. Foreign Policy magazine said Secretary of State John Kerry has tapped Bill Monahan as the department’s new deputy assistant secretary for regional security and security assistance at the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs. Monahan, who is replacing Gregory Kausner, is a veteran staffer from the Senate Armed Services Committee serving as a senior policy adviser to Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and former Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) on defense and foreign policy issues. (Foreign Policy)
  • The Transportation Department Inspector General released a report outlining numerous shortcomings of the Federal Aviation Administration’s attempts to improve and update its operations and systems. The reports credited FAA with putting in performance-based compensation, contracting out operations and reorganizing itself multiple times. But costs continue to rise while operational productivity has fallen. The IG said  it may be the result of overambitious plans and unreliable cost estimates. (DoT OIG)
  • Leidos is close to a deal to merge with the government information technology and services businesses being shed by Lockheed Martin. Reuters reports the deal could value these assets at around $5 billion. The deal will create the largest government services provider to the federal government.  Lockheed, now the biggest Defense supplier, will focus on sophisticated military hardware. (Reuters)
  • The National Treasury Employees Union is backing Hillary Clinton for president. NTEU National President Tony Reardon said Clinton has been a strong supporter of federal employees. He said she’ll continue that support on issues including fair pay, protecting retirement benefits, and workplace rights. As a Senator, Clinton scored 96 percent on NTEU’s scorecard. (Federal News Radio)
  • Attorney General Loretta Lynch testifies to a Senate subcommittee, the Department is ready to get going on President Barack Obama’s orders on gun control. She said FBI will spend $6.6 million this year ton 230 people to expand the National Instant Criminal Background System. GovExec reports, on questioning, Lynch said the FBI would use contractors at first because it takes too long to hire federal employees. (Federal News Radio)
  • New presidents historically fill less than 30 percent of their political appointees by the first August recess of their administrations. And nearly 19 percent of those positions stay unfilled throughout a president’s term. The Partnership for Public Service is encouraging presidential candidates and agencies to think now about their transition plans for the upcoming election. It’s suggesting candidates start forming a designated transition office by April of this year. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Navy kicks off its year-long energy saving initiative called the Great Green Fleet. Through 2016, the Navy’s ships, aircraft and other vehicles will use energy-efficient systems, procedures and alternative fuels for its missions. The Green Fleet carrier strike group will use an advanced biofuel made from beef fat and petroleum to lessen its environmental footprint. The Defense Department is one of the largest users of fossil fuels on earth. The Navy makes up for a little more than a third of DoD’s fossil fuel consumption. (Federal News Radio)

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