Thursday federal headlines – January 7, 2016

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

The Pentagon is set to review more than 1100 medals issued since the 9/11 terror attacks for possible upgrade to the Medal of Honor. The review is ordered by Defense Secretary Ash Carter stems from a study of military decorations and awards ordered in March 2014 by then-Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. The results of the review will be...

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

  • The Pentagon is set to review more than 1100 medals issued since the 9/11 terror attacks for possible upgrade to the Medal of Honor. The review is ordered by Defense Secretary Ash Carter stems from a study of military decorations and awards ordered in March 2014 by then-Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. The results of the review will be announced today. The plan would require the Army, Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy to re-examine each of the Service Cross and Silver Star nominations they have awarded since 9/11. Not everyone’s onboard though. The Navy and Marine Corps oppose the review because top officials there “believe reviewing prior decisions undermines the integrity of commanders’ decisions.” (Defense Department)
  • The Senior Executive Association is in the process of recruiting a full-time, permanent president. Chair of SEA’s Board of Directors Barbara Pabotoy said they’re searching for top flight candidates to help the association achieve its missions of improving the efficiency, effectiveness, productivity of the federal government. SEA recently named Tim Dirks interim president until it could permanently fill the position. (SEA)
  • EPA’s science advisory board is questioning the agency’s conclusion that fracking , a way to release oil and gas from rock, is safe for drinking water. The board said those findings are inconsistent with observations and data from studying fracking. Bloomberg reports, the EPA is considering whether to revise its draft conclusions based on what the scientists are saying. But it’s not obligated to do so. (Bloomberg Government)
  • The Defense Information Systems Agency has the first piece of the puzzle in place to create a single global telecommunications network by 2020. DISA awarded eight vendors a spot on the $4.3 billion Global Network Services contract. Under the 10-year deal, DISA will give the military services access to voice, video and data transmission services on a network that will be 10 times faster than what’s in use today. (Defense Department)
  • After armed militia members occupied a Fish and Wildlife Service Refuge Saturday, two other agencies aren’t taking any chances. GovExec reports the Bureau of Land Management and the Forest Service have both closed their facilities in the Burns, Oregon area as a precaution. Employees of those facilities and the refuge have been told to stay home on paid administrative leave, while some of the workers are teleworking. (GovExec)
  • Federal employees waited an average of 95 days for a basic security clearance at the end of fiscal 2015 and 179 days for a top secret clearance. Periodic reinvestigations took about 251 days. That’s according to a fourth quarter update on Performance dot gov. The Defense Department cut back the number of people it cleared in 2015. DoD cleared 3.8 million people last year, compared with 4.6 million two years ago. (Federal News Radio)
  • Congress is holding the Defense Department’s feet to the fire when it comes to making civilian headquarters cuts and properly estimating the number of civilian workers it needs. The 2016 budget deal mandates more than $250 million in headquarters cuts. The cuts affect the Air Force Operations and Maintenance workforce budget the most by slashing one hundred and $10 million. The budget deal also requires DoD’s inspector general to provide a report on how to improve management of the civilian compensation plan. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Homeland Security Department is getting a new chief human capital officer. Angela Bailey is moving to DHS from the Office of Personnel Management. She has spent the last two years as OPM’s chief operating officer and has worked at the agency for the last eight years. Bailey will replace Catherine Emerson, who has been DHS’s CHCO since August 2011. Emerson has taken a new job with the Justice Department’s Civil Division. Bailey faces a tough challenge at DHS, which has seen its employee engagement scores in the Employee Viewpoint Survey drop in each of the past five years. Bailey’s last day at OPM is Jan. 8. (Federal News Radio)