Monday federal headlines – February 8, 2016

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

Defense Secretary Ash Carter said the Air Force plans to increase its spending on training by $1 billion over the next five years. He said there’s a growing emphasis on air power as a vital front against opponents ranging from the Islamic State militants to “high-end threats.” While speaking at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, the secretary also...

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

  • Defense Secretary Ash Carter said the Air Force plans to increase its spending on training by $1 billion over the next five years. He said there’s a growing emphasis on air power as a vital front against opponents ranging from the Islamic State militants to “high-end threats.” While speaking at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, the secretary also mentioned added funds in the Air Force budget to increase manpower in the maintenance area. (DoD)
  • The Commerce Department is making its data easier to find and use. Commerce is launching the Commerce Data Usability Project to provide tools that will make its data more accessible and more valuable. This public-private partnership is providing online data tutorials to give students, developers and others important context and code to better utilize the value of the various data sets Commerce holds. One such tutorial is focused on cybersecurity where the National Institute of Standards and Technology provides data about the annual spikes and dips in cyber attacks. (White House)
  • An anonymous hacker plans to release the names, job titles, email addresses and phone numbers of over 20,000 supposed FBI employees, along with over 9,000 alleged employees of the Homeland Security Department. The website Motherboard said the hacker gave the supposedly soon-to-be-leaked data to them on Sunday, in which the tech news website was able to confirm some of the officials named in the information. The hacker also told them he obtained the data by compromising the email account of a Justice Department employee. (Motherboard)
  • The Homeland Security Department’s Office of Inspector General said Customs and Border Protection is not keeping track of the cost or effectiveness of its Special Operations Group program. It said CBP  may be missing opportunities to improve effectiveness and identify potential cost savings in the SOG program. SOG was created to train, organize, equip, resource, and deploy tactical and emergency response personnel worldwide to protect America. (DHS OIG)
  • Eighteen federal buildings throughout the Washington, D.C., area, including the General Services Administration’s headquarters and the Ronald Reagan Building, are going solar. GSA awarded WGL Energy Systems a contract under the Capital Solar Challenge.  WGL will install and operate solar facilities under a power purchase agreement with the government. Construction is expected to start this spring. GSA expects the government to save about $5 million over 20 years because of lower energy costs. (Business Wire)
  • The Air Force awarded Lockheed Martin a $96 million contract to supply global positioning system satellites until 2019.  Of that money, $6 million will be spent this year in return for Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company providing research, testing and development of GPS III satellites, services and modules, including GPS simulators and training systems. (DoD)
  • A local lawyer is taking over the helm at the Senior Executives Association. Jason Briefel is the new interim president. The association’s board chose him to replace Tim Dirks, who stepped down citing personal reasons. The SEA has been without a permanent president since the retirement of Carol Bonasaro last year. Briefel is legislative director at the law firm Shaw Bransford and Roth, which represents federal employees in disputes with the government. He also hosts FedTalk, Friday mornings on Federal News Radio. (SEA)
  • Agencies could have stricter requirements for keeping track of their property and new incentives to get rid of the office space they don’t need. The Federal Property Management Reform Act lets agencies keep some of the proceeds they earn when they sell or lease unnused property. But those extra dollars would have to go toward other consolidation projects. Sens. Tom Carper (D-Del.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Heidi Heitkamp (N-N.D.), Angus King (I-Maine) and James Lankford (R-Okla) introduced the bill. (Federal News Radio)
  • The Defense Department has made a big deal about its third offset strategy. But despite investments in cyber and research and development in the 2017 budget, the offset isn’t getting as much money as some may think. The third offset only consists of certain topics like autonomous learning systems and man-machine teaming. Those categories are only getting about $1 billion in the 2017 budget. Kathrine Blakeley of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments said  that might be bad news for the future of the offset depending on what the next administration wants to focus on. The announcements come just one year after the Pentagon said it would close 15 DoD facilities in Europe and following a decade of troop withdrawals from the continent. The budget will ask Congress to more than quadruple the $800 million it approved this year for the European Reassurance Initiative. Most of the money would be used to boost training exercises with NATO members near Russia’s borders  and to preposition Army troops and equipment there, along with infrastructure improvements to airfields and U.S. bases.  (Federal News Radio)