Defense Business Board makes recommendations for transition

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

  • The Defense Business Board has new advice for Pentagon career officials concerning the upcoming presidential transition. The board recommended the deputy Defense secretary become a chief operating officer, rather than what it called a shadow or backup defense secretary. And it urged the Pentagon to contain overhead costs by trimming bureaucracy. The board, made up of industry executives, emphasized the need for quality appointees, and being ready to work on the first day of the new presidency. (Department of Defense)
  • The Air Force is beginning to overhaul the way it evaluates officers for the 21st century. The revamp could take up to a year and a half. The new system may allow officers to provide more information to promotion boards or change stratification levels. The Air Force rebuilt its enlisted evaluation system last year. (Federal News Radio)
  • A new field manual from the Army aims to help military leaders improve readiness. It’s titled “Train to Win in a Complex World,” and contains items such as how to plan training events, write after-action reports, and carry out many other training tasks. It can be found online or downloaded from the Army Training Network. (Army)
  • The Army awarded a first-of-its-kind contract, hiring a private company to run secure cloud computing services within the gates of a military base. The contract, which is worth up to $62 million over the next five years, went to IBM. The company will build its own contractor-owned-and-operated facility at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, to consolidate several government-run data centers there, hosting information up to and including classified-level data. If all goes well during the pilot phase, the Army hopes to migrate other applications from around the country into the same facility. Officials said the Redstone project is the first step toward implementing the Army’s latest cloud computing strategy.
  • Cyber acquisitions for the Marine Corps got a speed boost. The branch said its Systems Command’s Cyber Advisory Team completed its first emergency cyber acquisition this summer. It was part of a new process to help the corps respond to cyber warfighting needs quicker. It allows the Marines’ cyber protection teams to conduct operations onsite and remotely protect the network. (Marine Corps)
  • The White House is looking to the future of artificial intelligence. The Obama administration’s strategic plan for AI sets a goal of producing new AI technology to solve social issues. The plan prioritizes seven areas for research funding. The areas include ethical and legal consequences, human-AI collaboration, and an expert AI workforce. (The White House)
  • The Veterans Affairs Department is taking a different path to the cloud. VA decided the broker approach was the best way to move full force in the cloud. VA awarded a $73 million contract to CSRA to be its cloud broker. Under the deal, the company will manage VA’s cloud computing services across multiple vendor offerings. VA hopes this new contract will give it a consistent approach to reviewing, securing, managing and procuring cloud services. It also wants CSRA to ensure coordination and integration between cloud service vendors.
  • Financial issues are still troubling the Postal Service. The agency wants to raise the price of stamps for the first time in three years. If approved, the new prices include a 2 cent increase on letters under 1 ounce, bumping the price up to 49 cents. The uptick is scheduled to start Jan. 22, 2017. The Postal Regulatory Commission will review the prices before then. (U.S. Postal Service)
  • The FBI opened its new headquarters for its Sacramento field office in Roseville, California. Special Agent in Charge Monica Miller said the new facility will enhance collaboration within the FBI and with its law enforcement partners. New features include ample workspace to accommodate FBI personnel and other law enforcement agencies it works with. (General Services Administration)