Friday Morning Federal Newscast – May 28th

No federal pay freeze for now, White House opposes 1.9% military pay raise, Pay for performance at issue for intel community, Half of surveyed feds can\'t or wo...

The Morning Federal Newscast is a daily compilation of the stories you hear paycheck is not out of the woods, yet. In the House, Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachman says she’s planning legislation that would eliminate federal pay raises.

  • President Obama reiterated his opposition to a 1.9 percent pay raise for service members. A formal statement of policy issued yesterday said the administration favors a 1.4 percent raise, reports GovExec. The 2011 Defense Authorization bill, now being debated in the House, contains the larger raise. In the policy statement, the president said 1.4 percent would leave more financial headroom for recruitment and sustainment.
  • The White House is at loggerheads with Congress over the pay for performance system for intelligence employees known as DCIPS. Congress suspended the pay system last year, and the suspension continues under the 2011 Defense Authorization now being debated. The Obama administration wants to keep the system. An executive branch review of the intelligence pay for performance is due to Congress by August 1. FederalTimes reports a White House statement says extending the freeze “negates the purpose of conducting an independent review of DCIPS.”
  • An unreleased OPM survey has reportedly found that 10 percent of federal employees say they telework at least one day a week. NextGov reports that would work out to a total of 200,000 federal employees; much more than previously thought. Justin Johnson, deputy chief of staff at OPM, gave a sneak peek at some of the OPM telework survey results during a panel discussion on telework. Johnson also said OPM found that 48 percent of employees don’t telework because either their job duties require them to be in an office or they just don’t want to telework.
  • Part of Health and Human Services has a new home. The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, which advises the Secretary on bioterrorism and other health emergencies, will move into new office space in Southwest DC. The Washington Business Journal reports the General Services Administration signed a new 58,000 square foot lease at Patriots Plaza this week. It is a five year deal with a five year option. The HHS office will join the FBI, which completed a deal in March. USDA inked a deal in November.
  • Faced with stiff congressional opposition, the White House is having second thoughts about nominating James R. Clapper to be the next national intelligence director. National Security advisor James Jones waved Clapper’s name before members of Congress, and received bi-partisan opposition. The main objection is Clapper’s military background, which lawmakers worry would bring a command and control mentality to a 16-agency intelligence apparatus they believe needs a conciliatory leader. The latest intelligence director, Adm. Dennis Blair, retired this week. Clapper, a retired Air Force lieutenant general, is now the under secretary of Defense for intelligence.
  • The person heading up the troubled Minerals Management Service has resigned under pressure. Elizabeth Birnbaum’s decision to leave MMS was announced Thursday by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. He was at a congressional hearing where Birnbaum had been scheduled to appear. Salazar says Birnbaum left on her own terms. MMS regulates offshore drilling and has come under criticism for being too cozy with oil companies. Salazar has announced plans to restructure the agency, following the Gulf oil spill.
  • The Securities and Exchange Commission has its first-ever Chief Operating Officer for Information Technology, Financial Reporting, and Records Management. The Washington Business Journal reports that Jeff Heslop will take over the new position at SEC. He was a top information risk management executive at Capitol One. At the SEC, Heslop will oversee the operations of the Office of Information Technology, and the financial and accounting functions of the agency’s Office of Financial Management. SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro says that having a COO will help the SEC better refocus their resources and become more efficient.
  • IBM’s Global Services unit is gaining a well-known figure from the federal IT community. Dan Chenok, now a senior vice president at Pragmatics, will join Big Blue in June, FCW reports. He will work on emerging technologies and cyber security. He’ll also be a senior fellow at IBM’s Center for the Business of Government. A long-time public servant, Chenok was the branch chief for information policy and technology in the Office of Management and Budget. He left government in 2003.
  • The White House is threatening to veto the 2011 defense authorization bill if it includes a controversial second engine supplier for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Built jointly by General Electric and Rolls Royce, the second engine would compete with Pratt and Whitney to power the F-35. The Pentagon plans to buy 2,500 of the new jets, which comes in different versions for the Army, Navy and Air Force. At issue is whether the second engine would lower costs through competition, or drive them up. The House started debating the 2011 authorization yesterday.
  • After several day’s delay due to technical issues, a Delta 4 rocket has rumbled into the sky from the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral carrying a GPS satellite. The military craft that blasted off Thursday night would be used for national security and navigation. It’s the first of a new generation of Global Positioning System satellites going into orbit. A dozen such Boeing-built satellites will be launched over the next several years to replace 20-year-old satellites now in service. This will be the first GPS mission to launch on a Delta 4.
  • Federal workers and shelter dogs make a good team. The dogs need exercise and so do the feds, frankly, so the Washington Humane Society and the Labor Department have teamed up to create PACK. It is a lunchtime workout program for the workers and the dogs. About 100 federal employees have signed up so far.

  • More news links

    Congress moves to end ban on gays in military

    House spending bill trimmed, Senate OKs war funds

    UN expert urges US to rethink use of lethal drones

    Another suspect revealed in Times Square bomb case

    USAF vehicle breaks record for hypersonic flight

    DC Drivers Among the Least Knowledgeable (WashingtonBusinessJournal)


    Coming up today on The DorobekInsider:

    ** As you head into your memorial day weekend, we’re going to talk to two of the winners of our Causey awards — one crunches numbers and found ways to attract new workers. The other has created a blog to highlight successes. You’ll meet them both.

    ** And the head of Interior’s Minerals Management is fired. What does it mean? We’ll talk to the chairman of the House Oversight committee.

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