Monday Morning Federal Newscast – May 10th

The Morning Federal Newscast is a daily compilation of the stories you hear calling on retired diplomats to come back to work. Clinton says they’re needed to help stabilize and rebuild conflict-torn countries. The Washington Times reports the assignments are temporary. And it’s a repeat occurence: More recently, retirees have been recalled for work in Iraq, Afghanistan and Haiti.

  • Defense Secretary Robert Gates plans a scrub of the 2012 Pentagon budget. He’s looking for savings in overhead that can be applied to a badly needed modernization of the armed services. Speaking at the Eisenhower Presidential Library in Abilene, Kansas, Gates said he’s looking for $10 billion in administrative cuts. GovExec reports he called total budget growth a gusher that has been shut off. That means DOD leadership will have to find new efficiencies to fund weapons and changing force structures.
  • It’s graduation time for the national service programs. Last year as part of the economic stimulus law, federal aide was given to national service programs across the country. But now with thousands of AmeriCorp graduates about to enter the workforce, jobs are scarce. Many students are looking to further their studies at college or stay another year in the service program to avoid unemployment, reports USAToday. In Florida half of those hired with stimulus funds want to stay in the service program. As part of the stimulus law the President allocated $200 million dollars to create 15,000 new jobs in the next seven years.
  • The Justice Department is looking into whether BP or Transoceanic, operators of the doomed Gulf of Mexico oil drilling, are guilty of “misfeasance” or “malfeasance.” Attorney General Eric Holder tells ABC’s This Week he’s sent investigators to the area to look into the spill, reports the WallStreetJournal. Meanwhile, the oil continues to gush. A containment dome lowered to the breach over the weekend became clogged. The next step, according to Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen, is to try plugging the leak with debris in a procedure known as junk shot.
  • A new House bill would allow veterans online access to their military personnel file and health and benefits records. FCW reports Congresswoman Niki Tsongas says the “Improving Veterans Electronic Transition Services Act” would help ease the transition from military life to civilian life. The legislation would allow veterans to access their service records electronically in a veterans-only web portal. The portal would also offer a white pages directory of veterans, e-mail and a direct communication link with the Veterans Affairs Department.
  • Census Director Robert Groves says his agency is on track to save money in this year’s big population count. And that’s despite computer problems and overtime expenses. Congress Daily Reports the Census Bureau is spending about $1 billion dollars a month, and has budgeted about 2.7 billion. Computer glitches have added extra expenses for data collection and processing.
  • One Air Force airlift group is using supercomputer calculations to more precisely pinpoint how and when to drop supplies to troops, saving tens of thousands of dollars per drop. According to NextGov, the 517th Airlift Squadron at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, crunches large quantities of wind and air moisture data improve drop accuracy from C-130 transports, putting the cargo closer to its target. Air Force brass said, that cuts the cost of dropping parachutes from $30,000 to $1,000.
  • CGI Group of Montreal will pay $1 billion for systems integrator Stanley, doubling the size of GCI’s federal business. The deal will move CGI into the U.S. defense market in a big way, according to Washington Technology. GCI first entered the U.S. market in 2004 after acquiring American Management Systems civilian business.
  • Frank Anderson, longtime president of the Defense Acquisition University, will retire May 31st, GovExec reports. He is also director of DAU’s acquisition, technology and logistics human capital programs. A vacancy announcement for the position has not yet been made public. DAU conducts education and training for 133,000 members of the DOD acquisition workforce. Anderson’s retirement comes as the Pentagon begins adding 20,000 new acquisition employees.
  • It’s taking on big banks and now the government wants to address small change. President Obama wants to make coins from cheaper material, saving more than $100 Million dollars a year according to a Treasury official. Today it costs the federal government up to 9 cents to mint a nickel and about 2 cents to make a penny. Even though a penny is coated with copper, it’s made mostly of zinc and a nickel actually has more copper than nickel. But the Wall Street Journal reports some Americans fear changing coin content will hurt their value.
  • Northern Virginia officials are concerned that BRAC-related job shifts will lead to traffic chokepoints near Washington. Thousands of military jobs are to be moved out of Crystal City and its Metro corridor to suburban areas reachable only by cars. The Washington Post reports Rep. James Moran, who represents much of the affected area, is predicting car commutes of up to five hours per day.

  • More news links

    Holder fears ‘slippery slope’ of racial profiling

    Dodd urges SEC to look at high-speed trading

    For more children, dinner is coming from Uncle Sam

    How an unfixed Net glitch could strand you offline


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