The Morning Federal Newscast is a daily compilation of the stories you hear Federal Drive hosts Tom Temin and Amy Morris discuss throughout the show each day. The Newscast is designed to give FederalNewsRadio.com users more information about the stories you hear on the air.
We told you yesterday that the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency helped the government take down Osama bin Laden. Today, we’re hearing from the Director of NGA who has posted a statement on the agency’s website. Letitia Long says that the employees of NGA are honored to serve during what she calls a profound moment in the nation’s history. She says NGA applied imagery, geospatial and targeting analysis, along with image sciences and modeling that, supplemented with work from the CIA and NSA, allowed the United States to carry out the operation. And, she says, their work isn’t over yet.
Osama Bin Laden had big ideas for more terrorist attacks on the United States. The al Qaida leader, shot dead Sunday in a U.S. attack on his hideout, left notes and computer files sketching his plans. Those materials were scooped up by Navy SEALs who carried out the raid. Bin Laden wanted to derail trains so they would fall off bridges. He hoped for attacks on the anniversary of 9/11 and on national holidays. Federal counterterrorism officials say there’s no evidence the schemes got much beyond the dream stage.
The Office of Management and Budget is getting a jump start on plans for a commission to get rid of excess federal property. OMB Director Jack Lew has issued a memo to agencies setting up a new Real Property Advisory Committee that will stay in place until the end of fiscal 2015. Lew says the committee will identify short-and long-term opportunities to consolidate federal property. Three senior real property officers and four chief financial officers from major agencies will sit on the committee.
A change to the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation cracks down on the way contractors must identify themselves. The new rule requires them to specifically state they are contractors in written and in-person communications. The rule covers letters, e-mail, even casual conversations at events. Federal Computer Week reports Pentagon acquisition officials are leaving it up to individual agencies to implement the rule.
Veterans Affairs is warning that proposed changes to the GI Bill would cause massive tuition delays. While Congress members it could help as many as 30,000 veterans, the VA says the changes would force claims workers to go back to manual processing of GI Bill payouts, reports Stars & Stripes. The last time the VA had to do that, there were massive delays and confusion.
Former Special Counsel Scott Bloch has filed a $202 million dollar racketeering lawsuit against officials from the Obama and Bush administrations. The Washington Blade newspaper reports the suit alleges the defendants with conspiring to force Bloch out of his job. Defendants include OPM director John Berry, former Congressman Tom Davis, and former Bush aide Carl Rove. Bloch left his job in 2008. He later pleaded guilty to charges of contempt of Congress. He is scheduled to serve one month in prison.
The nominee to become the Army’s next surgeon general would break two barriers. Major General Patricia Horoho would be the first nurse and the first woman in that job, if she’s confirmed by the Senate. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has nominated Horoho, who would also be promoted to Lieutenant General. Horoho is the Army’s deputy surgeon general and chief of the Army Nurse Corps. She was serving at the Pentagon as a clinical trauma nurse when the building was struck by an airplane during the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.
Soldiers are trained in gunnery, stamina, tactics and teamwork. Now the Army is beginning to train them for the sounds of battle. Researchers from the Missouri University of Science and Technology are converting a warehouse near Fort Leonard Wood into a laboratory for simulating the thunder of battle. The lab is equipped with 64 loudspeakers in a surround-sound set-up. Sergeant Major William Bennett is a trainer at the fort. He says battle noise can produce sensory overload. Ordance in battle can be 25 percent louder than the loudest rock concert.
Federal employees are discussing how online games could increase public engagement. On Govloop, feds are floating the idea of an online game to teach the public just how government employees do their jobs. The game would play on the idea of children’s “Choose Your Own Adventure” books, where you go through scenarios and choose how to move forward. The game would allow you to become an adventurer through local or central democracy. The player has to navigate through the average week or month in that job role. North Carolina has a similar game – the Balance the Budget Challenge.