Countdown: Gates cuts Pentagon budget, Census surplus

Friday - 8/13/2010, 7:08pm EDT

Federal News Countdown

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My experts to count down the most important Federal news stories of the week:
--Alan Balutis, Director of the Global Public Sector Practice in the Internet Business Solutions Group at Cisco Systems
--Joanne Connelly, Founder, President and CEO of ConnellyWorks

Here are the stories they're counting down today:

NUMBER THREE
Balutis: NVTC Member Companies Offer Pro Bono Assistance to Assess Arlington National Cemetery's Information Technology Requirements
From the NVTC web site:

"Last week, the Department of the Army accepted the Northern Virginia Technology Council's pro bono offer to provide assistance in the assessment of the information technology requirements to rectify the disastrous state of the records at Arlington National Cemetery. This effort stems from an Army investigation earlier this year that found the Cemetery's recordkeeping in shambles, burial records on index cards, improperly marked graves and serious difficulties in accurately locating the graves in the cemetery. Despite spending more than $5 million on a program to digitize burial records, all these issues persisted."

Connelly: New radio ad tout federal workers
From The Washington Post:

"The nation's largest federal worker union is taking to the airwaves to defend rank and file federal workers against growing anti-government sentiments.

"The American Federation of Government Employees plans to spend about $200,000 to air a 60-second radio ad in more than 30 markets, including Washington and several Southern cities, according to a spokeswoman.

"The ad stars AFGE President John Gage and workers from the Bureau of Prisons, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Social Security Administration, telling listeners to 'trust me' as they carry out their work."


NUMBER TWO
Balutis: Commerce reports $1.6 billion savings for decennial census
From GovExec:

"The Census Bureau is returning $1.6 billion to taxpayers, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and Bureau Director Robert Groves announced on Tuesday during a briefing on the 2010 head count.

"The duo, who spoke to reporters at the National Press Club in Washington, credited an aggressive advertising campaign built around the census and strong management for the savings. The mail-back response rate for the 2010 census was 72 percent and reduced the need for more expensive door-to-door enumerators, Locke said.

"The bureau spent $172 million on advertising, $32 million more than officials had budgeted, said Steve Jost, Census' associate director of communications, during a background briefing for reporters on Monday. The bureau targeted advertising to areas with low response rates during the spring."


Connelly: National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency gets first female director
From Federal Computer Week:

"The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency today held a ceremony for its new director, Letitia Long, whom officials say is the first woman to lead a major U.S. intelligence agency.

"'We are witnessing history with Tish's ascension as the first woman to serve as director of a major intelligence agency,' said James Clapper, who was confirmed as director of national intelligence on Aug. 5, in an announcement from NGA. An NGA spokeswoman acknowledged that there had been female heads of small agencies such as the intelligence arm of the State Department, according to the Associated Press.

"NGA provides combat support to the Defense Department with geospatial intelligence that involves satellite or airborne images combined with other intelligence and geospatial information such as maps and charts. As head of NGA, Long will be the DNI's principal adviser and intelligence agencies' functional manager for geospatial intelligence.

"Most recently, Long was deputy director of the Defense Intelligence Agency from May 2006 to July 2010."


NUMBER ONE
Balutis: Pentagon to cut thousands of jobs, defense secretary says
From The Washington Post:

"Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said Monday that the Pentagon will cut thousands of jobs, including a substantial chunk of its private contractors and a major military command based in Norfolk, as part of an ongoing effort to streamline its operations and to stave off political pressure to slash defense spending in the years ahead.

"Gates said he will recommend that President Obama dismantle the U.S. Joint Forces Command, which employs about 2,800 military and civilian personnel as well as 3,300 contractors, most of them in southeastern Virginia. He also said he will terminate two other Pentagon agencies, impose a 10 percent cut in intelligence advisory contracts and slim down what he called a 'top-heavy hierarchy' by thinning the ranks of admirals and generals by at least 50 positions.

"The reduction in funding for contract employees -- by 10 percent annually over three years -- excludes those in war zones.

"Although the moves will save an unspecified amount of money, defense officials characterized them as a political preemptive strike to fend off growing sentiment elsewhere in Washington to tackle the federal government's soaring deficits by making deep cuts in military spending. The Obama administration has exempted national security from its budget reductions, but Gates said he fears that Congress might not be able to resist for long."