Tuesday morning federal headlines - August 16

Tuesday - 8/16/2011, 8:49am EDT

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.

  • Army Secretary John McHugh said he wants to overhaul how senior managers think about budgeting and working. He launched a new group called the Institutional Army Transformation Commission. Its job is to find ways to make the Army more agile and cost-effective. The commission will focus on large parts of the Army that support soldiers in the field. McHugh said the Army's fighting units have changed dramatically in the last decade, while training, education, acquisition and logistics groups look much like they did in the 1970s. The commission will be headed by Leonard Braverman, a director in the Office of the Deputy Under Secretary. (Federal News Radio)

  • Commerce is the latest in a growing list of agencies to offer buyouts and early outs. It's now waiting for approval from the Office of Personnel Management to use incentives, GovExec reports. Assistant Secretary Scott Quehl notified employees via e-mail. Eight offices received the notice, including the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the secretary's office. The Patent and Trademark office did not receive the email. Jobs affected include administrative services, human resources management, financial management, program evaluation and public affairs. (GovExec)

  • The Navy is making sure networks on its ships are as secure as networks on shore. The carrier U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln is the first ship to have a cyber readiness inspection while at sea, and it passed with flying colors. A challenge for on-board cybersecurity is limited bandwidth. While at sea, naval ships rely on satellite communications, which means they might not be able to get the latest security patches downloaded. But chief petty officer Eric Wishard told Federal News Radio, the Abraham Lincoln managed to score more cybersecurity points at sea than it did while docked. (Federal News Radio)

  • If you need to find a grave at Arlington National Cemetery — there's now an app for that. Segue Technologies has developed an app to help you locate grave sites at Arlington, The Washington Business Journal reports. The app pulls information directly from the Veterans Administration's grave site database. Segue Executive Vice President Ron Novak attended two military funerals at Arlington National Cemetery within a week last fall, and he said got the idea for the app when he returned to visit the gravesites and had a hard time finding them. The free app is available for iPhones and Droids. (Washington Business Journal)

  • The Obama Administration is exploring ways that the federal government can keep a hand in the mortgage industry. A small team of presidential advisers is developing a plan to do just that, The Washington Post reports. Options include restructuring Fannie Mae and Freddie Mack as public utilities overseen by a government regulator. Or the two companies could be shut down and replaced with several successors. The White House said it has not decided on an approach for reforming the housing finance system. (Washington Post)

  • A public meeting in Los Angeles to discuss the federal Secure Communities program turned into a loud protest. Secure Communities, which is operated by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, allows federal authorities share fingerprint information with state and local authorities. About 200 people crowded the hearing room to protest what they called police harrassment for petty infractions, thanks to Secure Communities. One woman said she feared deportation for selling ice cream without a permit. ICE earlier this month terminated information-sharing agreements it had with states. The administration has said it doesn't need state approval share fingerprints. (Federal News Radio)

  • The offices of all three members of Alaska's congressional delegation received suspicious packages through the mail Monday. That prompted evacuation of the federal building in Fairbanks and closure of the sixth floor of an Anchorage office building. White powder in the packages turned out to be concrete. Packages arrived at the office of Sens. Mark Begich (D) and Lisa Murkowski (R) along with Rep. Don Young (R). The FBI said the sender only wanted to present samples and had no criminal intent. The incident was first reported in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.

  • A former partner at Booz Allen Hamilton is suing the company for sex discrimination. Molly Finn was once the company's highest-ranking female employee, The Washington Post reports. She now claims the company fired her because she's a woman and that that Booz Allen prevents women from achieving high-level leadership positions. Finn started with Booz Allen in 1986 and was made a lead partner in 2003. But in 2007 Finn claims she was singled out and was asked to leave because of her family responsibilities. Booz Allen said it will not comment on the case but that it will fight the allegations. (Washington Post)