Wednesday morning federal headlines - May 23, 2012

Wednesday - 5/23/2012, 8:04am EDT

The Morning Federal Newscast is a daily compilation of the stories you hear Federal Drive hosts Tom Temin and Emily Kopp 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.

  • Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) introduced a bill that could help more small business compete for federal contracts. The bill would raise the governmentwide small business prime goal from 23 percent to 25 percent and the sub-contracting goal from 35.9 percent to 40 percent. Cardin said that since two out of every three new jobs are created by small businesses raising the goal just makes sense. Cardin is a member of the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee. (Senate.gov)

  • Leaders for the next big governmentwide IT acquisition contract have chosen winners. Officials at the National Institutes of Health have awarded 10 spots under their CIO-SP3 small business GWAC. All 10 companies are owned by service-disabled veterans. The 10-year deal could be worth $20 billion. NIH plans to make awards in the CIO-SP3 full-and-open competition in coming weeks. (Federal News Radio)

  • Lt. Gen. Thomas Bostick took over as the Army's 53rd Chief of Engineers in a change of command ceremony in Washington yesterday. He will lead an organization of more than 37,000 people, mostly civilians, that manages civil works infrastructure and military construction projects around the world. Bostick's last posting was as the Army's deputy chief of staff for manpower and personnel. (Army)

  • Spring has not sprung for the TSP. Six of eight funds have lost value in the last month. Experts said concerns of economic problems in Europe were fueling the downturn. The I fund has taken the biggest hit. Its price has fallen by $1.63. Only the G and F funds have earned money, albeit tiny gains of just 1 cent and 9 cents, respectively. (Federal News Radio)

  • The federal open-government website Data.gov turns three years old this month, and the General Services Administration is marking the anniversary by releasing an open-source version of the platform, hoping it will catch on in other countries. The governments of the United States and India have been working since last December to produce what they call "data.gov in a box," a toolkit that governments can use to make their data and documents available to the public. It's based on the open source Drupal system, and includes a website, a data management system and social networking plugins. (Data.gov)

  • The Office of Personnel Management is giving the go-ahead to start presenting American flags to the families of civilian feds who die in the line of duty. OPM is working with the Defense Department and Homeland Security to finalize regulations to implement the Civilian Service Recognition Act Congress passed late last year. In the meantime, OPM director John Berry said agencies can start using the new law right away. Flags can be furnished to the spouse, child, sibling or parent of a civilian federal employee who loses his or her life in the line of duty, through terrorism, or through a criminal act. (chcoc.gov)

  • A new National Security Agency program aims to give a boost to cybersecurity education in the nation's colleges and universities. NSA said it just certified its first four schools as National Centers of Academic Excellence after what it called a rigorous application and screening process. They include the Naval Postgraduate School, Dakota State University, the University of Tulsa and Northeastern University. None of the schools will take part in actual government work, but NSA said it wanted to strengthen partnerships with academia and help expose students to the adacemic disciplines they would need to have a handle on to become future cybersecurity professionals. (NSA)

  • The Army is tightening standards for recruiting and re-enlistment. An Associated Press investigation found the military branch didn't hire anyone with misconduct convictions. This was a change. For a time during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Army lowered recruiting standards, letting in more people with criminal and medical problems. But now, leaders are trying to slash the size of the active duty force as war operations wind down. That also means tougher rules for people who want to stay in. (Federal News Radio)

  • The Internal Revenue Service is closing more than 40 of its small offices to save money. The locations have fewer than 25 employees, and closing them over the next two years would reduce the agency's space footprint by 945,000 square feet. The IRS also planned to consolidate a number of offices within the same commuting area. It expected the closures and consolidations to save more than $40 million. (Federal News Radio)