Countdown: GSA censorship, Top Secret America, BCFP fight

Friday - 7/23/2010, 2:31pm EDT

Federal News Countdown

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Today on the Federal News Countdown, my experts are:
--Wyatt Kash, Editor In Chief, Government Computer News and Defense Systems
--Bob Suda, President and CEO, Suda and Associates

And here are the stories we're counting down:

NUMBER THREE
Kash: Who Oversees Homeland Security? Um, Who Doesn't?
From NPR.org:

"A few weeks ago, at a forum in Aspen, Colo., the deputy secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Jane Holl Lute, was asked about congressional oversight of her department. How many committees and subcommittees have oversight over DHS? Her answer? 108. And that number has grown significantly since 2004.

"'When the 9/11 Commission made its report back in 2004, and they said there were too many committees and subcommittees, the number was 86,' says Rep. Peter King of New York, the ranking Republican on the House Committee on Homeland Security."


Suda: Feds directed to change commuting, travel habits
From FederalNewsRadio.com:

"President Obama has announced that the federal government will reduce greenhouse gas pollution from indirect sources by 13% by 2020, and the way to green is through the federal workforce.

"Using agency reported targets, Moore said the 13% reduction will 'give us an opportunity to expand programs like using teleconferencing, videoconferencing, webconferencing instead of getting on that plane and also expanding commuting options for employees, not just here in D.C. where we all take Metro a lot, but outside of Washington where more than 80% of the federal workforce actually lives and works.'

"Under the Executive Order, every agency has a Senior Sustainability Officer, said Moore, who will be responsible for setting the targets, meeting targets and "delivering the sustainability plans that are each agency's roadmap for how to get there."


NUMBER TWO
Kash: Fight Over Consumer Agency Looms as Overhaul Is Signed
From WSJ.com:

"President Barack Obama on Wednesday signed into law the most sweeping financial overhaul since the Depression, putting the country on a course toward a more muscular regulatory framework.

"But one provision that barely survived will have the most direct bearing on millions of ordinary people's lives: a new agency meant to protect consumers from abusive financial products, called the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection. The proposal was the source of some of the most intense debates in the long struggle over the financial-regulatory overhaul, and the battles are far from over.

"The biggest looming one is over who will head the agency, and that heated up this week as liberal groups insisted the White House give the job to Elizabeth Warren of Harvard Law School - whose idea the agency was. Banking groups were urging key senators to oppose Ms. Warren, calling her an activist who would impose policies they argue would hurt the availability of credit, especially for those with low incomes.


Suda: VA sets performance, VLER goals in strategic plan
From FCW.com:

"The Veterans Affairs Department aims to become more integrated and performance-driven by fulfilling 13 high-priority goals during the next four years, according to a new strategic plan.

"The just-released VA Strategic Plan 2010-2014 describes 13 major goals, including automating disability and GI Bill claims and benefits processing and developing the Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record (VLER). VLER is a joint effort with the Defense Department to create a seamless record for each service member from enlistment through retirement.


NUMBER ONE
Kash: Top Secret America
From WashingtonPost.com:

"The top-secret world the government created in response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, has become so large, so unwieldy and so secretive that no one knows how much money it costs, how many people it employs, how many programs exist within it or exactly how many agencies do the same work."

Suda: Union accuses GSA of censorship over social media policy
From FCW.com:

"Federal employee union leaders say workers may be unfairly censored and prohibited from free speech under a General Services Administration order on employee use of Facebook, Twitter and other social media.

"That GSA order, which was issued by Casey Coleman, GSA's Chief Information Officer, offers guidelines for employee use of social media for official and non-official use. It includes recommendations for use of disclaimers noting that an opinion expressed by a GSA employee on a social media site is not necessarily an official policy. The order also cautioned employees to "have no expectation of privacy" on social media networks."