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- The Cyber Imperative
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Shows & Panels
Jack Moore is a web editor and general assignment reporter for Federal News Radio.
Key senators on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee are seeking answers into how the contractor employee responsible for the mass shooting at the Washington Navy Yard that killed 12 people obtained his security clearance. In a Sept. 18 letter, Sens. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.), requested the Office of Personnel Management's inspector general look into what type of clearance the shooter, identified as 34-year-old Aaron Alexis, held as well as what federal agency conducted his background investigation.
New legislation introduced by Sens. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) pushes the Pentagon toward being ready for a full financial audit by restricting spending on major weapons programs if DoD fails to get its books in order.
In the wake of the shooting in which 12 civilian and contract employees were gunned down at the Washington Navy Yard Monday, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has ordered a review of security procedures at all Defense Department bases worldwide.
In an effort to reduce costs, officials at the Navy put in place a system for granting contractors access to installations that ended up allowing as many as 52 convicted felons access to bases, according to a Defense Department inspector general report released Tuesday. The IG found the system, called Rapidgate, failed to comply with federal standards and that background checks were conducted using only publicly accessible databases. The security of Navy installations was thrown into the spotlight Monday after 34-year-old contractor Aaron Alexis entered the Washington Navy Yard Monday morning where he shot and killed 12 people.
Thirteen people are dead and more are injured after a shooting at the Washington Navy Yard Monday morning. The shooter, who was killed during the incident, has been identified as Aaron Alexis of Texas.
Employees at multiple federal agencies, who would normally receive a direct deposit electronic paycheck today, will have to wait until Tuesday because of a mix-up by the Interior Business Center, one of the largest federal payroll processors. Affected agencies include the National Archives and Records Administration, NASA, the National Transportation Saftey Board, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Federal Trade Commission.
House Democrats have crafted their own plan to temporarily fund federal agencies when the new fiscal year starts Oct. 1. Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), the ranking Democrat on the House Budget Committee announced Thursday he plans to introduce a Democratic alternative to the GOP continuing resolution that would replace automatic budget constraints set to continue into fiscal 2014.
Speaking before the President's Council of Advisers on Science and Technology at the National Academy of Sciences Thursday morning, Steven VanRoekel, the federal chief information officer, said the President's second-term management agenda is building on past successes to make lasting change ordinary American citizens can feel in their everyday lives.
Federal hiring declined last year, with new government hires dropping to fewer than 90,000 in fiscal 2012. The dip in hiring caused the size of the federal workforce to retract slightly to about 2.1 million federal workers — about on par with 2009 levels, according to new government data compiled by the Partnership for Public Service.
The House Appropriations Committee unveiled a stopgap spending measure late Tuesday that would fund agencies slightly below current budget levels through Dec. 15. The bill gives agencies some additional spending flexibilities and includes a measure that could help agencies stave off furloughs in the first few months of fiscal 2014.
Current and former Obama administration officials' use of personal email addresses and secret, secondary email accounts to conduct official business came under scrutiny Tuesday at a hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Former EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said her use of a secret account was to do her job more efficiently.
There's been no shortage of legislation introduced this year affecting the federal workforce. Federal News Radio's Bill Tracker follows the bills that would affect federal pay and benefits, the size of the workforce and more.
Federal employees who make illegal or improper purchases with government charge cards could face dismissal under new guidelines from the Office of Management and Budget. In a memo to the heads of agencies, OMB Director Sylvia Burwell laid out new steps to curb charge-card violations as part of the implementation of the 2012 Government Charge Card Abuse Prevention Act.
Congress returns to work today with a crowded agenda and little time. Lawmakers must come to agreement on 2014 funding before the fiscal year ends Sept. 30 or risk a government shutdown. Also on the agenda: coming up with an alternative to the automatic spending constraints known as sequestration and negotiating a raise in the government's borrowing limit. There are also other measures affecting federal employees that remain to be worked out, including legislation to overhaul the cash-strapped Postal Service and a potential 1 percent pay raise for civilian federal workers.
Federal spending on services contracts continued a slow downturn last year, according to a new analysis from the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Contract spending on services fell 7 percent -- from $332 billion to $308 billion — between 2011 and 2012. And the downward trend is likely to continue, given budget constraints that are likely to intensify in the coming years, according to David Berteau, senior vice president at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
The Office of Personnel Management processed more retirement applications than expected last month -- for the first time since April. The enhanced processing power is thanks to a year-end budget review that allowed OPM to restore limited overtime for employees working in its Retirement Services Offices, OPM said. The agency had suspended employee overtime beginning in April, citing the automatic budget cuts known as sequestration.
A bevy of issues has piled up on lawmakers' to-do list, including fiscal 2014 funding and a pay raise for federal employees. But they don't have much time to act. Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), whose district includes many federal employees and contractors, tells Federal News Radio the climate of uncertainty is having a negative impact on both groups.
Funds in the Thrift Savings Plan took a plunge last month. With the exception of the government-securities G Fund, all the funds in the Thrift Savings Plan finished August in negative territory.
New regulations from the Labor Department spell out specific benchmarks federal contractors will be expected to meet regarding the hiring of veterans and people with disabilities. But Patricia Shiu, director of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), tells Federal News Radio the new benchmarks are not quotas. Still, some contractor groups are viewing the new rules with skepticism.
After a two-year freeze, per diems for work-related federal travel are going up slightly, according to the General Services Administration. GSA also announced it is eliminating a special lodging allowance for federal employees attending conferences.