News

Report: DoD security clearances dropped by 15% over last two years

The Defense Department reduced the number of employees and contractors who hold security clearances over the last two years by more than 700,000 people, according to documents obtained by open government expert Steven Aftergood on his Secrecy News blog.

VA moves to standardized claims for disability benefits

The Veterans Affairs Department is now requiring veterans seeking disability benefits to use a standardized claims and appeals form that the agency says will make the process easier and more efficient. "This change will help VA provide faster and more accurate decisions to our veterans, their families and survivors," says Under Secretary for Benefits Allison Hickey in March 25 statement.

Postal manager sentenced to 40 months in prison for contract bribery

A U.S. District Court judge sentenced a former Postal Service station manager to nearly four years in prison after he exchanged USPS contracts for bribe payments, says a March 24 USPS inspector general statement. 

Senate Committee calls for Obama to nominate IGs for 10 agency vacancies

All 16 members of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee sent a letter Monday to President Obama urging him to nominate permanent inspectors general at the 10 agencies who currently have vacancies.

USPS IG and economist spar over Postal Service's role in the private sector

Disagreement over the Postal Service's role in business outside of mail delivery sparked debate at a March 25 Brookings Institution event. The Postal Service needs to act as an intermediary between those who have access to digital services and those who don't, USPS Inspector General David Williams said at the event.

GAO: NASA major project cost overruns increased, but were relatively low

The cost of NASA's major projects have increased over the last year, but the growth in costs was relatively low compared to historic levels, says a March 24 Government Accountability Office report.

Agencies reduce federal real estate footprint by millions of square feet

Agencies governmentwide have reduced their real estate footprint by millions of square feet since President Obama issued a directive to restrict the growth of the federal footprint in 2013, says a March 25 Office of Management and Budget blog post. The 2013 directive was the first government-wide policy that required federal agencies to unload existing property before they could acquire new property.

HHS expands public access to financial records

The Health and Human Services Department is expanding access to some of its data as a way to engage more with the public, says a March 16 HHS statement. "HHS is expanding public access to financial data and to the results of our funded scientific research," the agency says.

OPM: Veteran hiring at its highest rate ever

One-third of all federal hires in fiscal 2014 were veterans and that's the highest hiring rate for former servicemembers ever, the Office of Personnel Management says in March 23 statement.

GAO: NNSA has spent millions more than estimated to clean up Los Alamos National Laboratory

The amount of money needed to clean up radioactive material at the Los Alamos National Laboratory is rising and more cost overruns are expected, says a Government Accountability Office report released March 23.

DoD IG reverses clean audit of Marine Corps financial statements

The Defense Department's inspector general has reversed its clean fiscal 2012 financial audit of the Marine Corps after it recently found the data the IG relied on wasn't accurate. The DoD discovered the information the Marine Corps provided for the fiscal 2012 financial audit was unreliable after it reviewed the information again for the fiscal 2014 audit.

Report: Obama won't sign budget that keeps sequestration cuts

President Obama will not sign any spending bills that continue mandatory funding cuts to agency budgets through sequestration, according to a March 21 Huffington Post article. 

Union: Cutting military commissary budget would affect tens of thousands of federal workers

The largest federal employee union is calling on the Defense Department to stop a proposal to cut funding for its commissaries, says a March 18 American Federal of Government Employees letter to Congress.

Budget constraints keep DOE from disposing of degrading nuclear facilities, GAO says

The Energy Department's office responsible for disposing of degrading nuclear facilities are not able to clean up those sites because of budget constraints, says a March 19 Government Accountability Office report. 

GAO: DoD didn't fully consider underreporting in sexual assault numbers

The Defense Department hasn't done a good job of understanding the underreporting of male sexual assault in the services, says a March 19 Government Accountability Office report.

Small business federal contracting would change under Chabot bill

The chairman of the House Small Business Committee introduced a bill that would include more categories for small businesses to get federal contracts.

Lawmakers seek to prohibit bonuses for feds charged with misconduct or breaking the law

Three Senators reintroduced a bill from last session that would prohibit bonuses for federal employees engaged in misconduct inside and outside their respective agencies.

New order tasks agencies with cutting greenhouse gas emissions over the next decade

A new executive order seeks to have agencies cut their greenhouse gas emissions to an extent that could save the government billions of dollars, says a March 19 statement from Acting General Services Administration head Denise Turner Roth.

OFPP: Contractors can rate transactions with agencies using new digital platform

Contractors will now be able to rate their transactions with federal agencies to help those agencies better the procurement process, says OFPP Administrator Anne Rung in a March 18 memo. OFPP will use a tool called Acquisition 360, which Rung says is the first ever transaction-based feedback tool that allows agencies to identify strengths and weaknesses in their acquisition processes, according to the memo.

House Republican budget plan would boost DoD spending while reducing civilian agency budgets

House Republicans released a fiscal 2016 budget plan Tuesday that would slash non-defense spending while boosting funding for the Defense Department war operations. The budget plan doesn't outline the numbers for next fiscal year in detail for each agency like President Obama's budget request. Those numbers are hashed out by House and Senate Appropriations Committee members in their respective subcommittees.