News

McCain: Air Force staff cuts were a 'shell game'

The head of the Senate Armed Service Committee called for layoffs to staff at Air Force headquarters in a March 24 letter to Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James. The Air Force had promised to cut its headquarters staff by 20 percent last year, but Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) says that didn't happen.

Former Postal employee sentenced in workers' compensation insurance scam

A Baltimore woman, who formerly worked for Postal Service, was sentenced to 18 months and three years supervised release for an insurance scam that defrauded the government out of hundreds of thousands of dollars, says a March 30 USPS inspector general statement.

VA cuts disability backlog by nearly 70% over the last two years

The agency says it reduced its inventory of backlogged claims from a high of 611,000 claims in March of 2013 to fewer than 200,000 currently, while at the same time improving decision quality.

DoD wants to ease military recruitment restrictions to attract top talent

Defense Secretary Ash Carter wants to ease some of the restrictions on who can enlist in the military to better attract young and smart talent to the services, said a Pentagon spokesman at a March 28 press conference.

GAO: Most lobbyists filed proper disclosures in 2014

Most lobbyists followed federal regulations in filing disclosure reports to demonstrate compliance with the 1995 federal Lobbying Disclosure Act, however a small percentage didn't properly file the disclosure reports, says a March 26 Government Accountability Office report.

NASA's JWST on schedule, but could experience overruns due to outdated risk analysis, says GAO

NASA is currently on schedule for time and cost with its James Webb Space Telescope, but could slip off schedule if it continues to use outdated risk analysis methods and drain its schedule reserves, says a March 24 Government Accountability Office report.

One dead in incident at NSA headquarters

One person was killed Monday when two men tried to ram a gate at Fort Meade in Maryland. Fort Meade is home to the National Security Agency, the Defense Information Systems Agency and United States Cyber Command.

House Oversight approved FOIA reform bill

The House Oversight Committee Wednesday approved a bill that would require agencies presume information requested by the public be open unless proven otherwise. The measure, which was passed out of committee by voice vote would make it easier for the public to request and receive government information, lawmakers say.

HASC unveils DoD procurement reform bill

The House Armed Services Committee released a highly anticipated bill that is meant to streamline the Defense Department's acquisition process and better train it's procurement officers. The legislation would focus on four areas of the acquisition process: workforce training, chain of command, streamlining reporting requirements and overall acquisition strategy.

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.