Sequestration will hit harder in fiscal 2014 than it did because cuts will be larger and one-time fixes that mitigated the impacts last year cannot be used again, a Nov. 21 Center for American Progress report says. Sequestration will cut $24 billion more in 2014 than it did in 2013, because Congress partially repealed the 2013 sequester in the American Taxpayer Relief Act, the report says.
Nine years after the president called on them to develop a backup system for GPS, the Homeland Security and Transportation departments haven't determined their roles. "There is considerable confusion and lack of clarity between the agencies about what their roles, responsibilities, and authorities are," the Government Accountability Office says in a Nov. 6 report.
Air carriers will soon be able to allow passengers to use mobile devices during all phases of flight, including departure and landing, the Federal Aviation Administration announced Oct. 31.
Government surveillance drones don't present novel threats to privacy, said military and border officials at the US/Canada Border Conference in September. Air Force Col. Greg Semmel, the installation commander at the Hancock Field Air National Guard Base in Syracuse, N.Y., noted that the Air Force and Air National Guard have used optical sensors to track activity on the ground for decades.
About 7,000 Veterans Benefits Administration workers were furloughed Oct. 8, leaving VBA regional offices closed, VA Spokeswoman Victoria Dillon said. While regional offices won't be open, most toll-free numbers will still be available to veterans seeking information about their benefits.
The recommendations state that passengers should be allowed to use smartphones and tablets so long as they do not connect to the Internet, said Harteveldt. Laptops would not be permitted to be used during takeoff and landing because of their weight and size.
Avionics allowing airplane pilots to see in real-time their position and the location of other airplanes may not be ready by 2020, says the Transportation Department office of inspector general in a Sept. 17 letter. ADS-B In technical requirements "are not mature and continue to evolve," auditors say. "As a result, it is uncertain when the advanced capabilities of ADS-B can be implemented and at what cost," they add.
As it develops maintenance plans for its unstaffed facilities, the FAA is relying on old data that only covers about a third of the facilities, the Government Accountability Office says. The FAA's unstaffed buildings and towers contain navigation, communications, surveillance and weather equipment.
The Federal Aviation Administration only uses a building's age to determine its condition which makes for "substantial errors" as to whether a facility needs repair, a Sept. 10 Government Accountability Office report (.pdf) says. In 2012, a consultant for the ATO developed the statistical model based on inspection results of 134 inspected facilities. The model "uses one variable--age of the facility--to estimate the facility's condition," the GAO report says.
Several departments underspent on small business programs for the commercialization of research and development because they left out entire component agencies from the calculations used to fund the programs, the GAO says. Under two federal programs, agencies must spend a certain percentage of their outside research and development funding on small businesses R&D efforts that align with federal priorities.