Monthly Archives: October, 2009

GAO: Agency use of cost contracts is down?

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Agency use of risky cost-based contracts has dropped over the last six-years, but the number of contracts coded as “combination contracts” is on the rise, the Government Accountability Office found in a report released today. Between 2003 and 2008, the value of cost-reimbursement contracts, which pay vendors for their actual costs to perform the work, grew from $120 billion to $136 billion. But as a percentage of overall dollars spent through the procurement process, use declined. In 2003, the $120 billion represented 34 percent of the $298 billion spent. In 2008, the $136 billion was just 26 percent of the…

2009 intelligence budget: Almost $50 billion

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How much does the (civilian) government spend on intelligence? $49.8 billion last year, according to Dennis Blair, the director of national intelligence, who released the 2009 spending figure earlier this morning. That figure includes only the non-military intelligence budget. Blair said in a conference call earlier this year that the entire intelligence community budget is $75 billion — suggesting that the military intelligence budget, still technically classified, is about $25.2 billion.

Update: Martha Johnson's nomination…still on hold

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Sen. Christopher “Kit” Bond, R-Mo., rose to speak on the Senate floor yesterday to inform everyone he’s not lifting the hold on Martha Johnson’s nomination to lead the General Services Administration until the GSA explains…again…why it decided to build a federally owned building to house 1,200 feds in downtown Kansas City, rather than taking the more costly lease-construction route. (A lease-construction project is when a contractor builds a space to government specs then leases it to the government.) In the Oct. 29 floor statement, Bond expressed frustration that GSA decided to “pull the plug” on the lease-construction project that he…

Deadline looms to submit green ideas

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Heads up, federal procrastinators: You’ve got until midnight Saturday to submit your suggestions for making the government more environmentally friendly and to vote on those ideas already submitted by your more industrious colleagues.  As we reported earlier, the most popular ideas submitted during the GreenGov Challenge will be presented to agencies, which are right now figuring out how to meet the ambitious environmental goals laid out earlier this month by President Barack Obama. With a portfolio of more than 500,000 buildings and 600,000 vehicles, the government is a prime target for testing ideas to conserve energy, reduce carbon emissions and promote…

Senate confirms surgeon general

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Senators unanimously confirmed Dr. Regina Benjamin Thursday as the next U.S. surgeon general. Benjamin is the founder of the Bayou Le Batre Rural Health Clinic in Bayou La Batre, Ala., a fishing village, and has served as its chief executive officer since its founding in 1990. Benjamin has rebuilt the clinic several times, including after Hurricane Georges in 1998 and Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Atlanta neurosurgeon and CNN correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta was rumored earlier this year to be Obama’s first choice for surgeon general, but Gupta pulled his name from consideration, citing his desire to spend more time on…

President signs end to NSPS

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President Barack Obama signed the Defense authorization bill into law Wednesday afternoon, marking the eventual end to the controversial National Security Personnel System. HR 2647 phases out the NSPS pay-for-performance system by Jan 1, 2012, and the Pentagon has six months from Wednesday to start transferring employees over to their original pay system. For many employees, that means a return to the General Schedule. The bill also contains a number of provisions long anticipated by federal employees: Federal Employment Retirement System (FERS) employees will be able to count unused sick leave toward their years of service, just as Civil Service…

OMB procurement guidance now available

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UPDATE: OMB says the definition of inherently governmental functions is still being worked on. Expect to hear something by the end of the year. The Office of Management and Budget just released two long-awaited procurement reform memos. The first is about increasing competition while reducing risk in contracting. The second is about strategic planning for the civilian agency acquisition workforce. So far no word on a A third piece of expected guidance meant to clarify the definition of inherently governmental functions was not released today as expected [see update above]. That memo will help agencies carry out earlier guidance to…

Updated: Sound off on going green

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Update: Nearly 2,800 ideas for greening the federal government have been submitted so far through the White  House’s GreenGov Challenge.  Those ideas have been voted on more than 93,000 times since voting began Oct. 19. Federal employees and military service members have until Saturday to make their suggestions and cast their votes. ———————————————————————————————– Original post: Think you have a great idea for how the government can reduce its environmental footprint? The Obama administration wants to know it. The White House is challenging federal civilian employees and military service members to come up with ways in which the government can get…

Breaking: April Stephenson out as DCAA Director

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UPDATE: Full story now on FederalTimes.com. Click here. Embattled Defense Contract Audit Agency director April Stephenson was removed from her post earlier today, the Defense Department has announced. Stephenson, who was spent her entire career at DCAA, was reassigned to the staff of DoD Comptroller Robert Hale. Hale, who oversees DCAA, replaced her with Army Auditor General Patrick Fitzgerald, said Navy Cmdr. Darryn James, a Pentagon spokesman. Fitzgerald takes over Nov. 9. The move was announced during an internal teleconference at 2 p.m. today. Following the teleconference DCAA staff was notified via email, James said. Fitzgerald was chosen to take…

Did anyone take the USPS buyouts?

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Are you one of the 18,000 people who accepted the Postal Service’s $15,000 buyout offer? Want to talk about why you took the deal? E-mail me. (Alternatively, if you didn’t accept the deal, I want to hear why not!) I’m working on a story about the buyouts, and I’d love to include your stories. Glad to keep you anonymous, of course.

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