Monthly Archives: June, 2012

Are you interested in phased retirement? We want to hear from you

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Congress just passed a new phased retirement option that would allow federal employees to work part-time at the end of their career, while also earning a partial pension. This has the potential to significantly change how feds and their agencies plan for retirements. If you’re a fed nearing retirement age, and are interested in the phased retirement option, we’d like to talk to you. How would a semi-retirement help you and your agency? Is there a dream project you’d like to wrap up before retiring once and for all? Are you busy mentoring younger employees? Are you just not ready…

Postal regulators reject emergency action to delay mail plant downsizing

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It’s not looking good for the American Postal Workers Union’s last-ditch attempt to delay a wave of mail processing plant downsizings set to begin next week. In a unanimous decision released today, the Postal Regulatory Commission ruled that the APWU had failed to make the case for an emergency injunction.  Although the five-member commission didn’t make a final decision on the union’s complaint filed earlier this month, today’s ruling says that the union “has failed to demonstrate that it has a substantial likelihood of prevailing on the merits, that it will suffer irreparable harm, or that the balance of the…

Report: Secrecy spending jumped by more than $1 billion last year

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You can argue about the effectiveness of the United States’ national security classification program, but there’s no disputing one point: Keeping secrets costs money—lots of it. Last year, executive branch agencies shelled out an estimated $11.4 billion on classified information systems and other facets of the program, according to an annual report released this week by the Information Security Oversight Office, a branch of the National Archives and Records Administration. That’s up 12 percent–or $1.2 billion–from 2010, and more than double the figure from a decade ago. The actual tab to taxpayers is likely much higher, because the report doesn’t…

National cyber center unveils plan for working with industry

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Federal officials unveiled details of a new public-private partnership aimed at speeding industry’s development of secure information technology products. The new National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (NCCoE) launched in February is a project of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). It aims to bring companies together to create and discuss security management solutions that can be used by agencies and private companies. Acting Executive Director Donna Dodson on Tuesday said NCCoE’s vision is to provide a world-class collaborative environment for integrating cybersecurity solutions that stimulate economies and national economic groups. Initially, the center will focus on adopting secure…

Contractor to pay $2 million to settle discrimination claims

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Baldor Electric Co., which once produced batteries and generators for the Army and other federal agencies, has agreed to pay $2 million and offer 50 people jobs to settle allegations of discrimination, federal contract oversight officials said this week. The company’s applicant screening process for its facility in Fort Smith, Ark. allegedly discriminated against women and minorities, the Labor Department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) said in a news release. The OFCCP found the company’s process of evaluating applicants was based on subjective standards, not an objective analysis of a person’s qualifications, an OFCCP spokesman said. As a result, 795 qualified…

Commerce IG to review recent cyber attack, security practices

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A Commerce Department agency’s security program is under review, following a January cyber attack that crippled its networks. As part of an annual audit, the inspector general is reviewing the Economic Development Agency’s security program, according to a June memo. The review will determine the program’s effectiveness, significant factors that led to the cyber attack and how EDA has responded. The computer virus was discovered Jan. 20, and the agency shut down employees’ Internet access the following week. Workers were eventually given new computer workstations with access to Internet and email, and the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team…

Update: House subcommittee passes veterans data breach notification bill

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A House subcommittee on Wednesday passed a bill to ensure vets are quickly notified when their personal information is breached. The Veterans Data Breach Timely Notification Act, , H.R. 3730, requires the Veterans Affairs Department to notify Congress and vets within 10 business days of their personal information being breached. VA could request a five-day extension if more time is needed to identify affected individuals or mitigate a breach. VA contractors that handle vets’ personal information would be held to the same standards under the bill. “In the unfortunate event of a breach of sensitive information, veterans and their families should be notified…

New steps to combat leaks on the way

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As the fallout over recent leaks of classified information continues to swirl, one consequence will be closer scrutiny of contacts between intelligence community employees and news outlets under two measures announced this week by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. The first involves the counter-intelligence polygraph exam that seven intelligence agencies, (CIA, Defense Intelligence Agency, Energy Department, FBI, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, National Reconnaissance Office and National Security Agency)  give employees when they’re first hired and typically every seven years thereafter when their security clearances come up for renewal.  Hitherto, only the CIA has asked about unauthorized disclosures of classified information…

SAIC protests $4.6 billion DISA contract

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Science Applications International Corp. is protesting a $4.6 billion award to Lockheed Martin to support the Defense Information Systems Network. The protest was filed June 22 with the Government Accountability Office. GAO will issue a decision on the protest by Oct. 1. “We are disappointed in the government’s decision to not award us the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) Global Information Grid (GIG) Services Management (GSM) contract. We feel our solution is the best value for the customer and we are proud of our performance history on this contract,” SAIC spokeswoman Melissa Koskovich said in a statement. Lockheed Martin Corp. beat out incumbent SAIC…

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