Budget Deal Passes – Plus the DorobekINSIDER’s 7 Stories

On GovLoop Insights’ DorobekINSIDER:

  • The 2013 Best Places to Work rankings of federal workplace satisfaction paint a dismal picture of agency leadership, management and employee opportunities.This year's governmentwide ranking was an all-time low since the Best Places to Work rankings began in 2003. We cull out some lessons learned.

The SEVEN stories that impact your life

  1. The Senate has approved a controversial bipartisan budget plan that erases over $30 billion in across-the-board spending cuts in 2014 and 2015. The former round of cuts would have kicked in next month. Pentagon leaders support the plan, as do defense industry executives. They say while it does not completely undo the “meat ax” of sequestration, it does provide much-needed relief, reports Federal Times.

  2. The Defense Department is one step closer to finalizing what it takes to securely host the military’s controlled unclassified data in a commercial cloud. A pilot program is getting underway that will test DoD-specific standards – called “impact levels” – that go beyond those required by the governmentwide cloud security program known as FedRAMP. Last week, a panel of senior military leaders approved the pilot program that will test practical means for the private sector and DoD to implement the standards, said Doug Gardner, with the Defense Information Systems Agency.

  3. The Department of Homeland Security's Cybersecurity Division is looking for a few good companies that can help it commercialize cyber-defense technology developed by some of the world's premier research labs. The technologies, developed by national, federally funded labs – including Oak Ridge, Sandia, and Los Alamos -- are aimed at protecting a variety of electronic intrusion and attack points on enterprise and federal networks, reports FCW.

  4. Aiming to ease administrative burdens and curb waste and fraud, the Office of Management and Budget on Thursday announced simplified guidance for agency handling of the $600 million in annual federal grants. Beth Cobert, newly installed as the White House deputy director for management, cast the effort “to reduce bureaucratic red tape” as a key component of the Obama administration’s larger attempt to improve performance and ensure financial integrity in spending,  reports Government Executive.

  5. Virginia’s Governor-elect Terry McAuliffe announced last week he had chosen Karen Jackson to serve as secretary of technology. Jackson currently serves as deputy secretary of technology for the Commonwealth of Virginia, a post which she has held since 2009. She has advised the current governor on technology matters including modeling and simulation, telecommunications, telework and unmanned aerial systems. She has also been responsible for policy and legislative initiatives and has developed programs to facilitate technology innovation, collaboration, development and adoption, reports GCN.

  6. A court-martial for a U.S. Army general facing sexual assault charges has been postponed for a third time. The trial for Brig. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sinclair had been scheduled to begin at Fort Bragg on Jan. 7 after new evidence was found. The discovery evidence centers on a collection of four mobile phones that belong to Sinclair's main accuser, which she recently reported to her attorney, according to Pohl’s Dec. 15 ruling to allow the continuance. One of these, an iPhone, contains voice mails from Sinclair and text messages between Sinclair and the woman, reports Military Times.

  7. Following a federal ruling Monday calling the National Security Agency's mass surveillance programs "almost Orwellian," the White House has released a report from a group of presidential advisers on reforming the organization. The report, compiled by a surveillance review board created in August, recommends 46 changes to the NSA's counterterrorism program, which collects and stores for up to five years of Americans' phone records. The agency has remained a fixture in the news since former contractor Edward Snowden released classified documents about its collection techniques, reports NextGov.

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