Obama nominees are in for a fight – Plus the DorobekINSIDER’s 7 Stories

On GovLoop Insights’ DorobekINSIDER:
  • There is really no way around it - the federal workforce is getting smaller. Budget cuts and the potential sequestration are forcing the issue. So what does that mean for the acquisition workforce going forward? Who stays? Click here for the full recap.
The first new appointments to the Obama administration could be a bit of a battle. National Journal: It's almost irresistible to compare Chuck Hagel's controversial nomination and the failed bid of John Tower in 1989. The differences and similarities between the two defense secretary wannabes offer some insight into how much Hagel might be bloodied and how Washington has changed in the intervening years. The Washington Post asks what the nominations of Chuck Hagel and Jim Brennan signal course adjustments at Pentagon and CIA.
“President Obama is assembling a national security team designed for an era of downsized but enduring conflict, a team that will be asked to preside over the return of exhausted American troops and wield power through the targeted use of sanctions, Special Operations forces and drone strikes. Obama’s nominations of former senator Chuck Hagel as defense secretary and White House counterterrorism adviser John O. Brennan as CIA director signal second-term course adjustments at institutions that have been dominated by their lethal assignments during more than a decade of war. Those adjustments could include returning the CIA’s focus to its core mission of gathering intelligence, even though it is expected to maintain its fleet of armed drones for years. The Pentagon faces an even more aggressive restructuring to balance budget cuts against threats, including China’s ascendent military and emerging al-Qaeda affiliates in North Africa and the Middle East, reports Greg Miller and Scott Wilson.
Meanwhile, on the budget front lines, the Washington Post says that the U.S. may default on its debt half a month earlier than expected, according to a new assessment.
“The U.S. government may default on its debt as soon as Feb. 15, half a month earlier than widely expected, according to a new analysis adding urgency to the debate over how to raise the federal debt ceiling. The analysis, by the Bipartisan Policy Center, says that the government will be unable to pay all its bills starting sometime between Feb. 15 and March 1. The government hit the $16.4 trillion statutory debt limit on Dec. 31 , but the Treasury Department is able to undertake a number of accounting schemes to delay when the government runs into funding problems. The Treasury has said that the accounting schemes, known as “extraordinary measures,” ordinarily would forestall default for about the first two months of the year, though officials were clear that they could not pinpoint a precise date because of an unusual amount of uncertainty around federal finances, reports Zachary A. Goldfarb.
The SEVEN stories that impact your life
  1. Planning for the Defense Department’s 2014 budget might be delayed. Government Executive reports, DoD Comptroller Robert Hale said “some delay is almost inevitable” given the changes in deadlines and spending cuts under a possible sequestration made through the American Taxpayer Relief Act that Congress passed New Year’s Day.
  2. Soon the White House could mandate open computer readable documents soon. Federal News Radio’s Jason Miller reports, the new policy is one of several steps to spur the release of more data from agencies. The White House's Office of Science and Technology Policy also is upgrading the Data.gov site and its corresponding communities to make it easier to put up new content based on feedback from developers on what are the most important data sets that have been released and how it was used.
  3. There was a little snag for the Presidential inaugural ball tickets. The Washington Post thousands of people eager to get their hands on one of the most sought-after tickets in Washington — a chance to attend an official inaugural ball with President Obama and the first lady — instead discovered that all of the tickets had been sold before they were supposed to be available because of a foul-up at Ticketmaster.
  4. Government Executive writes, the General Services Administration increased the mileage reimbursement rate for federal employees who use their private vehicles for work, as of Jan. 1, 2013. The rate for cars will be 56.5 cents per mile, an increase of one cent over the current rate of 55.5 cents. The boost matches the rate set in November by the Internal Revenue Service for private sector workers. GSA sets the rate for feds, which cannot exceed the IRS rate. GSA is not obligated to match the IRS’ rate, however.
  5. Looking for a new book for your Kindle? Look no further. NextGov says the State Department’s historian has released more than 08 volumes of its mammoth Foreign Relations of the United States series in e-book form. This first release is a pilot and many more volumes will come out soon, the office said.
  6. DISA has unveiled their priorities for 2013. FCW reports, Leadership at the Defense Information Systems Agency is focusing on areas critical across the Defense Department in 2013, including enterprise services, mobility and security – and how best invest resources amid growing budget pressures. Already acting as DOD’s cloud broker, DISA will have a key role in finding and implementing shared IT services across the department.
  7. NASA’s new open-source purchase award contract is on hold after a vendor lodged a protest. FCW reports, the agency awarded a $40 million blanket purchase agreement in mid-December to Rockville, Md.-based InfoZen to replace the agency’s existing CMS – operated for several years by eTouch Federal Systems LLC – with open source architecture to run its 140 websites and 1,600 web assets and applications.
The DorobekINSIDER water-cooler fodder
  • On this date in 1790 – George Washington delivers the first State of the Union address in New York, New York. Read it here.
  • Hillary Rodham Clinton received a lighthearted offering from her staff at the State Department, where she returned for the first time after being treated for a blot clot in her brain.
  • And lastly, what were the big White House photos for the year? Check them out here.
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