The SEVEN stories that impact your life for Tuesday the 10th of July, 2012
- Buyouts are coming to Goddard Space Center. More than 100 employees will get offers this month. Most of them work in science and exploration. NASA said the buyouts were aimed at reshaping the workforce rather than trimming it. Federal News Radio says the agency was offering up to $25,000 as an incentive. Employees must sign up within 10 days and retire by October. NASA offered buyouts to more than 600 employees nationwide last fall but Goddard did not participate.
- The Director of the National Intelligence wants to bolster the foreign language skills in the intelligence community. Secrecy News reports, shortfalls in foreign language abilities are a recurring problem in U.S. intelligence agencies. And the new directive notes the Intelligence Community needs to not just language skills but added cultural awareness too.
- The government’s new intern program kicks off this week. Government Executive says agencies must transition from the current system to Pathways Programs. The Pathways Program grew out of a 2010 executive order directing agencies to make it easier for students and recent grads to pursue careers in the federal government. The new program includes three tracks: one for current students, one for recent graduates and Presidential Management Fellows. Participants will be classified under a new Schedule D within the excepted service, and each program will honor veterans’ preference.
- The Navy is looking for new ways to protect pilots from oxygen depletion. NextGov reports, the Office of Naval Research is envisioning “hypoxia monitoring, alarm, and mitigation systems” built out of mini-sensors that note changes in pilots’ bodies and the air and barometric pressure in a cockpit. The data will be processed with algorithms that predict if oxygen levels will plunge, so pilots can be warned in advance and react quickly. The New York Times says Since the F-22 was put into operation in 2005, Air Force pilots have experienced 21 unexplained episodes of hypoxia-like symptoms.
- Federal scientists are joining in the fight against the Stock Act. You might remember the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act gives the public easier access to financial disclosure reports filed by some federal employees. The Washington Post says the scientists have a particular problem with the separate provision of the Stock Act that would require more frequent reporting of many financial transactions by those who file those reports. The Senior Executive Service has also strongly petitioned against the Stock Act saying that posting executives financials could have dangerous consequences.
- Colorado Congressman Diana DeGette said she will help seasonal firefighters in their struggle for federal health care benefits. DeGette says she would introduce a bill this week that would let the firefighters enroll in the federal employees health benefits program. Federal News Radio says about 8,000 firefighters are working for the federal government on a season-to-season basis, which means they don’t receive any benefits. One federal labor union estimated it would cost the government $17.5 million a year to cover the Forest Service’s seasonal firefighters. Firefighters said without health insurance for themselves or their families, they simply pray they don’t get sick.
- And on GovLoop, we want to know how you shred the red tape. We talked with Tom Fox with the Partnership for Public Service about how leaders can work around red tape. But now we want to know your tips too. Head over to our homepage to check it out.
On today’s program
- There’s a new Chief in the government — the Chief Innovation Officer — but what do they actually do? Find out with Tim Howell.
- The outlook for government contractors might be grim, but there are some areas of growth. We’ll take a look with Liza Dezzutti from Market Connections.