The SEVEN stories that impact your life for Monday the 23rd of July, 2012
- The House has approved a $606 billion Defense Department spending bill. The bill includes a pay raise for military members but not the Pentagon’s civilians. Government Executive says the bill provides $518 billion in non-war funding — that is lower than earlier estimates by more than $1 billion. But the bill might not get very far, the White House has threatened to veto the bill.
- A military jury has convicted an instructor at Lackland Air Force Base of raping one female trainee and sexually assaulting several others. The New York Times says at least 11 other instructors in the Air Force’s basic training system, nine from the same squadron, are under investigation in the widening case, which is the focus not only of a criminal probe but also a major policy review by a two-star general. At least 31 female recruits have been identified as possible victims
- Performance.gov is struggling to stay operation with reduced funding. NextGov says funding cuts in the fiscal 2011 and 2012 budgets required the White House to slow development of the Web site, which was supposed to highlight how agencies were doing. The 2010 Government Performance and Results Modernization Act says Performance.gov needs to be up and operational by Oct. 1. The Office of Management and Budget believes the site can still meet the deadline.
- An ex-federal official calls US classification system dysfunctional. In an interview with The Washington Post, William Leonard, the government’s former classification czar, said that the government’s system for classifying information is “becoming dysfunctional” and “clearly lacks the ability to differentiate between trivial information and that which can truly damage our nation’s well-being.”
- Meanwhile, the National Security Agency may have violated the Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable search and seizure. The Wall Street Journal reports that secret national security court found the government has acknowledged spy activities violated the constitution since the passage of a 2008 law that overhauled surveillance laws. The 2008 law came in the wake of the uproar over the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping program in the George W. Bush Administration.
- The Office of Personnel Management has published final regulations expanding several benefits to the same-sex partners of federal employees. Government Executive says same-sex domestic partners of feds now are automatically considered an “insurable interest” for survivor annuities. Federal employees in good health can opt to provide an insurable interest annuity, which is different from a spousal survivor annuity, to certain family members.
- On GovLoop, we are just three four days away from our Next Generation of Government Training Summit. Time is running out for you to attend this year’s conference. And we are working hard to make sure the conference is as informative and fun as possible.
On today’s program
- The State Department is the federal government’s first agency, so you talk about a culture. But the State Department has been at the forefront of what is being called eDiplomacy or digital diplomacy. And the person who is at the forefront of this new way of reaching out around the world… and Richard Boly is one of the finalists for the Service to America Medals… the SAMMIES. You will get to meet him ahead… and he’ll talk about his favorite phrase.
- And if you have something you wanted to get done in your community, what about crowdfunding that civic project. It is a new idea that some communities are just starting to looking at. We’ll talk to one of the founders of Neighbor.ly.