On GovLoop Insights’ DorobekINSIDER:
- Solving complex problems takes creativity. That’s a given. But harnessing creativity can be a challenge. One way to tap into that reservoir is to remember how you acted when you were a kid. Kids are disruptive, destructive and fun. That’s the perfect formula for innovation, you have to be willingly to think differently. Toymaker Jeff Freeland Nelson explains why playtime at work is necessary.
The SEVEN stories that impact your life
- On Wednesday, the Senate confirmed Byron Todd Jones as the director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; he is the first permanent director in seven years. According to the Federal Times, it was a tense, cliffhanger vote as Senate Democrats barely beat back a GOP-led filibuster. Jones was first nominated to take the ATF post permanently after last December’s elementary school shooting in Connecticut and his nomination was part of Obama’s larger push to reduce gun violence.
- In a Wednesday Pentagon press briefing, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel laid out options for dealing with sequestration beyond 2014. The Federal News Radio reports that service members will need to share in the pain of sequestration if the automatic budget cuts continue into next year. Options include changes to military pay and benefits, consolidating headquarters staff, and a potential modest reduction in military force structure.
- While handling additional pressures from the sequestration, the DoD also issued a response to a complaint Morality in Media had about adult magazine sales on military installations. According to Military Times, a top Pentagon official stated that adult magazines including Playboy, Penthouse, and Nude are permitted for sale because they do not meet the definition of indecent material under federal law. The group contends that the display and sale of adult magazines in military exchanges amounts to a violation of the Military Honor and Decency Act of 1996.
- The United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) received reports of increased activity concerning an apparently DHS-themed ransomware malware infection. Targeted users receive a message claiming that their computer has been suspended and that the user must pay a fine to unblock it. The ransomware claims to be from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Division.
- Edward Snowden, the former U.S. security contractor, left the transit zone at Moscow’s international airport today after Russian authorities granted him temporary asylum. The Washington Post reports that Snowden is now allowed to live and work in Russia for up to one year while his application for permanent political asylum is pending. He has been stranded in Russia’s Sheremetyevo Airport for more than five weeks.
- A recent GAO audit found that three USDA agencies had made $36 million in improper payments to 6,336 dead people between 2008 and 2012. According to Government Executive, the USDA spends $20 billion annually on programs that support 1 million participants through income assistance, crop insurance, and disaster relief. While receiving this funding, the participants may pass away and nobody notifies the USDA to stop payments or other benefits. Of the three agencies GAO scrutinized, only one had procedures in place to prevent improper payments to the dead.
- In an effort to force the Obama administration to provide more information on how health care reform will affect congressional staffers, a Republican senator is blocking the White House’s pick to lead the Office of Personnel Management. Government Executive reports that the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee approved the nomination of Katherine Archuleta as OPM director. However, Ranking Member Tom Coburn (R-OK) stated the nomination would be placed on hold, which prevents the full Senate from considering it.
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