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Sequestration’s impact at the DoD: DorobekINSIDER 7 Stories

On GovLoop Insights’ DorobekINSIDER:

  • What would you do if you were in charge of RFP-EZ? RFP-EZ is one of the 5 Obama administration’s projects for the Presidential Innovation Fellows, and we’re going to do some real collaborating. We talked to two experts and Fellow Clay Johnson. Click here for the full recap.

Our goal here each day is simple — six words: Help government do its job better. Today we test out an idea of bringing together smart people to solve problems — and, we hope, spur further conversations about how you can do you job better.

The DorobekINSIDER today tries to do that, focusing specifically on Project RFP-EZ, one of the tasks for the Presidential Innovation Fellows as part of the Digital Government Initiative. Today, we tapped two thought leaders — Allan Burman, a former administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, and David Drabkin, former chief acquisition officer for the General Services Administration, to get their thoughts and ideas.

I’d love to get your thoughts… Personally, I’m pretty thrilled and I’d love to do it again. We will also continue to offer thought leaders ideas about Project RFP-EZ.

The SEVEN stories that impact your life

  1. Civilian personnel in the Defense Department will be “seriously affected” if a budget sequester takes effect next year. That’s the word from the Pentagon’s top budget official Robert Hale. Government Executive reports, there will be a “high probability” of both a hiring freeze and furloughs of current employees should Congress allow the sequestration process to go forward. Hale says benefits will also be affected.
  2. A bipartisan group of senators say they’re willing to consider a balanced solution to avoid sequestration. They don’t define the word “balanced,” although it usually means a combination of program cuts and tax hikes. Federal News Radio reports in using the word, Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) may be breaking with their party’s refusal to consider tax increases. The three sit on the Senate Armed Services Committee. Federal News Radio reports they say sequestration would be devastating to the Pentagon but also to the National Institutes of Health, education and other non-defense programs. Sens. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) joined them on this letter.
  3. The STOCK Act gets delayed. The Senate passed a bill before leaving town that further delays the online posting of senior executives’ personal finances. Government Executive says S. 3625, sponsored by Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., delays until Dec. 8 the posting requirement for thousands of high-ranking career employees subject to the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act.
  4. Foreign Policy Magazine says the top Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee said the Obama administration has not found any evidence that a former Guantánamo Bay inmate was involved in the Sept. 11 attack on the Benghazi consulate that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. Sufyan Ben Qumu, who was released from Guantánamo into Libyan custody in 2007, as a “person of interest” in the Benghazi investigation. But today in a conference call organized by the left-leaning National Security Network, Smith clarified that he had heard nothing directly tying Ben Qumu to the Benghazi attack.
  5. Transportation Security Administration officers will start voting on their new contract starting Oct. 1. The American Federation of Government Employees and TSA came to terms last month. Union members have until Nov. 2 to vote the contract up or down. GovExec reports, voting will take place on-site at large airports and by mail for other locations. Federal News Radio says the contract would change the way officers are evaluated, overhaul policies for leave and shift assignments and boost the yearly uniform allowance.
  6. House Republicans are angry with the Labor Department for telling contractors not to scare employees over sequestration-related layoffs. The House Committee on Education and the Workforce said Secretary Hilda Solis owes it an explanation for what it calls “misleading” and “incomplete” guidance. Federal News Radio says the law requires companies to give their workers two-months notice whenever they expect mass layoffs. But the department has said that would be premature in this case. It said sequestration was not a sure thing, and even under sequestration, some contracts would be fine, while others would take a bigger hit.
  7. And on GovLoop, have you seen our new Telework Calculator? The calculator will help you state your case to your supervisor, and show the potential cost savings by teleworking.

A few items from the DorobekINSIDER water-cooler fodder

  • More governments paying tweeters and bloggers to defend them online. NextGov reports, repressive regimes are combating online critics by paying pro-government bloggers to “tout the official point of view, discredit opposition activists, or disseminate false information” in online comment streams and on social media
  • Who are the 50 most-followed agencies on Twitter? Topping Federal Computer Week’s list were the White House, NASA and the CDC. You can see the full list here.
  • Breeding panda’s is expensive. The National Zoo estimates that it spends a quarter million dollars a year for the basic needs of Mei Xiang and her male counterpart, Tian Tian (photographed above). The zoo also doles out about a half million dollars to China as part of an agreement to keep the pandas, and another $200,000 to $400,000 on panda conservation efforts — a requirement to obtain a US import permit for the animal

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