In its extensive strategy (.pdf), the task force recommends the federal government provide a forum for the coordination of large-scale, regional infrastructure projects, to map out their interdependencies. The government should also establish guidelines to ensure the projects are built to withstand disasters and future climate change, the strategy says.
The Obama administration's reform plan and contracting guidelines support agency adoption of a modular approach. However, modular contracting has been the preferred contracting method for major IT projects since 1996. In partnership with Chantilly, Va.-based research firm Market Connections, we asked federal IT managers about their agencies' adoption of modular approaches to major systems in light of the OMB reform plan.
The Helping Heroes Fly Act, which passed the House and Senate unanimously, directs the Transportation Security Administration to work with the Defense and Veterans Affairs departments to develop a process that will facilitate screening for "severely injured or disabled" servicemembers and veterans.
Nearly 80 percent of a 357 million page backlog of classified records has gone through the National Declassification Center's quality assurance review stage, the center announced Aug. 8 in its biannual report. During the quality assurance stage, the NDC works to ensure that still-sensitive information remains classified and that records appropriate for release are declassified.
President Obama assured disabled veterans Aug. 10 that the disability backlog was being reduced, albeit more slowly than planned. "Now, the last time I was with you, I pledged to cut the backlog, slash those wait times, deliver your benefits sooner," Obama said at a Disabled American Veterans' convention in Orlando, Fla.
In an Aug. 9 press conference, Obama said he will ask for legislative changes to Section 215 of the Patriot Act (codified at 50 USC § 1861), the legal authority the intelligence community and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court have cited as justification for the bulk storing of domestic and international telephone metadata records by the National Security Agency. Bulk telephone records collection "is an important tool in our effort to disrupt terrorist plots," Obama said.
President Obama nominated Michael O'Rielly to replace recently retired Republican Federal Communications Commissioner Robert McDowell, the White House said in an Aug. 1 press release. The term would last until June 30, 2014, the press release says.
Though President Obama has yet to nominate a replacement for Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, potential nominee Raymond Kelly, the New York City police commissioner, has drawn pointed criticism.
The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee said President Obama wants to be seen as scaling back the global war on terror but that his actions don't match his rhetoric.
Federal agencies will examine "new options" to address the safe storage of ammonium nitrate, the White House announced in an Aug. 1 executive order. The order calls on the secretaries of Homeland Security, Labor and Agriculture to develop within 90 days a list of potential "regulatory and legislative proposals" for the storage, handling and sale of ammonium nitrate.