Around Government

After anthrax, playing favorites and the year in review.

Tough Transition

Federal initiatives can help service members land on their feet.

Veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan face an unemployment rate of 12 percent, roughly 3 percentage points higher than overall unemployment.

The federal government has stepped in to help; President Obama in November 2009 signed an executive order aimed at getting federal agencies to collaborate on recruiting more veterans. Launched in January 2010 as part of that initiative, provides contact information for veteran employment program offices in more than 25 agencies.

Obama also is reaching out to the private sector to solve veteran unemployment; in August he proposed a tax credit of up to $9,600 for businesses that hire veterans, and challenged companies to hire 100,000 veterans by 2013.

What can veterans do to take matters into their own hands? Creating or updating their civilian resume is essential, says Evan Lesser, managing director of The resume should detail armed services experience and military skills should be described in language a layperson could understand. matches job seekers who hold federal security clearances with top hiring companies. Maintaining credentials can help veterans distinguish themselves from other applicants. "Despite a more difficult economic environment, companies are focused on employing veterans," Lesser says. "For those with an active security clearance, safeguarding that designation will hopefully ease the trepidation of finding a new civilian job."

Caitlin Fairchild

Value Added

It would be hard to argue that federal inspectors general aren't earning their keep. IGs reported to President Obama that their fiscal 2010 probes rescued nearly $7 billion. That figure represents successful criminal and civil cases, plus sums recovered from subjects under investigation. IGs also saved agencies about $23.7 billion through funding recommendations heeded by management. Considering their own $2.2 billion budget, the overseers yielded about a $28.4 billion return on investment.

Despite these accomplishments, the federal government has a ways to go in attacking waste and payment accuracy. Improper payments totaled $125 billion in 2010, an increase of $15 billion from 2009, according to the Office of Management and Budget.

Aliya Sternstein

After Anthrax

While the Brentwood mail facility in Washington has long since been decontaminated, employees there haven't forgotten the 2001 anthrax attacks. About 70 employees and officials gathered for a memorial service to honor the two postal workers, Joseph Curseen Jr. and Thomas Morris Jr., who died as a result of exposure to spores sent through the mail one decade ago.

USPS spends $101 million annually to screen first-class mail for harmful substances. Mail that is sent to federal addresses in Washington receives an extra layer of scrutiny-after being sorted, it goes to an irradiation facility in New Jersey, where it is heated to nearly 150 degrees Fahrenheit and scanned by high-energy electron beams to kill any contaminants.

"The anthrax crisis served as a defining moment for the Postal Service and due to the unwavering dedication and commitment of postal employees across the nation, the mail continued to move," Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said in a statement on the 10th anniversary of the crisis.

Caitlin Fairchild

Year in Review

Some of 2011's watershed moments for federal employees:


Two-year pay freeze for civilian workers begins. January

Interior Department undergoes its third major reorganization since the April 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.


The federal chief information officer releases a strategy for moving about one-fourth of the government's IT footprint to the cloud.


Government comes within an hour of shutting down.


Hank Krakowski, head of the Federal Aviation Administration Air Traffic Organization, resigns after incidents involving air traffic controllers sleeping on the job.


U.S. Special Forces kill al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.


President Obama signs a debt deal, triggering $1 trillion in discretionary spending caps over the next decade and requiring a super committee to come up with $1.5 trillion more in savings.


A 5.8-magnitude earthquake literally shakes up the Washington area, testing emergency response plans.


Worldwide BlackBerry outage frustrates many feds.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.