Circuit

No draft now

There hasn't been a military draft since 1973, but Selective Service officials find themselves discounting rumors that one is about to start.

So it's a good thing the agency has a Web site — www.sss.gov — to spread the word that there is no draft and no plans for one. The agency's home page prominently displays a notice knocking down the rumors.

"Notwithstanding recent stories in the news media and on the Internet, Selective Service is not getting ready to conduct a draft for the U.S. armed forces — either with a special skills or regular draft," the notice states. "Rather, the agency remains prepared to manage a draft if and when the president and the Congress so direct."

Nevertheless, agency officials continue to refine plans to be prepared for a draft, as required by law, and to register men who are 18 through 25 yeras old. For example, officials at the Selective Service Data Management Center in North Chicago, Ill., are processing every registration they receive. Although young men turning 18 can now register online at the agency's Web site, many still send registration cards, and clerks must type in the information, said Bill Delaney, director of the center. He said the service receives about 2.4 million registrations a year, and the database — run on an IBM Corp. platform — is continuously updated.

But as for how quickly a draft could be instituted if necessary, Delaney said, "Call Washington."

Stamps 'r' us

On Sept. 30, U.S. Postal Service officials ended a temporary licensing arrangement with Stamps.com Inc., a business that lets people create their own first-class stamps. And for now, USPS officials aren't saying whether they want to continue the relationship.

People apparently liked putting pictures of their babies and pets on stamps. But company officials had to tighten restrictions on permissible photos after stamps of less-than-first-class taste were posted on Courtroom Television Network LLC's Smoking Gun Web site (www.the smokinggun.com).

People pay a premium for the personalized stamps — $16.99 for 20 first-class stamps, instead of $7.40.

Stamps.com officials said they had received orders for more than 1 million individual PhotoStamps since Aug. 10. But until USPS officials complete a 90-day evaluation of the experiment, no one is saying anything about the company's future.

Be prepared

It might be a good idea for the FBI to adopt the Boy Scouts' motto in light of officials' problems translating records for terrorism and espionage investigations.

Despite large increases in funding and staff since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, an audit by the Justice Department's inspector general found that more than one-third of the conversations involving al Qaeda operatives that the FBI has intercepted have not been translated. The report states that bureau officials lacks the translators needed to do the job.

Since the attacks, FBI officials have collected more than 123,000 hours of audio "in languages primarily related to counterterrorism activities," according to the audit. But the report states officials still have not reviewed those tapes as of April. In addition, more than 370,000 hours of audio associated with counterintelligence had not been reviewed.

This backlog existed even though the FBI's funding for language services had nearly quadrupled from $21.5 million in fiscal 2001 to about $70 million in fiscal 2004. The number of linguists at the bureau has risen from 883 to 1,214 during that period. n

Got a tip? Send it to circuit@fcw.com.

The Fed 100

Save the date for 28th annual Federal 100 Awards Gala.

Featured

  • computer network

    How Einstein changes the way government does business

    The Department of Commerce is revising its confidentiality agreement for statistical data survey respondents to reflect the fact that the Department of Homeland Security could see some of that data if it is captured by the Einstein system.

  • Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. Army photo by Monica King. Jan. 26, 2017.

    Mattis mulls consolidation in IT, cyber

    In a Feb. 17 memo, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told senior leadership to establish teams to look for duplication across the armed services in business operations, including in IT and cybersecurity.

  • Image from Shutterstock.com

    DHS vague on rules for election aid, say states

    State election officials had more questions than answers after a Department of Homeland Security presentation on the designation of election systems as critical U.S. infrastructure.

  • Org Chart Stock Art - Shutterstock

    How the hiring freeze targets millennials

    The government desperately needs younger talent to replace an aging workforce, and experts say that a freeze on hiring doesn't help.

  • Shutterstock image: healthcare digital interface.

    VA moves ahead with homegrown scheduling IT

    The Department of Veterans Affairs will test an internally developed scheduling module at primary care sites nationwide to see if it's ready to service the entire agency.

  • Shutterstock images (honglouwawa & 0beron): Bitcoin image overlay replaced with a dollar sign on a hardware circuit.

    MGT Act poised for a comeback

    After missing in the last Congress, drafters of a bill to encourage cloud adoption are looking for a new plan.

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group