News in Brief

DOD tax problems, Microsoft training and Amazon’s cloudy cloud

tax form and keyboard

GAO: 83,000 Pentagon employees, contractors owe taxes

As of June 30, 2012, some 83,000 Defense Department employees and contractors who held – or were eligible to hold – security clearances had unpaid tax debt totaling more than $730 million, according to a new Government Accountability Office report.

Fewer than half -- 34,000 -- of those employees or contractors had a plan with the IRS to pay off their debt, GAO said.

Debtors are a potential security risk because they may engage in illegal behavior to recover their debt, the study said. But federal law does not prohibit someone with unpaid taxes from holding a security clearance.

As of October 2013, about 5.1 million civilian and military employees and contractors held -- or were eligible to hold -- a security clearance, GAO said, citing data from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

Microsoft expands IT training to Camp Pendleton and Fort Hood

Microsoft is expanding its IT training program for active-duty service members to Camp Pendleton, Calif., and Fort Hood, Texas, the tech giant announced July 28. Microsoft introduced the program in November for service members looking for jobs outside the military.

Professors from Saint Martin’s University in Washington state and Central Texas College teach the 16-week training program, dubbed the Microsoft Software and Systems Academy. Trainees get a shot at a job interview at Microsoft, the firm said.

Amazon Cloud’s not-so-silver lining

Amazon’s $5 billion cloud computing business has grown steadily over the past decade, abetted by a major move into the federal market. But, as Robert McMillan of Wired.com reports, the company’s focus on investing in long-term growth has taken a bite out of its bottom line, dinged its stock price and created a sense of short-term gloom for many investors.

Read the whole thing here.

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