Morning Roundup for July 8th, 2009 - Featured News and Public Events
From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, on a new national fire chief:
Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin J. Cochran has accepted a key federal position with the Obama Administration.
Cochran was chosen as U.S. Fire Administrator with the Federal Emergency Management Agency in the Department of Homeland Security, according to a White House press release.
"Each of these individuals brings with them valuable expertise in their respective fields, and I am grateful for their decision to serve in my administration," President Obama said in the statement, which includes nominations of nine others for various federal roles.
Cochran has 28 years of experience from firefighter to chief training officer to fire chief, according to the press release. Cochran has also served as the president of the Metropolitan Fire Chiefs Association and Vice Chairman of Volunteers of America. Cochran took over as Atlanta's fire chief in 2008. Prior to his post with Atlanta, he served as fire chief in Shreveport, Louisiana
beginning in 1999.
"It is remarkable to think that my childhood dream of being a firefighter has taken me from the front porch of a shotgun house in Shreveport, Louisiana, to becoming the head of the United States Fire Administration," Cochran said in a statement from the City of Atlanta's press office.
From the Associated Press, on the recent cybersecurity incident:
A widespread and unusually resilient computer attack that began July 4 knocked out the Web sites of several government agencies, including some that are responsible for fighting cyber crime, The Associated Press has learned.
The Treasury Department, Secret Service, Federal Trade Commission and Transportation Department Web sites were all down at varying points over the holiday weekend and into this week, according to officials inside and outside the government.
Some of the sites were still experiencing problems Tuesday evening. Cyber attacks on South Korea government and private sites also may be linked, officials there said.
U.S. officials refused to publicly discuss details of the cyber attack. But Amy Kudwa, spokeswoman for the Homeland Security Department, said the agency's U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team issued a notice to federal departments and other partner organizations about the problems and "advised them of steps to take to help mitigate against such attacks."
The U.S., she said, sees attacks on its networks every day, and measures have been put in place to minimize the impact on federal Web sites.
From WWL-TV, on new ICE efforts to curb the flow of undocumented workers into the U.S.:
In an effort to stop the flow of undocumented workers into the country, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency is about to try a new approach: not just targeting the workers, but also the people who employ them, in the
"That's a challenge. There are millions of employers in the United States," said John Morton, the newly-appointed assistant secretary of ICE, who spent Tuesday visiting New Orleans.
Among the agency's efforts: a renewed, aggressive auditing of I-9 forms. All employers are required to have one, as proof of an employee's residency or citizenship. Just how effective that move will be in the New Orleans area, though, remains to be seen.
Here, a majority of illegal workers are day laborers, not concentrated within one company, but rather working in smaller numbers for individual employers or contractors. Morton said the smaller concentration does make enforcement harder.
"We're very cognizant that we just can't focus on the very top, on the biggest employers - that we have to do this at all levels," he said.
10 AM EDT
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Craig Fugate and Inspector General Richard Skinner will testify before the House Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs about FEMA housing solutions
311 Cannon House Office Building
10 AM EDT
FEMA National Preparedness Directorate (NPD) Deputy Administrator Tim Manning will testify before the House Committee on Science and Technology, Subcommittee on Technology and 2318 Rayburn House Office Building
10 AM EDT
Federal Protective Service Director Gary Schenkel will testify before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee about the Government Accountability Office’s preliminary findings concerning the Federal Protective Service and security operations
342 Dirksen Senate Office Building
2 PM EDT
Acting Chief Financial Officer Peggy Sherry will testify before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Subcommittee on Government Management, Organization and Procurement, about annual oversight of the federal government’s consolidated financial statement
2247 Rayburn House Office Building