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Agency Working on Technology to Better Trace Atomic Bomb Origins

Written by GEICO on . Posted in GEICO's Good Stuff

GEICO’s Good Stuff is a column series highlighting great stuff happening in the federal community.

The U.S. Air Force is working to develop a new tool that would identify the origin of a detonated nuclear bomb.

The project is a collaboration between the Air Force and a national research laboratory and would use pods to attach to aircraft to collect radioisotopes left behind by a nuclear bomb after detonation.

“Nuclear debris sampling and analysis enables verification that a nuclear explosive event occurred and aids in the national technical nuclear forensics mission requirements,” said Susan Romano, spokeswoman for the Air Force Technical Applications Center, according to Global Security Newswire. “Modularity can enable installation on a range of aircraft potentially eliminating the need for payload-specific aircraft modifications.”

Research and development on the “Harvester” technology began around 2002 with initial flight-testing occurring in September at Grand Forks Air Force Base in North Dakota, where the pods successfully gathered and analyzed radioisotopes found in the atmosphere after being placed on a Reaper drone owned by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

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Contest Corner

Win A Free Full Conference Pass to GovSec 2014

Want to win a FREE ticket to the nation's premiere government security, law enforcement and homeland security expo and conference?

GovSec 2014 is the only event that brings together everything you need to be ready when it counts. This year's conference runs from May 13-15 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington DC.

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Takedowns

Justice Department Announces First Ever Successful Extradition on Antitrust Charge

Last week the Justice Department announced the first ever successfully litigated extradition on an antitrust charge.

Romano Pisciotti, an Italian national, was extradited from Germany on a charge of participating in a conspiracy to suppress and eliminate competition by rigging bids, fixing prices and allocating market shares for sales of marine hose sold in the United States and elsewhere, according to the Justice Department press release.

Pisciotti arrived last week in the Southern District of Florida, in Miami, and appeared before the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida in Ft. Lauderdale.

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GEICO's Good Stuff

OPM Retirement Backlog Shrank in March

GEICO’s Good Stuff is a column series highlighting great stuff happening in the federal community.

The number of backlogged retirement claims at the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) fell in March, as the agency was able to process more claims than it took in.

According to new figures from OPM, the backlog of unprocessed claims stood at 18,573 at the end of March, down from 23,554 at the end of February.

The agency expects the overall claims backlog to trend downward over the next few months, but still has thousands of unprocessed claims pending after sequestration and cuts to overtime slowed the process last year.

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Case Law Update

Federal Employee Kills Spouse and Self Leading to Inheritance Dispute at MSPB

A federal employee covered under the Federal Employees’ Retirement System (“FERS”) designated his wife as his only beneficiary for any contributions to his retirement account that were payable at his death. The employee and his wife did not have children together, but both had adult children from previous relationships. On October 15, 2011, the employee killed his wife and then, apparently, took his own life as well. The employee’s wife’s son, on behalf of her estate, applied for a lump-sum credit based on the employee’ service, but the Office of Personnel Management (“OPM”) denied the application, finding that the employee’s wife predeceased the employee, meaning that because she died before the employee, she could not come into possession (as a beneficiary) of any contributions to his retirement account payable at death. OPM found that the employee’s children, rather than the employee’s wife’s children, were the beneficiaries of the lump-sum benefit. The wife’s estate appealed to the MSPB, and an MSPB administrative judge applied Virginia’s Slayer Statute to find that the employee, because he was the “slayer,” legally predeceased his wife, and therefore the wife’s estate was entitled to the lump-sum benefit. OPM petitioned the full Board for review, and on April 1, 2014, the Board reversed the initial decision and affirmed OPM’s final decision denying the application.

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