The news in brief

GSA to test e-authentication tools

The General Services Administration will set up a lab under the E-Authentication e-government initiative to test commercial products that do certificate path discovery and validation services.

In a request for information, GSA asked vendors to submit by April 15 products that meet federal functional requirements. After reviewing responses, GSA will invite vendors whose products meet the requirements to test them in the E-Authentication lab.

GPO seeks revenue-sharing ideas

The Government Printing Office is looking for ideas to publicize its products, take advantage of technology and trim costs for its sales program operations.

GPO wants suggestions from vendors regarding a new model for the publications sales operations on a revenue-sharing basis. In 2004, GPO's sales program had gross revenue of about $25 million.
Details are available at www.gpo.gov/salesprogramrfi.

Classifying of documents on the rise

The federal government classified a record 15.6 million documents in 2004, a 10 percent increase over the previous year, according to a new report. Meanwhile the number of pages declassified and made available to the public continued to drop.

The report by the non-profit Fund for Constitutional Government, based on information from the National Archives, highlights the sharp increase in secrecy that has taken place since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

"In 2004, the federal government set a new record for keeping secrets," said the report, available at OpentheGovernment.org.

DOD system overhauled

For the second time in less than a year, the Army is restructuring its Future Combat Systems program, this time on the heels of sharp criticism from legislators and an unflattering report by the Government Accountability Office.

The $107.9 billion program faces network, developmental and financial challenges that have slowed progress, according to Paul Francis, GAO director of acquisition and sourcing management.

"Nearly two years after program launch and about $4.6 billion invested to date, requirements are not firm and only one of over 50 technologies are mature?activities that should have been done before the start of system development and demonstration," Francis told a Senate subcommittee.

New ID requirements tighten U.S. border

Effective Jan. 1, 2008, citizens of the United States, Canada, Mexico and Bermuda must present a passport, "laser visa" Border Crossing Card or other new identity document when entering the United States under the new Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, introduced by the Bush administration.

Ultimately, all documents used for travel to the United States will include biometrics, the news release said.

GSA to hold public meeting on reorg

The General Services Administration said it will hold a public meeting April 21 to discuss its plans to combine the Federal Supply Service and Federal Technology Service to improve service and make it easier for vendors to understand and use its acquisition process.

Meeting details are on FedBizOpps at www2.eps.gov/spg/GSA/OGP/OAP/ NoticeofPublicMeeting01/Synopsis.html.

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