Your guide for the year ahead

<@VM>LOOKING AHEAD<@VM>FACES TO WATCH<@VM>ONES TO WATCH REVISITED

KEY TO THE TOP 20

Hottest of the hot. Major opportunities are in the works for 2006.$$$$

If this were a pot of water on the stove, it would be at roiling boil.$$$

Worth watching. Smart companies will stay on top of these for future opportunities.$$

Don't let the low score fool you. These just might make your company in the years after 2006, so get ready today.$

Washington Technology kicks off its 20th anniversary year not with a look back, but with a look forward.

We've distilled the sea of policy issues, technology trends and emerging markets to the 20 that are ? or should be ? top of mind for systems integrators, IT services companies and resellers in the government market.

We make no claim that these are the only things that contractors are thinking about and planning for, but it is hard to argue with the importance of issues such as information sharing, network-centric warfare and health care.

We can count on at least one thing: Many of these issues are sure to be headline grabbers in 2006 and drive both contract opportunities and government policies.

For example, the size and number of large governmentwide contracts makes 2006 a year likely to set the parameters of the competitive landscape for several years to come.

Other items in this roundup may take a little longer to make headlines, but you still need to get ready for them. The most obvious example is base realignment and closures. No bases are expected to close in 2006, but now is the time to prepare.

We also hope that we've uncovered some hidden jewels here, such as opportunities evolving from the No Child Left Behind Act, which requires states to build information systems that can track, analyze and report on student achievement. While there is just a short description here, we have a fuller examination of the growing opportunity in our state and local section.

Throughout the issue you'll find stories stamped with the logo that signifies they're part of our concentrated look ahead. As we celebrate our 20th anniversary throughout 2006, we will look back at our history, but our focus will remain on your future.

INFORMATION SHARING

$$$$

Meeting the nation's need to connect the dots against terrorism is no child's play. The idea of linking disparate bits of intelligence to disrupt future terrorist plots is one of the more powerful IT concepts common since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11.

[IMGCAP(2)]The Homeland Security Department was named chief connector of dots, and it got off to a good start by rapidly assembling the Homeland Security Information Network. But many dots remain floating disconnected in space, with missed connections and delays in sharing information about breaches in cybersecurity, and law enforcement and private infrastructure vulnerabilities.

Part of the mission now has gone to the director of national intelligence. Even so, being able to collect daily tips from the field, cull meaning from the bits, and then push the analysis back out to the field where it can be most useful is still on the agenda for 2006.

Look for more state-operated intelligence "fusion centers" that are doing, at a grassroots level, what DHS is trying to do for the nation.

CYBERSECURITY

$$$ and 1/2

In Great Britain, IT industry executives reportedly are saying they neither need nor want a government cyberczar, because there are already enough cybersecurity organizations. But here in the United States, the utmost concern among IT industry executives is to avoid being the last to know about cyberattacks and the latest federal approaches to cybersecurity.

[IMGCAP(3)]Today, so many federal officials are working on so many fronts in cybersecurity, and there are so many discussions and initiatives on the topic, it can make your head spin.

Industry executives not only want to be in the loop, they want to help create the loop. That's the reason they are clamoring for a federal cyberchief at the Homeland Security Department who can be a sole go-to person on the matter. Cybersecurity remains a topic of great concern and a must-watch in 2006.

ENTERPRISE ARCHITECTURE

$$$ and 1/2

What is the Homeland Security Department if not an experiment in enterprise architecture on the grandest scale? The entire department was created from 22 agencies with the goal of reorganizing around a single, urgent mission: to safeguard the nation against terrorism. To do so, presumably, it needs to act like an enterprise.

Lacing together the agencies with ad hoc strings isn't going to do the job. And Secretary Michael Chertoff seems to recognize that, at least as it concerns border control. His new Secure Border Initiative aims to integrate multiple programs into a coherent enterprise.

But more can be done. For example, one expert suggested that immigration ought to be organized based on an identifiable person seeking entry, rather than having 30 separate application programs organized by program. It's an ambitious idea, but 2006 could be the year that enterprise IT catches fire at DHS.

HEALTH CARE IT

$$$ and 1/2

[IMGCAP(4)]IT applications can help states plagued with rising health care expenditures by lowering costs and increasing efficiencies through upgrades to Medicaid management information systems and employee coverage programs. Benefits processing, pharmacy benefits management, fraud detection, and identity and eligibility verification are all targeted for improvement.

Beyond 2006, enormous opportunities are on the horizon for IT companies helping states transfer medical records from paper to electronic formats.

State spending in health care IT is a booming market, with solid growth potential over the next five years. Some estimates put spending by 2010 at $12.5 billion annually.

HSPD-12

$$$ and 1/2

By Oct. 27, all federal agencies must be ready to issue new identity cards that meet Homeland Security Presidential Directive-12. Signed by President Bush in August 2004, the initiative aims to tighten security requirements, reduce identity fraud and protect personal privacy.

[IMGCAP(5)]HSPD-12-compliant cards will be rich in biometrics and other security features. For contractors, the cards are an opportunity to outfit government agencies with systems for identity registration, identity management, card management, card printing and public-key infrastructure certificates.

By May, the General Services Administration wants a blanket purchasing agreement in place that agencies can use to buy approved products and services that meet HSPD-12 requirements. The agreement will replace the Access Certificates for Electronic Services contract.

The biometric specification for HSPD-12 requires agencies to store two index fingerprints on smart cards. GSA wants selected vendors to be able to have one or more compliant systems in place by Aug. 27.

INTEROPERABLE COMMUNICATIONS

$$$ and 1/2

Oh, such a tangled web is interoperability in emergency communications. Strengthening voice and data communications links between response agencies has been on to-do lists for decades, but it got a tremendous push from Congress after Sept. 11.

[IMGCAP(6)]Many communities have made progress in this area with federal funding for many of those projects, but there is little sense of consensus as to where the nation needs to go from here. Some basic questions concerning technology, policies and protocols ? who needs to talk with whom ? remain unanswered.

Not too long ago, if you asked a city official about radio interoperability, you might have gotten the sense that it was already happening, albeit as ad hoc patchworks of devices and connections. Everyone saw what happened after Hurricane Katrina when communications networks failed so miserably. The memory of that failure may prod communications interoperability to the top of congressional and federal, state and local government agendas in 2006.

REAL ID

$$$ and 1/2

The days of standing in line at the Department of Motor Vehicles and getting a new driver's license the same day might be over, thanks to the Real ID Act, a federal mandate that calls for states to improve driver's license security features and processes.

[IMGCAP(7)]The Homeland Security Department in 2006 is expected to set specifications and standards for biometric features that will be required, and determine which documents will need verification. But the states are not predicted to move much on rebuilding their systems over the next year. Instead, states likely will inventory their procedures and products, and prepare for major system overhauls in 2007.

GOVERNMENTWIDE CONTRACTS

$$$ and 1/2

GWACs, governmentwide acquisition contracts, will be bigger than ever in 2006 with several multibillion-dollar deals in the works. Up for grabs are the $50 billion Alliant IT contract, which replaces several old contracts; the $15 billion Alliant Small Business contract; the $20 billion Networx telecom contract; and a $5 billion Veterans Technology Service contract for small businesses owned by disabled veterans.

GWACs, about two-thirds of which are managed by the General Services Administration, have faced increased scrutiny and growing competition from other procurement vehicles. To ensure the success of GWACs awarded in 2006, agency contract managers must steer clear of too many sole-source awards, vague contract language that lets contractors pile on bills, and overlaps with other multiple-award contracts.

The Office of Federal Procurement Policy plans to review GWACs annually, forcing agencies to defend their contract renewals. But with their efficient ordering procedures, GWACs will continue to make it easier for federal customers to contact vendors for quick buys. And if agency buyers find a particular vendor is not to their liking, GWACs offer a variety of other contractors to choose from.

COMMAND CENTERS

$$$

Time and time again, most recently in a Homeland Security Department inspector general's report about the Topoff 3 disaster drill, the National Response Plan and National Incident Management System leaves many people scratching their heads in confusion.

IT components could help put the NRP and NIMS into action, and IT could get a boost as the national NIMS implementation deadline approaches in October. To help clear the confusion, the inspector general in December 2005 asked the agency to develop a model IT system to be used after a disaster to create a "common operational picture" for multiple response agencies.

Such an IT system probably would be in high demand at state and local command centers, and for mobile command vehicles and emergency operations centers. Such ops centers have been springing up across the country since Sept. 11, and continue to grow in number.

IPv6

$$$

At the December IP Version 6 summit, the chicken-or-the-egg debate was alive and well.

[IMGCAP(8)]Defense Department officials reiterated their pleas to the IT community to develop IPv6-compliant applications, while industry asked federal officials for contracts to move ahead with that work.

Whether the applications or contracts come first, IPv6 is coming. A Defense Department mandate requires the agency by 2008 to upgrade to IPv6. Planning that migration is sure to be a ripe business opportunity in 2006, experts said.

Both civilian and defense agencies are working out how the migration is going to happen. And they need help and advice from systems integrators in going through that process. They'll need transition architecture to move to IPv6, while they continue to support IPv4 communications until the move is complete.

These efforts offer a substantial opportunity for systems integrators, which should build their core competency in IPv6 and assist customers to move to it, experts said.

NETWORK-CENTRIC WARFARE

$$$

It's no secret that federal budget priorities will focus on two areas in particular in 2006: homeland security and defense. Much of that will be Defense Department spending driven by the transformation effort. For IT dollars, that means a continued push toward network-centric warfare.

[IMGCAP(9)]On the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, network-centric warfare is a reality. Unmanned aerial vehicles are flying autonomous reconnaissance missions that give valuable data to commanders. Marines are setting up ground-based satellite stations to create high-bandwidth, battlefield communications links on the fly.

Such widespread use of these and countless other technologies tells system integrators and IT contractors that military leaders are quickly facing knowledge management and bandwidth issues.

And the network-centric focus ? and spending ? should be around for decades. Spending on unmanned aerial vehicles, for example, is expected to top $15 billion from fiscal 2005 to fiscal 2011, according to one industry study.

Integrators that understand network-centric solutions will find a market beyond the Pentagon in the domestic arena, analysts said.

SURVEILLANCE IT

$$$

The cameras are coming! The cameras are coming!

[IMGCAP(10)]If you haven't yet noticed the proliferation of video security cameras, you soon will because, like runaway spores, they are multiplying and spreading across the landscape and now can be found clinging to ceilings, walls and traffic poles at railroad stations, seaports, airports, beachfronts, major streets and public gathering places.

Soon, many more cameras will be installed along the thousands of miles of borders with Mexico and Canada in the Homeland Security Department's Secure Border Initiative. Along with the cameras are a host of sensors, stationary and moveable, with capabilities that were unthinkable just a few years ago.

In public health offices, new IT programs crunch incoming data to provide a type of virtual surveillance indicating clusters of people with symptoms such as unusually high fevers or severe vomiting.

All of these government-sponsored electronic eyes, ears and brains mean that integration of surveillance IT remains high on systems integrators' must-know lists for 2006.

TRAINING AND SIMULATION

$$$

Network-centric warfare is more than a way to use IT to put a bomb on a target. The technology permeates almost every area of the military, including training and simulators.

The trend is toward networked training that brings together diverse forces in a single exercise. Fighter pilots in simulators in Florida, for example, can participate in a live war game in the Arizona desert.

Like network-centric warfare, networked training and simulation has significant IT requirements. Universal Systems and Technology Inc. in 2005 won a $14.6 million contract to provide the Marine Corps with a sophisticated laser-tag system. A key part of Unitech's system is its ability to produce after-action reports that show commanders the tactics worked or failed.

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill also have taken notice of the technology by establishing the Congressional Modeling & Simulation Caucus, a positive sign for funding. The technology also is expected to have an impact in industries such as construction and infrastructure, according to the caucus.

MUNICIPAL WIRELESS

$$ and 1/2

More cities are jumping on the bandwagon and offering wireless Internet services. In 2005, Anaheim, Calif., Lexington, Ky., Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Portland, Ore., San Francisco and Tucson, Ariz., were among the big American cities to announce plans to build wireless networks to improve public services and boost economic growth.

But the most pressing need for such services is in more rural areas, where wired, high-speed Internet access is unavailable largely because of the high cost of connecting remote areas.

With governments moving more services to the Web, rural areas will have an even greater need for Internet access, and wireless providers could fill the void by working out creative solutions with rural jurisdictions.

NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND ACT

$$ and 1/2

Opportunity is knocking in the education market with states working to comply with reporting and data collection standards set by the No Child Left Behind Act.

[IMGCAP(11)]Starting in late 2006, IT companies will see increasing business to install integrated data warehousing, data management and other IT systems for states, counties, cities and school districts. Opportunities will range from $40,000 to the tens of millions of dollars, depending on the scope and complexity of the systems under construction.

SMALL BUSINESS

$$ and 1/2

Small businesses will have a major opportunity in the federal marketplace in 2006 in the form of FirstSource, a five-year, $3 billion Homeland Security Department contract.

Small businesses also will have a chance to bid on Eagle, the Enterprise Acquisition Gateway for Leading Edge Solutions contract, a seven-year, $45 billion DHS contract to buy IT support services. FirstSource is a small-business-only opportunity, while Eagle is open to large businesses as well.

Almost 12,000 companies will be reclassified as small after the Small Business Administration's December 2005 announcement that it will re-adjust for inflation its monetary-based size standards.

BASE REALIGNMENT AND CLOSURE

$$ and 1/2

The Defense Department expects by February to set its general plans for implementing the fifth round of base realignments and closures. The action is part of the department's overall transformation and restructuring plans to make it a leaner and more efficient fighting machine.

Despite previous military installation closures and reorganizations in 1988, 1991, 1993 and 1995, this year's BRAC recommendations, passed in 2005, are the most extensive round yet with more than 800 installations to be affected.

Selected installations must start shutting down and expanding by Sept. 15, 2007 ? two years from the date President Bush sent Congress the BRAC commission's final report. The process must be completed by Sept. 15, 2011.

For contractors, the result will be a shifting customer base that will have some companies moving with their clients and others welcoming potential new customers to their locations.

CONTINUITY OF OPERATIONS

$$

Hurricanes Katrina and Rita reinforced the lessons of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks: Government agencies need systems and processes in place if they expect to keep operating in the aftermath of a catastrophe.

Agencies are starting to take a more proactive and holistic approach to continuity of operations plans. As Katrina and Rita demonstrated, information and communication systems can be fragile in the environment of a widespread disaster.

Many agencies will look for help in preparing and responding to catastrophes. Technology will play a role, but training, risk analysis and implementation services also will be needed. Factors such as how networks are integrated and connected and how good an agency's enterprise architecture is also will play important parts.

OPEN SOURCE

$$

The debate will continue to rage over the decision by state officials to start storing records in the OpenDocument data format, which would effectively spark new competition to Microsoft's productivity tools. But look also for other open-source applications, such as back-office systems, to continue to make inroads in 2006, experts said.

Just before the new year began, the head of Massachusetts' IT division resigned, saying he had become a lightning rod in the OpenDocument debate. The mandate is set to take effect in 2007, but whether or not that will happen is unclear.

At the federal government level, support for applications built on open-source platforms keeps growing. The Energy Department chose to use Red Hat Enterprise Linux for some systems in the national laboratories and technology centers.

Although it is difficult to measure open-source use in the federal government, it seems to be on the rise, particularly in agencies that have a scientific and technical mission, such as the Commerce and Energy departments and NASA, experts said.

2006 ELECTIONS

$ and 1/2

The whole House is up for grabs in 2006 ? all 435 seats in the House of Representatives, that is, as well as 33 of 100 Senate seats. With the president's overall public approval rate recently wavering between 39 percent in early November and 47 percent in mid-December, the Republicans risk losing control of the majority as a result of the elections Nov. 7.

[IMGCAP(12)]The Democrats need to win 15 seats to retake control of the House. The House has 232 Republicans, who have been in the majority since 1995, 202 Democrats and one Independent (Rep. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who is allied with the Democrats).

The Senate comprises 55 Republicans, who have been in the majority since 2003, 44 Democrats and one Independent (Sen. Jim Jeffords of Vermont, who usually votes with Democrats but is not running for re-election this fall). Senate Democrats need to win seven seats to retake control. Many state and local elections, including gubernatorial elections in 36 states, also will be held Nov. 7.

JANUARY

General Services Administration to hold an industry day for the Alliant and Alliant Small Business governmentwide acquisition contracts for IT services. Date to be announced.
Defense Department to issue its wireless policy.

President Bush to deliver State of the Union address.

Proposals due Jan. 23 for the Homeland Security Department's First Source small-business contract.

Government Printing Office to hold a second industry day late January or early February for its Future Digital Content management system and data storage modernization project. (FDsys).

FEBRUARY

President Bush to submit to Congress fiscal 2007 budget.

Agency IP Version 6 transition plans are due to the Office of Management and Budget.

Army to award nine-year, $5 billion Desktop and Mobile Computing 2 contract Feb. 15 to standardize PC buys.

State Department to begin distributing passports with radio frequency identification device chips.

DHS to make First Source awards Feb. 24.

Veterans Affairs Department may release final solicitation for the five-year, $4.2 billion Procurement of Computer Hardware and Software (Peaches 3) contract.

GSA to release request for proposals for Washington Interagency Telecommunications Systems 3 contract. WITS 3 is for telecom services and equipment for federal agencies in the National Capital Region.

House Government Affairs Committee in February or March may release Federal Information Management Security Act report card.

MARCH

OMB to submit to Congress March 1 agency Federal Information Systems Management Act reports.

DHS to award March 1 Enterprise Acquisition Gateway for Leading Edge Solutions (Eagle) contracts to multiple contractors.

Army to name as many as eight contractors March 17 as winners of the 10-year, $20 billion Information Technology Enterprise Solutions 2-Services contract.

Deadline is March 31 for agencies to comply with OMB's earned-value management policies, validate baseline goals for cost, schedule and performance of IT projects before they can use fiscal 2006 funds.

GPO to release RFP for its FDsys contract.

In March or April, the Army to award up to eight vendors the $4 billion Infrastructure Modernization program contract to update fiber-optic cable and wireless communications lines at major Army bases and installations.

APRIL

GPO to award FDsys master integrator contract.

MAY

Defense Information Systems Agency to award May 1 the 10-year, $13 billion Encore II IT Solutions contract, a task order contract for network-centric services.

GSA to have in place a blanket purchase agreement to let agencies buy approved products and services to meet HSPD-12 requirements for interoperable, personal-identity verification cards.

GSA to award Satellite Services II contracts. SATCOM II will provide fixed, mobile and broadcast satellite services to federal agencies.

JUNE

OMB to release to Congress its 2005 report on competitive sourcing.

June 30 is the deadline for agencies to provide management assessments that conform to guidelines in OMB Circular A-123, which details agencies' financial management compliance requirements.

JULY

GSA to award Networx Universal contract for telecom and networking services and technical solutions. The Networx program will be the primary replacement for expiring FTS2001 and FTS2001 Crossover contracts and federal wireless contracts.

AUGUST

VA to award Peaches 3 contract.

SEPTEMBER

As part of GSA reorganization, 90 percent of the new Federal Acquisition Service workforce to be in place.

Fiscal 2006 ends Sept. 30.

OCTOBER

Fiscal 2007 begins Oct. 1.

Agencies must implement effective internal financial controls that comply with OMB Circular A-123.

Oct. 27 is the deadline for agencies to comply with FIPS-201, PIV II and HSPD-12 covering governmentwide ID cards. Agencies must issue secure, interoperable personal identity cards to new employees and contractors as well as to employees and contractors when their cards expire.

NOVEMBER

Election day is Nov. 7. All House seats and 33 Senate seats are up for election.

DECEMBER

OMB to submit to Congress Dec. 15 its annual progress report on implementing the E-Government Act of 2002.

Labor Department to award financial management services contract Dec. 31 to help it become center of excellence in financial management lines of business.

Scott Charbo

Michael Chertoff

Rodney Hunt

John Johnson



TOM BURLIN

President, Affiliated Computer Services Inc., Government Solutions Group

The former IBM Corp. executive, who oversaw a more than $1.8 billion government business portfolio at Big Blue, moved to ACS in June 2005 to spark sales in the company's new state and local government business group.

The new segment combines ACS' State and Local Solutions Group with its State Healthcare Solutions Group.

With state and local governments returning to fiscal prosperity, 2006 could be a big year for Burlin and ACS, which has government clients in all 50 states and more than 1,500 local governments.

SCOTT CHARBO

Homeland Security Department's chief information officer

[IMGCAP(2)]During his three-year tenure as CIO of the Agriculture Department, Scott Charbo recaptured $162 million by consolidating IT budgets, but his latest task, since June 2005, as CIO of Homeland Security is even more complex.

Charbo will be part of a huge consolidation ? the department's multiyear, $45 billion Enterprise Acquisition Gateway for Leading Edge (Eagle) IT vehicle debuts in 2006 ? and he's also in charge of creating an enterprise architecture and integrating IT infrastructures for the sprawling, 22-agency department. Even a common e-mail system for so many separate entities is a big undertaking.

In early 2006, DHS already has come under fire from its inspector general, who concluded that Charbo's office lacks sufficient authority to carry out the needed IT integrations. DHS officials said that was not the case. Either way, Charbo is in a crucial role in a highly visible department.

MICHAEL CHERTOFF

Secretary of Homeland Security

[IMGCAP(3)]After being confirmed in early 2005 as Homeland Security Secretary, former prosecutor Michael Chertoff wasted no time in initiating what he termed a "second-stage review," nicknamed 2SR, of the entire department. He'll be spending most of 2006 implementing the results of that review: strengthening border security, creating a preparedness division and engaging in risk analysis to distribute grants, among other goals.

While the devastating Hurricane Katrina in fall 2005 spotlighted agency weaknesses, the blame fell mostly on bureaucrats at the department, and Chertoff escaped heavy criticism. Still, Katrina was a stark reminder of the urgency and breadth of his responsibilities, and is likely to spur Chertoff to move quickly this year on his top priorities, including the Secure Border Initiative.

REP. TOM DAVIS (R-Va.)

The Virginia congressman is chairman of the House Government Reform Committee and, as such, is often at the heart of the action on issues near and dear to the contracting world.

[IMGCAP(4)]As a former general counsel and executive at PRC Inc., Davis has a strong connection to the government IT contracting scene. On his committee's agenda for 2006 are the General Services Administration's restructuring plan, the huge Networx telecommunications procurement and contracting issues related to U.S. military operations around the globe.

Davis also plans to keep working on issues such as information security, IPv6, e-government and information sharing.

RODNEY HUNT

President and CEO, RS Information Systems Inc.

Three years removed from being in the 8(a) program where it could pursue small-business set-aside contracts, RSIS has continued to grow and expects about $370 million in 2005 revenue. That's a size that brings plenty of options.

Obviously, in this hot merger and acquisition market, RSIS is an attractive acquisition target. The number of midsize companies in the $200 million to $500 million is shrinking. RSIS also is at a size at which it could make a case for being a publicly traded company and take its chances on Wall Street. Or Hunt could continue to run the company as a private concern and stay independent.

JOHN JOHNSON

GSA assistant commissioner, service development and
delivery


[IMGCAP(5)]Picked as a person to watch in 2005, Johnson is back this year, thanks in large part to two huge procurements under his purview: the Networx and Alliant IT and telecom services contracts. Nearly everyone in the government market wants a piece of those contracts, worth a collective $85 billion. It seems all eyes are on Johnson.

Questions have been raised about GSA's ability to manage simultaneously two such large programs, which include four contracts with multiple winners of each. But Johnson has been the steady, reassuring voice, saying, "Yes, we can."

JOSEPH KAMPF

President and CEO, Anteon International Corp.

Kampf led the management team that created Anteon in 1996 when it acquired Ogden Technical Services with the backing of Caxton-Iseman Capital. Over the next nine years, the company made more acquisitions and built a growth engine that topped $1 billion in annual revenue.

Now, Kampf has orchestrated a $2.2 billion sale to General Dynamics Corp. that brought Anteon's shareholders a 36 percent premium on their stock. The deal is expected to close in about six months.

Kampf probably will get a plethora of offers to serve on the boards of other government IT companies eager for his advice and insights on building a successful company. But with all the deal-making in the government market, he easily could start all over again ? finding a backer won't be a problem.

PAUL MCNULTY

U.S. attorney for the eastern district of Virginia

After prosecuting the cases against former Air Force procurement official Darleen Druyun and Boeing Co.'s ex-CFO Michael Sears, McNulty vowed to fight fraud in government contracting. He advocates using criminal investigators in government contracting offices ? much to the contracting community's chagrin.

But there has been little activity from his Procurement Fraud Working Group since he formed it last year, and now McNulty is acting deputy attorney general. The Senate will need to confirm him before he can take the position permanently.

We'll all be watching in 2006 to see whether someone else steps up to lead the working group, or if it will take another scandal to restart McNulty's efforts.

REP. NYDIA VELAZQUEZ (D-N.Y.)

As the ranking member of the House Small Business Committee, Velázquez is a strong contrarian voice, countering the often rosy small-business picture painted by the Small Business Administration.

She issues her own scorecard on how agencies are meeting their small-business contracting goals. She's paid particular attention to small-business opportunities in rebuilding the Gulf Coast region after last fall's hurricanes. She also has called for SBA Administrator Hector Barreto to resign.

As the government works on small-business issues such as size standards and contract bundling, expect Velázquez to be at the center of the debate.

Larry Olson

David Savavian



[IMGCAP(2)]LARRY OLSON

Chief technology officer of Texas

The jury is still out on how far the former Pennsylvania CIO and Aligne Inc. executive has come in his efforts to transform Texas' IT.

After taking over in 2004, Olson had to wait for the state's two-year budgeting cycle to roll back around before getting funding for any of his projects.

The next year should demonstrate whether Olson's plans will get off the ground or get stuck on the tarmac.

DAVID SAFAVIAN

Former chief of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy

When we tapped Safavian as a person to watch in 2005, we thought he'd have his hands full as administrator of OFPP.

[IMGCAP(3)]He'd be working on contentious issues such as competitive sourcing and disadvantaged businesses.

Instead, he resigned in September and was arrested on charges of obstructing a federal investigation and making false statements under oath.

The allegations stemmed from a contact he had with lobbyist Jack Abramhoff when Safavian was GSA chief of staff. Abramhoff has pled guilty to several charges and is cooperating with investigators. Safavian's trial is pending.

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