Datastream: The news in brief

Chiefs named for Pentagon, Midwest cities, new company

The Defense Department's top procurement policy slot and IT chief jobs in Chicago and St. Paul, Minn., have been filled, but former federal heavyweights might try for a slot on a new telecom's board of directors.

The Defense Department named Shay Assad, a Marine Corps assistant deputy commandant, as director of defense procurement and acquisition policy. Assad replaces Deidre Lee, who left the post in August.

Lee is acting deputy director of operations for the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Mayor Chris Coleman named Andrea Casselton to lead St. Paul's Technology Office. Casselton will oversee IT, citizen service, marketing and the Cable Communications Office.

Hardik Bhatt is Chicago's director of the Business and Information Services Department, Mayor Richard Daley announced last month. Bhatt was manager of software technology for the Chicago Police Department.

Named to the board of directors of a new federal research and development subsidiary, resulting from Alcatel's planned acquisition of Lucent Technologies Inc., will be three former top U.S. national security officials: Defense Secretary William Perry as chairman, CIA Director R. James Woolsey and National Security Agency Director Kenneth Minihan.

Agencies' A-76 wins down

Agency success in winning public-private competitions for inherently commercial government positions under Office of Management and Budget Circular A-76 dropped to 60 percent in 2005 from 90 percent in 2004.

Private sector victories in some of the large competitions last year, including a 2,500-employee competition at the Federal Aviation Administration, likely contributed to the dip in the federal employee winning percentage, an OMB official said.

Alliant comments are online

The General Services Administration has posted responses to questions it received from industry about its revised strategy for the 10-year, $65 billion Alliant program.

All federal agencies will be able to buy a range of IT services under the $50 billion Alliant full and open governmentwide acquisition vehicle and the $15 billion Alliant small-business set-aside contract.
The six-page document with the responses to vendor questions is available on the FedBizOpps Web site.

Chertoff: IT will speed shipping

Private shippers that want to speed security processing in U.S. ports should invest in IT to monitor their container shipments, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said in a recent speech to the American Chamber of Commerce in Singapore.

The department is looking to the private sector to develop better databases and better control over container constituents, and to work to assimilate that information and present interoperable data to DHS, he said.

Pearson wins Census work

Pearson Government Solutions Inc. will help Lockheed Martin Corp. count heads for the U.S. Census Bureau.

Under a $100 million subcontract, Pearson will help develop and deploy the information processing system for the 2010 Census, the most technically advanced census in U.S. history.

The Arlington, Va., company is part of a team led by Lockheed Martin, which will build the Decennial Response Integration System. Pearson Government Solutions will oversee the system's data capture management for paper forms and will perform all citizen contact management operations for Lockheed Martin.

The company also will provide call center personnel and facilities and manage the data center's operations that supply the receipt and processing of returned census forms.

The name is now NECC

The Defense Department's Joint Command and Control program has been renamed the Net-Enabled Command Capability and has moved from Milestone A to the technology development phase.

The name change is to prevent confusion between joint command and control, a well-known concept promoted across the Defense Department, as well as the former name of the Defense Information Systems Agency's acquisition program.

IT spending surge starts

The drive to centralize IT resources, consolidate operations and outsource nonessential government functions is expected to feed substantial growth in the state and local market over the next five years, said market research firm Input Inc.

State and local IT spending will grow by an average of more than 7 percent annually, from about $50 billion in 2006 to $72 billion by fiscal 2011. Growth will slow after fiscal 2008, a result of depletion of experienced government workers and aging technologies.

Immigration law, new programs

A comprehensive immigration bill approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee would create several major IT programs to register and verify employment status for foreigners seeking to be residents and workers in the United States.

Modeled after bipartisan legislation sponsored by Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), the bill creates a new foreign guest-worker program for up to 400,000 people a year, who can stay for up to six years.

Ocean observing awards made

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has awarded contracts for conceptual design of a system to improve weather and climate change understanding and prediction.

Lockheed Martin Corp. and Raytheon Co. won work for the Integrated Ocean Observing System, a proposed multiyear program to build an integrated environment to collect, distribute and apply coastal and ocean information.

Cyberattack response coming

The IT Sector Coordinating Council, which is drafting a sector-specific plan for protecting the nation's computer networks against a terrorist attack or other disaster, may look at setting up a national IT disaster response apparatus.

But creating a framework for private sector IT companies and government to work together raises questions, such as which technology is appropriate, who owns it, who makes the investment and who pays for it, the group's chairman said.

Justice to recompete contract

The Justice Department likely will issue a request for proposals late this month for a $950 million recompetition of its support services contract for litigation case management systems, according to market research firm Input Inc. and procurement documents.

The agency is relying on the Mega 2 contracts to support its automated litigation support systems, but now seeks to shift to the Mega 3 series of multiple-award contracts for the services, according to Input's analysis of Justice Department procurement documents.

GSA to hold Networx summit

Contracts won't be awarded for a year, but the General Services Administration is planning a September conference to explore how agencies will transition to its $20 billion Networx telecommunications vehicles, a key agency official said.

The summit will initiate dialog between agencies and industry on how to transition from the Federal Telecommunications Systems 2001 to the 10-year Networx contracts, the official said.

HHS warned to fill security gaps

The Health and Human Services Department displays significant weaknesses in security controls for its computer systems, according to a Government Accountability Office report.

IT systems at HHS have numerous access control vulnerabilities, largely because the department and its operating divisions have not yet implemented a departmentwide information security program, the GAO found.

HHS is responsible for Medicare, Medicaid, public health and hospital oversight, health research and medical planning, and operations for homeland security and disaster response.

Labor weighs system change

The Labor Department is doing market research before it issues a solicitation for a contractor to manage and operate its Employment Standards Administration's mission-critical support system.

The agency said in a notice that it may issue a request for proposals by April 12. It will be distributed to vendors registered on the government's Central Contractor Registration database.

Lines of business RFIs coming

The General Services Administration plans this month to release requests for information and hold industry days for three news lines of business: IT infrastructure, geospatial and budget formulation. The industry days are April 18 and 19 in the Washington metropolitan area.

Eagle awards held until June

The Homeland Security Department has postponed for three months contract awards for the Enterprise Acquisition Gateway for Leading Edge solutions IT procurement vehicle.

The $45 billion contracting vehicle known as Eagle is DHS' acquisition package for consolidating its IT services. Proposals were due in November 2005, and awards were expected in March.

In-Q-Tel invests in Initiate

CIA-funded In-Q-Tel has made a strategic investment in Initiate Systems Inc., a company that develops secure information-sharing technology. The amount of the investment was not disclosed.

Initiate Systems makes customer data integration and enterprise master person index software. An In-Q-Tel statement called the company's software "accurate, high-performance, scalable and non-intrusive."

Northrop Grumman eyes deals

Public health and homeland security are converging in the government IT market, and Northrop Grumman's IT Civilian Agencies Group is pursuing opportunities in both areas, said Sid Fuchs, the group's new president.

"It's not just about first responders, it's also about medical workers," Fuchs said at a news briefing. "I'm from New Orleans, and when the water started coming in, one of the first things people were concerned about was disease."

BearingPoint, Archon pair

BearingPoint Inc. and Archon Technologies Inc. will partner to pursue IT work in vehicle registration, driver's licensing and revenue management services in state, local and provincial motor vehicle departments in the United States and Canada.

BearingPoint will provide systems integration and consulting services, and Archon will offer its motor vehicle and identity management solutions.

USPS wants tax reporting system

The U.S. Postal Service is seeking industry input for a commercially available payroll tax payment and reporting software system.

In a recent notice, USPS said the software must be able to import payment data from its system and provide check payment information to the service's Accounts Payable division through an automated payment calendar.

Product information is due to the Postal Service by April 14.

Employee union launches blog

Those looking for information about the upcoming initial public offering planned by Science Applications International Corp. have a new resource.

The Service Employees International Union has created a blog to keep tabs on the employee-owned company's impending plans.

The SEIU in late March launched the blog (http://saicipowatch.blogspot.com) with a two-page report that addresses the costs of taking the company public, as well as the costs to employee-shareholders.

FCC OKs homeland security unit

The Federal Communications Commission voted unanimously March 17 to establish a Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau.

The new unit will oversee issues such as disaster management, spectrum licensing for public safety agencies, 911 call centers, and alert and warning communications. It also will address communications infrastructure protection and interoperability for public safety.

L-3 nets threat detection firms

L-3 Communications Holdings Inc. of New York has acquired two companies that specialize in threat detection technology. Terms of the deals were not disclosed.

L-3 bought CyTerra Corp. of Orlando, Fla., a provider of advanced sensor technology for military and homeland security applications.

It also bought SafeView Inc. of Santa Clara, Calif., which develops and produces non-invasive security systems and portals for military and public safety use and airport security.

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