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News, trends & tips for federal contractors

Marty Wagner

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The Homeland Security Department plans by Sept. 30 to begin unmanned aerial vehicle flights over the U.S.-Canadian border.


Customs and Border Protection will use cameras on the UAVs for observation, surveillance and detection activities to support law enforcement and critical incident response, according to the agency.


Veteran fed retires

The General Services Administration's long-time career policy lead, Marty Wagner, has announced his retirement from the federal government, effective Jan. 31.
Wagner spent 31 years with the government, including the last 16 with GSA. He played a key role in implementing e-government as a member of the Quicksilver team, as well as working with the Office of Management and Budget on the Lines of Business Consolidation initiatives.


"[I]t is time for me to do something different," he said in the e-mail to co-workers. "I will figure out where and on what after I retire."


More fiber needed

The great and growing mass of digital content demands availability of fiber-speed networks nationwide, said Michael Dell, founder and chairman of Dell Inc., at last week's Consumer Electronics Show.


Government and commercial, rather than consumer, markets comprise 85 percent of the PC maker's business, he said. But with products such as gaming technology becoming popular Defense Department tools, look for the company's consumer innovations to spill over into the government market.


Dems want more info sharing

The new Democratic majority in Congress has a plan to improve information sharing in the Homeland Security Department as part of legislation submitted to implement the 9/11 Commission recommendations.


HR 1, the 9/11 Commission Recommendations Act of 2007, submitted by House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), would enact several dozen of the commission's antiterrorism recommendations for cargo screening, transportation security, critical infrastructure protection and the national incident management system.


Consolidation drives IT buying

Global IT consolidation will guide the direction and magnitude of worldwide government IT buying for 2007, said a report from IT research firm Government Insights.


The government market, with more than $150 billion targeted for technology spending in 2007, is among the top three vertical industries worldwide, G-I said.
Top government market business drivers, the study said, will be IT standardization and consolidation, information sharing and interoperability and new procurement models.


DHS ponies up bucks for city grants

Jurisdictions on the Homeland Security Department's list of high-risk urban areas are eligible to share $1.7 billion ? down by about $4 million from last year's allocation ? in federal anti-terrorism dollars this year.


The largest program, the Urban Area Security Initiative, will distribute $747 million to as many as 45 urban areas for antiterrorism equipment, planning and training.


The urban areas at greatest risk: Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Washington, will compete for $411 million. A second tier of 39 cities will compete for $336 million.


WITS 3 hits the street

Teetering on the verge of awarding the $20 billion Networx telecommunications contract, the General Services Administration nevertheless has released a request for proposals for the Washington Interagency Telecommunications 3 contract.

GSA told agencies that WITS 3 "will serve as a stable platform" for users "to migrate to Networx based on individual agency requirements, funding availability and timelines."


Bidders want TCE refund

Broadwing Communications LLC, Level 3 Communications Inc. and Qwest Government Services Inc. have filed to recoup costs they incurred over years of developing proposals for the Treasury Department's Treasury Communications Enterprise contract, a cancelled billion-dollar project.


The three bidders filed their requests as part of the bid protest process with the Government Accountability Office.


Treasury has until April 9 to respond to the bidders' filings, GAO said.


Skinner: FEMA lacks IT plan

The Federal Emergency Management Agency improved its computer systems in 2006, but still has no strategic plan to guide long-term IT investments, said a new audit by Homeland Security Department Inspector General Richard Skinner.


The audit, done between December 2005 and April 2006, found that FEMA made progress in preparing for the 2006 hurricane season, but made no significant headway guiding long-term IT investments and system development.


Merlin takes on reorg

Merlin International Inc., an IT consulting, sales and services company in Greenwood Village, Colo., has created three divisions to better match up with customer needs.


The three divisions are Enterprise Solutions, which provides consulting and systems integration services, Special Programs, which serves defense and national security agencies, and Technology Systems, which is a reseller business.


Stockwell picked as Nevada CIO

Nevada has tapped Daniel Stockwell, a manager with 43 years' experience, to serve as director of the state's IT department and state CIO. Stockwell replaces state CIO Terry Savage.


Stockwell was the deputy chief for the Nevada IT Department's application design and development group. He oversaw software development for more than 50 agency boards and commissions.


He plans to expand services and set a new direction for the department, he said in a statement from the governor's office.


Catapult gets new pres

Barry Kane has become the new president of Catapult Technology Ltd. of Bethesda, Md.


"Barry's knowledge of the federal market, coupled with his experience in guiding companies to achieving their full growth potential, make him the obvious choice to help take Catapult to the next level," Catapult chairman and CEO Randy Slager said in a statement.


Kane comes to the 8(a), service-disabled veteran-owned company from CACI International Inc. of Arlington, Va., where he served as senior vice president.

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