Briefs

Performance database sought

To improve accountability in government procurement, two Democratic lawmakers are promoting the creation of a centralized database that tracks contractor performance and fraud governmentwide. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) introduced the Contractors and Federal Spending Accountability Act to create a comprehensive database to monitor the federal procurement system.

Agencies fall short on vets goal

Fiscal 2006 contracting data shows that agencies have sent more contracting dollars to service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses than in past years, but they're still falling short of the mark, a Small Business Administration official told a House subcommittee July 12. Agencies have a long way to go in spending 3 percent of their contracting dollars with service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses. Last year, only two agencies ? SBA and the Veterans Affairs Department ? met the mark.

NOAA bobbles with $123M bonus

Lawmakers are asking why the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration paid a $123 million bonus to Northrop Grumman Corp., a contractor working on weather satellite programs that suffer from schedule delays and significant cost overruns. Cost estimates for the National Polar-orbiting Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) and the next-generation Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-R have nearly doubled, despite NOAA asking for fewer satellites with fewer capabilities, the Government Accountability Office said. The NPOESS launch date, originally 2009, is 2013.

Testing delays TWIC card rollout

The Transportation Worker Identification Credential missed its July 1 deployment partly because its systems are undergoing extra testing, a Transportation Security Administration official said. The testing is to align the card with Homeland Security Department threat assessment and screening data. The missed deadline was acknowledged weeks ago, but it was the first time the agency has publicly provided a detailed description of ongoing testing. This fall, TSA will begin enrolling port workers in Wilmington, Del.

Agencies can help VETS

Driving government contracts to veteran-owned small businesses should be an agency priority, said Paul Denett, administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, in a July 10 memo.

Denett urged agencies to review their information technology requirements and check the General Services Administration's Veterans Technology Services governmentwide acquisition contract for available services.

Spectrum call should go to agencies

Acceptance or rejection of a proposed sharing of radio spectrum to be auctioned for use as a public safety national broadband network is a decision for public safety agencies, the National Public Safety Telecommunications Council said.

The Federal Communications Commission will auction radio spectrum in the 700-Mhz band. One block is for public safety communications. But the FCC has suggested using an additional block for broadband public safety communications under a national license. An industry proposal would have the successful bidder negotiate with the public safety community to share that block.

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