Newsbriefs

Davis taps Issa as leader

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) could succeed
Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.) as the procurement
and acquisition lead in the House.

"He's up to snuff," Davis said of Issa, ranking
member on the Oversight and
Government Reform Committee's Domestic
Policy Subcommittee.

Davis announced Jan. 30 that he won't
seek re-election.

Agencies get DHS grant tips

State and local agencies seeking a share of
the $3 billion in Homeland Security
Department grants should make priorities of
protecting against improvised explosives, creating
preparedness plans and aligning with
the National Preparedness Guidelines.

The department's goal is to allocate 25 percent
of total grant funding for those three
issues this year.

Cisco, Harris team on project

Harris Corp. and Cisco Systems Inc. are
teaming to speed installation of Type 1 secure
wireless networks for federal intelligence and
civilian agencies.

Harris RF Communications will provide its
SecNet54 modular wireless encryption device
with Harris IT Services handling installation
and maintenance. Cisco will provide network
equipment, design and engineering services.

SBA proposal riles lawmakers

Six senators have criticized a proposed Small
Business Administration rule to limit setaside
contracts for woman-owned small businesses
to four industries.

SBA fashioned the rule by selectively reading
a recent study that measured where
women business owners are underrepresented
in federal contracting, the senators charged.

Bush urges security check reform

A White House memo directs agencies
responsible for security clearances to have a
plan to speed the clearance process on the
president's desk by April 30.

Changes the memo identifies include using
updated and consistent standards and methods
for security clearances, avoiding duplicative
steps, and using information technology
for more efficient and effective clearance processing
and for updating government information
record systems, laws and regulations.

DHS management woes persist

The Homeland Security Department has had
some success in its mission, but efficiency in
management has eluded the agency,
Comptroller General David Walker told
Congress.

Key gaps include agency transformation,
strategic planning and results management,
risk management, information sharing, partnerships
and coordination, and accountability
and transparency, Walker said.

Unresponsive behavior at DHS

Industry execs say the Homeland Security
Department's Science and Technology
Directorate's lack of responsiveness makes it
hard to work with, said a Congressional
Research Service report states.

Industry observers and others, such as
entrepreneurs who have new technologies
that could help with homeland security problems,
find it difficult to reach directorate officials
and get information, the report states.

Raytheon, SAIC chase FAA award

Raytheon Technical Services Co. LLC and
Science Applications International Corp.
signed a teaming agreement to pursue the
Federal Aviation Administration's $100 million
Air Traffic Control Optimum Training
Solution contract.

Booz Allen Hamilton Inc. and RTSC earlier
signed a partnering deal to go after the FAA
contract. It is expected to be awarded in June.

GAO blasts DHS buying spree

The Homeland Security Department used
its special acquisition authority 37 times to
buy at least $450 million worth of goods
and services since 2004, according to a
recent Government Accountability Office
report.

The flexibility of DHS' special authority,
which expires in September, comes with the
risk of reduced accountability, lack of transparency
and ethical concerns, the report
states.

Security lax for national treasures

Camera surveillance systems at the Statue of
Liberty and other national icons offer inadequate
security assistance to the U.S. Park
Police, an Interior Department Inspector
General report said.

The report details serious shortcomings in
the Park Police's ability to protect the Statue
of Liberty, Washington Monument and
Lincoln Memorial because of problems with
management, training, staffing and technology,
among others.

Bush sticks on DHS funding

President Bush's proposed fiscal 2009
budget for the Homeland Security
Department keeps the heat on major priorities
such as border control and stricter
identification with a 6.8 percent overall
increase, to $50.5 billion.

The SBInet border surveillance system,
Real ID driver's license standards and the
Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative show
stable and increasing budgets.

ICE rolls out new data tool

Immigration and Customs Enforcement has
established a new system for automatically
discovering links in information from various
databases for the purpose of investigating
people suspected of violating customs and
immigration laws.

Privacy risks that the ICE Pattern Analysis
and Information Collection presents to individuals
whose personal information is being
investigated have been mitigated, a
Homeland Security Department Privacy
Impact Assessment states.

Project 28 software to change

The Homeland Security Department has
determined that it needs to develop better
software and do more tests on the initial 28-
mile segment of the border surveillance system
known as SBInet.

In December, the Customs and Border
Protection agency conditionally accepted
prime contractor Boeing Co.'s initial Project
28 segment of SBInet at the Arizona-Mexico
border.

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