News briefs

Biometric spending to double

Public and private spending on biometrics
technologies will more than double to
$7.3 billion globally by 2013, up from
$3 billion in 2008, according to London-based
ABI Research.

Fingerprints will continue to dominate,
but there also is growth in face, iris, hand
and speech recognition systems, ABI said.
Disabled vets to benefit from bill
The House has passed a bill that would
require a company or agency working on
behalf of the Veterans Affairs Department
to give preference when making purchases
to small businesses owned by service-disabled
veterans.

The Improving Veterans' Opportunities
in Education and Business Act (H.R. 6221)
would mandate that VA include provisions
in its contracts and agreements that require
the contractor to meet VA's annual small-business
contracting goals for veterans.

GSA burdened with old systems

The General Services Administration's
Federal Acquisition Service has successfully
combined the Federal Technology Service
and the Federal Supply Service but now
must deal with older computer systems, an
inspector general's report said.

Ed O'Hare, FAS's chief information officer,
must integrate systems from the former
FTS and FSS. Seventeen major systems and
47 non-major systems are left over from
the two services.

VA aims to boost vets' contracts

The Veterans Affairs Department proposed
revising its acquisition regulations to boost
federal dollars going to businesses owned
by military veterans.

The proposal would let VA contracting
officers restrict competitions for contracts
to small businesses owned by veterans. It
also would let them award sole-source contracts
to those companies.

TSA reopens ITIP competition

The Transportation Security Administration
has changed course on its $2 billion
Information Technology Infrastructure
Program contract and will let EDS Corp.,
Northrop Grumman Corp. and Unisys
Corp. compete for the lucrative contract.

Northrop Grumman and Unisys filed
protests with the Government
Accountability Office and the Federal
Aviation Administration, claiming that they
should not have been eliminated by TSA
during a down-select process.

FEMA suspends TopOff 5

The Federal Emergency Management
Agency suspended a procurement for the
upcoming Top Officials 5 national disaster
drill to investigate allegations of improprieties
in the contracting process, FEMA
officials said.

Lawmakers said a contractor that apparently
wrote parts of FEMA's request for
proposals for the TopOff 5 contract might
also be a bidder on the contract. If so, that
would present an unfair competitive
advantage.

Science Applications International
Corp. withdrew its bid on the TopOff 5
contract and has put several employees on
administrative leave while it reviews the
allegations.

GAO waves off Avue TSA protest

The Government Accountability Office said
it does not have the authority to hear a
protest by Avue Technologies Corp. over a
large Transportation Security
Administration contract awarded to
Lockheed Martin Corp. in early July.

GAO noted that TSA procurements were
subject to the Federal Aviation
Administration's acquisition management
system until Congress passed the 2008
Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2008,
which was enacted Dec. 26, 2007.

Chief of staff spurs Army networks

Attending the LandWarNet 2008 conference
via videoconference, Army Chief of
Staff Gen. George Casey said only a 21stcentury
Army can handle new situational
challenges.

Such an Army must evolve to tackle six
trends: globalization, resource competition,
proliferation of weapons of mass destruction,
climate change, failed and failing
states, and demographic trends, Casey said.

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