News in brief

Phil Nolan, president and CEO of Stanley Associates

Zaid Hamid

Stanley Associates files IPO

Stanley Associates Inc. has filed for an initial public offering of stock that could raise more than $130 million.

According to Securities and Exchange Commission filings, Stanley will use the IPO money to pay off a $100 million loan it took in February to buy Morgan Research Corp. Other proceeds will be used to fund additional growth including more acquisitions.

Stanley had $285.1 million in revenue for the year ended March 31. Stanley is ranked No. 58 on Washington Technology's 2006 Top 100 list of the largest federal IT contractors.

Senate extends card deadline

The Homeland Security Department's controversial new border-crossing identification card initiative would be postponed for 17 months, to June 1, 2009, under an amendment adopted by the Senate as part of the immigration reform package.

The postponement applies to the People Access Security Services (Pass) smart card, which would be issued to Americans, Canadians and Mexicans who frequently cross the U.S. border.

Feds fail to guard private data

Federal agencies are falling short in protecting privacy when performing data mining, according to congressional testimony from a senior Government Accountability Office official.

Although agencies that use data mining, in which large amounts of data from different sources are aggregated, searched and analyzed, took many necessary steps, none followed all key procedures, the GAO official said.

Clearance conundrum

In congressional testimony, an industry trade group urged Congress to intervene in the crisis caused by the Defense Department's cancellation of processing security clearances. Defense officials countered with proposed long-term measures, including a new oversight office, to prevent recurring, underlying problems.

The Information Technology Association of America proposed a fully legislative overhaul of the granting procedure.

Montoni returns to Maximus

The board of directors at Maximus Inc. has fired CEO Lynn Davenport, charging him with violating the company's standards of business conduct and ethics in his actions toward a female Maximus employee.

A settlement has been reached with the employee, who has since left the company, Maximus said in a press release.

Taking over as CEO is Richard Montoni, who earlier this year left his Maximus post as chief financial officer.

DHS to fund pandemic watch

The Homeland Security Department expects in midsummer to award a contract to develop the National Biosurveillance Integration System, a critical piece of the administration's strategy to handle a pandemic, such as avian flu.

The system will aggregate and integrate data from food, agricultural, public health and environmental monitoring as well as public and private sector intelligence organizations.

TWIC procurement in the wings

The Homeland Security Department is close to requesting proposals for a Transportation Worker Identity Credential systems integrator, according to testimony by Deputy Secretary Michael Jackson before the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.

Jackson added in subsequent remarks to reporters that the department seeks to jump-start the Transportation Security Administration program with $15 million in funds drawn from other agency funds.

DHS restores iris scans

Optional iris scans have been restored to the Homeland Security Department's Registered Traveler program, DHS confirmed.

Contractors now have the option of collecting and enrolling iris scans in addition to 10 fingerprints they must collect from people for the program. Iris scans alone will not be sufficient for enrollment, however.

Hold the money

The Homeland Security Department is facing $1.3 billion in financial penalties imposed by the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security against several DHS components and programs in next year's budget.

The committee approved $33.1 billion in spending for the department for fiscal 2007, but withheld $1.3 billion until DHS responds with requested data.

Army to revisit ITES-2

After reviewing protests filed by losing bidders on the Army's recent Information Technology Enterprise Solutions-2 Services contracts, the Army has decided to re-evaluate all offers.

Most of the protests lack merit, officials said, but the department will look again at the bids because it must re-evaluate so-called subfactor data, which could affect ratings and, conceivably, awards.

DHS illegal-alien nets stultify

The Homeland Security Department has made little progress in recent years in improving its aging IT systems for tracking the detentions and removals of illegal aliens, said a new report from the DHS inspector general.

The problems predate the agency's creation in 2003.
For example, an IT upgrading project initiated five years ago was scuttled by poor system performance and compatibility problems.

Although a new contract for the pro-ject was awarded in December 2004, scant progress has been made, the IG said.

IBM, Alvarion join for wireless

IBM Corp. and Alvarion Inc. have established an alliance to offer wireless systems to municipalities and their public safety agencies.

The companies have tested their WiMax solution, which comprises IBM's suite of mobile applications built on Alvarion's broadband and mobile wireless systems, in a pilot project for a Fresno, Calif., public safety network.

House Dems urge SBA reform

Democrats on the House Small Business Committee have proposed reauthorization legislation that would overhaul the Small Business Administration.

The bill would increase the federal government's small-business prime contracting goal from 23 percent to 30 percent.

The Empowering the Next Generation by Investing in the Nation's Entrepreneurs Act also would reduce the cost of SBA's 7(a) loan program, its largest, long-term lending program.

DHS to rate local interop plans

The Homeland Security Department plans to issue public scorecards on the effectiveness of interoperable first-responder communications in cities and regions across the country by the end of this year, according to Secretary Michael Chertoff.

Chertoff emphasized that interoperable radio communications have stalled mainly because of problems cities and regions have in agreeing on governance plans for the systems. Such plans include protocols for which types of communications have priority in a disaster situation.

Trailblazer 'overachieved'

Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden, former director of the National Security Agency and now nominee for CIA director, was asked at a Senate confirmation hearing May 18 to defend his previous characterization of the $1.2 billion Trailblazer IT modernization initiative that he led at NSA.

Considering the Trailblazer's cost overruns and delays, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) asked Hayden why he claimed the program "overachieved."

"What my memory tells me I said was that a lot of the failure in the Trailblazer program was in the fact we were trying to overachieve," Hayden said. NSA "went far too much with industry" and "should have had more government participation" in Trailblazer.

"Sixty percent of the difficulty in the program was just the raw difficulty of the challenge. The other 40 percent were things that were within our control," Hayden said.

Aging IT clogs detention

The Homeland Security Department's ability to track detentions and removals of illegal aliens is hindered by shortcomings in the program's 22-year-old IT system, according to a new report from the department's inspector general.

The Deportable Alien Control System began in 1984. However, the system "does not contain or is not capable of readily furnishing key information for reliable assessments," the IG said. For example, it cannot show how many aliens are categorized as mandatory for detention, and how many failed to show for immigration hearings.

Poll: Cybersecurity a big concern

Confidence in the nation's IT infrastructure fell to 57 on a 100-point scale, a decrease of one point from six months ago, according to a survey of 1,150 adults sponsored by the Cyber Security Industry Alliance, an industry group.

As a result some adults aren't making purchases online, among other activities, the alliance said. Also in the survey, 70 percent of likely voters agreed that Congress should pass a strong data security law.

Two IDs for merchant marines

Merchant mariners will carry two new credentials under a notice of proposed rulemaking issued by the Homeland Security Department.

The proposed rule would require merchant mariners to have the Transportation Workers Identification Credential to document the worker's identity as well as a new consolidated mariner form to document the mariner's professional skills and capabilities.

DHS uses non-profit's cyberware

The Homeland Security Department is enlisting the help of a non-profit organization to get cybersecurity tools for operating systems, servers and databases used by the federal government.

The DHS Office of Procurement Operations said it is awarding a one-year, sole-source contract to the Center for Internet Security for the tools. The agency did not specify the contract's value.

States assess privacy laws

The Health and Human Services Department announced that RTI International Inc. has subcontracted with 22 states and territories to evaluate their privacy laws and how they may hinder data exchange as part of HHS' health IT efforts.

At press time, 12 more states were expected to sign subcontracts.

The national health IT coordinator's office also added $5.7 million to the $11.5 million contract with RTI for a total value of $17.2 million.

Lunar Lander face-off

NASA plans to return to the moon, and officials are looking for help in developing technology for the mission.

NASA and the X-Prize Foundation will conduct a $2 million Lunar Lander Analog Challenge at the X-Prize Cup Expo in Las Cruces, N.M., Oct. 20-22.

OMB: Laws blunt savings efforts

Competitive-sourcing efforts of the past three fiscal years likely will save government more than $5 billion, but the Office of Management and Budget says a bill Congress passed last year will hamper the net benefits of such competitions.

Those savings could be restricted in the future, OMB warned. Because it is expensive to develop bids, and those bids would be shared with agencies to enable a cost comparison, contractors may be reluctant to bid the jobs, the OMB report said.

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