News briefs

House plumps DHS purse

The House Appropriations Committee's Homeland
Security Subcommittee has approved a 6 percent
increase for the Homeland Security Department in
fiscal 2009 ? $2.3 billion more than the Bush
administration requested, said the committee's
chairman, Rep. David Price (D-N.C.).

Discretionary spending totals $39.9 billion in the
bill. The Coast Guard's Deepwater asset modernization
program would get $933 million, about
$57 million less than requested.

Arizona shuns Real ID

The Arizona legislature has voted not to comply with
the Real ID Act of 2005, which requires states to
adopt federal standards for handling personal information
for driver's licenses and sharing drivers'
information with other states.

If passed, the law could conflict with the state's
plan for a hybrid Arizona state driver's license and
border-crossing identification card.

Mentor program comments sought

The General Services Administration wants its own
mentor-protégé program and is seeking public comment
on the proposal.

GSA wants to amend the General Services
Acquisition Regulation to include the program.
Public comments are due by Aug. 11.

DHS acquisition management limp

Inaccurate data, absent information and inconsistent
rules are the result of muddled and confused management
of the Homeland Security Department's
acquisition workforce, according to a report by the
DHS inspector general.

The report pointed to discrepancies such as a
DHS list with 1,506 contract personnel for three
components, yet the components listed 2,136 such

Another U.K. firm crosses the pond

U.K. consulting firm AEA Technology plc will buy
McLean, Va.-based Project Performance Corp. for
$65 million.

PPC's information technology and data-management
skills and AEA's climate-change and
energy consulting services will constitute what AEA
officials called "a compelling proposition for

Michael Nigro, PPC's chief executive officer,
will become chief operating officer and president
of U.S. operations at the new 1,000-person

Contractor award fees bill introduced

The chairman of the House Homeland Security
Committee wants Homeland Security Department
officials to make sure contractors do their job
before the government pays them bonuses.

Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) recently introduced
a bill that would require DHS to pay a bonus
under a cost-plus-award-fee contract only when the
company actually meets the specified outcomes in
the contract.

Command Info buys Idealogica

Command Information Inc. bought privately held
Idealogica Inc., a provider of information security
services based in Leesburg, Va. Financial terms
were not disclosed.

The acquisition will let Command Information
assure its customers "that their IPv6 enablement
would not compromise the security of their networks,"
said Jerry Edgerton, chief executive officer
at the Herndon, Va.-based company.

DC Capital launches training firm

DC Capital Partners LLC bought government training
provider Kaseman LLC to start a new company
focused on training, security and logistics. Terms of
the deal were not disclosed.

Kaseman will be the base for a new company,
Elite Training and Security LLC, to be based in
Chantilly, Va.

Koontz urges privacy law update

Congress should revise privacy laws to ensure that
the sensitive data the government collects and uses
is appropriately protected, said Linda Koontz, director
of information management issues at the
Government Accountability Office.

Current laws and guidance have gaps and other
shortcomings, Koontz told the Senate Homeland
Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

Bill would spike competition system

A House appropriations bill in the works would
block use of the public/private competition system
for a year and let the next president handle the
controversial issue.

The Office of Federal Procurement Policy said the
system saves money ? $400 million over five years
? but opponents question how government officials
calculate the savings.

Telephony 911 calls passes Senate

The Senate passed a bill that would require IP
telephony service providers to offer 911 services
and create plans for a national, IP-based emergency
response network.

Cell phone service and voice-over-IP providers
already provide 911 emergency call service and
Enhanced 911 service, which provides the responder
with caller identity and location information.
The House will likely take up a final version of
the bill in the current session.

Boeing to build SBInet sections

The Homeland Security Department is preparing to
award a task order to Boeing Co. to install the first
two operational segments of the SBInet border surveillance
system in Arizona.

The task order has been pending for several
months while Boeing worked on an improved common
operating picture for the system.

Robotic tech is security wild card

Service robotics is one of the potentially most disruptive
civil technologies threatening U.S. security
in the next 15 years, according to a report by the
National Intelligence Council.

The global market for nonindustrial robotics,
already a part of civil and defense applications using
artificial intelligence and behavioral programming,
could reach $15 billion by 2015, the report said.

Survey: DOD drives satellite market

The Defense Department will remain the primary
target for new satellite products and services,
according to an annual satellite industry survey.
Despite the focus on DOD, 5 percent of respondents
said they will increase their solutions targeting
the Homeland Security Department and public
safety and first responders.

Contractors to underwrite E-Verify

Under a proposed rule, 168,000 federal contractors
and subcontractors must enroll 3.8 million employees
in a system to verify job applicants' eligibility to
work as U.S. citizens, legal permanent residents
and authorized immigrants.

Federal contractors would pay most of the
$550 million cost of implementing E-Verify over
10 years, including $308 million for start-up and
training costs, the notice in the Federal Register said.
Public comments are due by Aug. 11.

DHS measures in the House

The House Homeland Security Committee is considering
a bill meant to provide more access to the
Homeland Security Department's information and
intelligence products.

The measure would enhance public access to
government documents and reduce the extent to
which DHS classifies documents.

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