In brief: Homeland watch

Youthful staff at CBP

Solving the government acquisition staffing shortage requires innovative thinking, and for John Ely, executive director of procurement for the Homeland Security Department's Customs and Border Protection, that means hiring some of his new workers soon after they graduate from college.

"We spend too much time trying to find the grizzled veteran with significant procurement experience," Ely said at the Industry Advisory Council's recent Executive Leadership Conference in Hershey, Pa. "Let's put a little more trust in these kids. They're smart."

Ely said he has had success in hiring recent graduates, one of whom was trained and experienced at holding reverse auctions within a year. Ely has added 40 contracting staff in 2005, and expects to double the staff in 2006.

CISO, privacy together at TSA

Patricia Titus, chief information security officer for the Transportation Security Administration, said she works hand in hand with the TSA's privacy officer to avoid duplication and to ensure conformance in policies.

"We work to avoid redundancies between IT security and privacy," Titus said at the Executive Leadership Conference. When a privacy impact assessment is performed, Titus said she reviews it to determine how it fits with IT security needs and technologies.

'Foreign video crews' no danger

A major homeland security publication in Washington recently published a warning from the Pentagon's Defense Security Service, saying that DSS "has received numerous reports of suspicious requests for foreign video crews to visit cleared U.S. companies" to make films about "advanced or critical (dual-use) technology."

If true, that would be of concern to major IT systems integrators that might be targeted.

However, when Washington Technology contacted DSS, it was told that information was outdated.

"That release is from 1998," said a DSS spokeswoman. There have been no recent reports of suspicious foreign film crews, she said.

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