HSPD-12 vendors to pay for testing

As of April 3 the General Services Administration no longer will pay for vendors to test their products and services to ensure they are interoperable under Homeland Security Presidential Directive-12 requirements.

GSA set up a free testing lab last May to ensure agencies could meet the new National Institute of Standards and Technology's Federal Information Processing Standard-201 guidelines.

Since setting up the lab, it's spent $725,000 testing products, GSA said.

States to use schedule for recovery

The General Services Administration is planning to let state and local governments order products and services from federal contracts in the event of major disasters or terrorist acts.

An interim rule change to 40 U.S.C. 502 published Feb. 1 in the Federal Register is an initial step toward making this possible, GSA said.

The new support should be available to state and locals this spring.

Cybersecurity gaps dog feds

The federal government continues to earn poor grades for cybersecurity, said the Cyber Security Industry Alliance in its second annual report card.

The alliance gave the Bush Administration and Congress three "D" grades for 2006 for its lack of progress in securing sensitive information against crime, protecting critical cyberinfrastructures and maintaining federal information integrity. A year ago, the alliance handed out an F, six Ds, four Cs and a B on a similar scorecard.

It's now or never for Real ID regs

As Maine and other states dig in their heels against the Real ID Act of 2005, Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va., called on the Homeland Security Department to move forward quickly to show how the program should be implemented.

"The department's leadership in the coming weeks is crucial to the success or failure of the Real ID program," Davis, responding to bills pending in several states asking Congress to repeal the Real ID Act.

TWIC program defended

Transportation Security Administration officials presented point-by-point rebuttals of statements reported in Washington Technology sister publication Government Computer News, citing security and durability flaws in Transportation Worker Identification Credential cards.

The flaws could expose the cards to counterfeiting and rapid failure that would facilitate their use as "breeder documents" to illegally obtain secure credentials, GCN's sources said.

HHS funds Medicaid boost

The Health and Human Services Department awarded $103 million to 27 states to fund new ways to improve Medicaid efficiency, economy and quality of care, including implementing health IT.

States are to use the funds for innovative systems to get more value from money they spend providing health care to low-income clients.

U.S. Visit shift draws fire

The Homeland Security Department's plan to shift oversight of the U.S. Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology program to a new directorate to be led by DHS Preparedness undersecretary George Foresman has drawn criticism from Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., House Homeland Security Committee chairman.

"I am troubled by assertions that it has been moved merely to put the program under a particular individual," he said.

DHS eyes border intel

The Homeland Security Department is exploring whether to create a new regional border intelligence capability along the U.S. border with Mexico.

DHS is evaluating how a Homeland Security Intelligence Support Team, in a location such as El Paso, Texas, could provide that capability, a DHS official told the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

Navy to add UAV

The Navy in coming months will hold a competition to supply a small, tactical unmanned aerial system.

Already proven valuable in Iraq and Afghanistan, small unmanned aerial vehicles are used by the Navy and Marines for surveillance and reconnaissance in battlefield situations.

The draft request for proposal is expected this fall.

Traveler screening faulted

The Homeland Security Department must better integrate its domestic and international airline passenger screening programs, said the Government Accountability Office.

GAO recommended that "DHS make key policy and technical decisions necessary to more fully coordinate Customs and Border Protection's international prescreening program with Transportation Security Administration's prospective domestic prescreening program."

N.Y.'s ID management

The New York State Technology Office issued a best-practices guideline to help state agencies and local governments manage employee and citizen access to online applications and transactions.

The NYS Trust Model sets basic standards and processes to govern management of identity credentials and is intended as a foundation for future identity and access management policies.

Lieberman on the move

Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., added two new subcommittees, reflecting expanded jurisdiction and focus on homeland security issues.

The Disaster Recovery Subcommittee will be headed by Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La.
Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., will chair the State, Local and Private Sector Preparedness and Integration Subcommittee.

Harris aces log-on test

Harris Corp. completed a point-to-point satellite call under simulated high-sea shipboard conditions using an advanced multiband prototype system to prepare for an upcoming $1 billion Navy contract competition.

Harris successfully logged onto, communicated with and tracked a Milstar satellite, a joint-service satellite communications system that provides secure communications around the globe.

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