Week in Review

It’s been nearly two years since Federal Computer Week first mentioned Homeland Security Presidential Directive 12, now widely known as HSPD-12.

Back then, Judith Spencer, then-chairwoman of the General Services Administration’s Federal Identity Credentialing Committee, said, “We’re learning about physical security things we didn’t know about.” That probably holds true today for many agencies.

The Oct. 27 deadline that passed last week seemed so far off two years ago. But as is so often the case, it arrived faster than most people expected.

Karen Evans, the Office of Management and Budget’s administrator of e-government and information technology, emphasized repeatedly that the deadline is a beginning and that more work must be done. By Oct. 27, agencies had to issue at least one identification card that complied with HSPD-12’s requirements. But a single card doesn’t much buy much security.

It could be some time before all of an agency’s employees have secure identification cards and even longer before the nirvana of having cards that are interoperable across government. So Friday’s deadline was just the first step on what promises to be a long road to greater security.

The question is whether HSPD-12 will remain a priority now that the first deadline has passed.

Other noteworthy news

Lt. Gen. Steven Boutelle, the Army's chief information officer, denied rumors that the Defense Department has been using policy filters to block soldiers in Iraq from visiting liberal blog sites.... The mandatory use of digital TV signals, which will go into effect in three years, could lead to improved public safety communications if the government enacts the right policy changes, a Carnegie Mellon University researcher said last week.... The National Nuclear Security Administration is investigating security at the Los Alamos National Laboratory after New Mexico police found what appeared to be classified information from the lab while arresting a man for possession of drug paraphernalia earlier this month.... Unisys announced that it has begun work to provide real-time information sharing under the Homeland Security Department's $2.5 billion SBInet contract, which Boeing won last month.... Lurita Doan, administrator of the General Services Administration, said DHS' enterprisewide information technology contract is one of several governmentwide acquisition contracts that she is reviewing as part of GSA's effort to consolidate federal procurement activities.... Service-oriented architecture technology will play an important role in future command and control systems, DOD's chief information officer said last week.... The Army held a worldwide conference of more than 300 Stryker brigade elements to test the use of DOD's new collaboration software, IBM's Lotus Sametime Suite.... The Internal Revenue Service announced a new strategy for modernizing its decades-old systems and technologies.... The Defense Information Systems Agency plans to acquire everything from data center computing capacity to storage as a utility-like service, senior DISA officials said last week.... DISA announced that it is close to awarding a contract worth as much as $3 billion for circuits to connect 1,500 U.S. locations to DOD's Global Information Grid.... The Government Accountability Office warned that DOD should not rely almost exclusively on the Web to keep service members and their families informed during an outbreak of avian flu or other diseases.... Participation in the IRS' Free File tax return program dropped by almost 23 percent between 2005 and 2006 after a renegotiated agreement between the IRS and a group of tax software companies left 39 million taxpayers ineligible for the program.

A roundup of the week's news, complete with links to the original stories, can be found on FCW.com Download's Week in Review.



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