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Kundra reinstated to federal CIO post

Vivek Kundra has returned to work as the federal chief information officer, effectively clearing him from a cloud forming over his former office in the District of Columbia government.

Kundra, former chief technology officer for Washington, D.C., had been appointed March 5 to his new post in the Office of Management and Budget. He took a leave of absence the following week after the FBI arrested a D.C. information security officer and a contractor as part of a bribery investigation.

Kundra had not been suspected of wrongdoing, officials said — the White House described his leave of absence as a cautionary measure — and a White House source confirmed on March 17 that Kundra was back on the job. "Mr. Kundra has been informed that he is neither a subject nor a target of the investigation and has been reinstated," the source said.

The FBI on March 12 arrested Yusuf Acar, an information security specialist who worked under Kundra, and charged him with bribery, conspiracy, money laundering and conflict of interest. The FBI also arrested Sushil Bansal, president and chief executive officer of Advanced Integrated Technologies Corp., on charges of bribery and money laundering. The two are accused of collaborating in a kickback scheme involving city contracts.

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Officials struggle with data for Recovery.gov

Tracking the spending from the $787 billion economic stimulus package is proving difficult because of shortcomings in the available data, the chairman of the stimulus act oversight board said last week.

“I am concerned about data quality,” said Earl Devaney, chairman of the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, during a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing. “The federal government’s systems have never been fully successful at producing timely and reliable data.”

Congress created the oversight board to monitor spending and help prevent fraud under the economic stimulus law. The board is responsible for developing the Recovery.gov Web site to collect data from federal, state and local agencies to show how the money is being spent.

The board will hold its first meeting next week. Meanwhile, the Office of Management and Budget has been operating Recovery.gov, which is receiving about 4,000 hits from the public every second, Devaney said.

The board will begin assessing additional data requirements and tools for funding recipients when OMB turns over control of the Web site in 45 days, he added.

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GAO: Short tenures hurt DOD acquisition

Few political appointees and career employees in the Defense Department stay long enough to be held accountable for bad acquisition decisions related to major weapons systems, an official told a House panel March 20.

Since 1987, DOD undersecretaries for acquisition, logistics and technology have an average tenure of 20 months, and program managers leave frequently while a major weapons program is being developed, said Michael Sullivan, director of acquisition and sourcing management at the Government Accountability Office, in testimony before the House Budget Committee.

The Pentagon's conventional acquisition process often requires as many as 10 to 15 years from a program’s start to production as today's programs provide revolutionary capabilities, such as network-centric warfare, Sullivan said.

The department could help with the necessary changes to the acquisition system if defense officials created a single point of accountability for managing the assortment of defense weapons systems, he said. DOD would also have to consider its resources before launching new programs. Sullivan said DOD needs to balance the near-term needs of the warfighter with the long-term needs of a modernized military.

The officials should prioritize their needs and make sure they reach the programs’ targets before investing in the program. Most programs don’t reach the targets, missing the mark by an average of nearly two years, Sullivan said.


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This week

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