Editorial

What's the problem with GATEC?

or many supporters of electronic commerce, it was very bad news that Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) had reorganized and would be eliminating the organization that created and supported the Government Acquisition Through Electronic Commerce solution selected by the Energy Department for agencywide use. This is the second time GATEC has found itself abandoned: The Defense Department nixed plans to roll out the system to a number of bases in 1994.

We don't understand why no one wants this system. We are told it is an inexpensive, workable, reliable solution to the government's requirement for EC. We are assured that it works now - something that is not always possible to say with competing systems, such as the Federal Acquisition Computer Network (FACNET). It is appealing enough that other agencies have been considering adopting the GATEC approach for their own use. LLNL's decision, however, clouds GATEC's future. No one wants to back a solution that is being left to wilt on the vine without support or future releases.

Questions remain, and the fate of GATEC hangs in the balance. What will happen to the team that created and supported GATEC? Who will continue to maintain the GATEC hub? At the very least, GATEC served as an alternative to FACNET. If, when it is given a chance, the system cannot win over agencies, GATEC will quietly fade away. Until then, it deserves a chance to prove itself.

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