Week in Review
Davis gets Posted
Buzz of the Week
Most feds like to stay off the front pages of the newspapers because it often means something has gone wrong. By contrast, most politicians don't mind publicity -- most of the time. But in these days of ethical hypersensitivity, Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.) could not have been pleased with the July 28 edition of the Washington Post, which featured a Page 1, below-the-fold story headlined, "Wife, Friend Tie Congressman to Consulting Firm." The 4,350-word story suggests Davis, chairman of the House Government Reform Committee, provided additional access to clients of ICG Government, a consulting company led by Don Upson, a friend of Davis. Upson is a former congressional staff member and former Virginia technology official.
Putting specifics aside, the Post's story seems to be a harbinger of things to come. Ethical questions are increasingly pervasive in the business of government, perhaps more so than ever before. One reason is that procurement reforms enacted in the past decade encouraged agencies to buy the way the private sector does. But another reason is that the government is outsourcing more work than ever before.
These ethical questions could be the real test of whether decade-long procurement reforms continue or whether the government returns to a more regulated process.
Weighty issues, indeed.
Other noteworthy news
The Army created a program office for its Single Army Logistics Enterprise, which
will be a factory-to-foxhole management system
for all Army supply movements.... The Homeland Security Department is expanding
its Automated Biometric Identification System
to include biometric and limited personal information collected for immigration,
intelligence, law enforcement and national security programs.... Thirty-two DHS
contracts worth $34.3 billion involved significant
overcharges, wasteful spending or mismanagement, according to a new Government
Accountability Office report.... A special panel created under the Services
Acquisition Reform Act recommended that Section 803, a Defense Department
rule, be applied governmentwide to promote more contracting competition.... DHS
officials proposed expanding a biometric
program created to screen international visitors to include additional groups
such as legal permanent U.S. residents, people seeking asylum and refugee status,
and others.... The consulting firm Input reported that money spent through the
General Services Administration's information
technology schedule contracts will drop to about $16.3 billion, as spending
shifts to other contract vehicles.... The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms
and Explosives won't be required to pay 50 percent of the broadband
charges that ATF employees incur when they work from home.... The federal
government failed to meet its small-business
contracting goal for the sixth consecutive year, according to a report released
by Democratic members of the House Small Business Committee.... The FBI
hired Joseph Ford to be associate deputy director and oversee management of
the bureau's employees, budget and IT infrastructure.... Hewlett-Packard agreed
to pay about $4.5 billion to buy Mercury
Interactive, which makes application management software.... The Senate directed
DOD to adopt the Department of Veterans Affairs' electronic
health record architecture in its version of the fiscal 2007 appropriations
bill approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee's Military Construction and
Veterans Affairs Subcommittee.... The Army's Network Enterprise Technology Command
will require that all new computers contain the Trusted
Platform Module for hardware-based security.