The Buzz Contenders

#2: Karen Evans on security

Can the federal government be shooting itself in the foot by publishing its secure Windows desktop configuration standard and the protocol for automatically monitoring that configuration? Some folks attending the Annual Security Automation Conference and Workshop last week in Gaithersburg, Md., said they were worried about that possibility. But Karen Evans, administrator for e-government and information technology at the Office of Management and Budget, said she had bigger worries. “It is possible that we could be vulnerable, but right now, I would have to say that we can’t be more vulnerable than where we are today. We have utter chaos going on. We’re losing information. We don’t know what’s coming and going. We’re losing laptops that people didn’t even know we had.”

#3: Better, faster, cheaper

The Defense Finance and Accounting Service said it thinks it can work better and faster by trimming 4,000 employees from its 14,000-member workforce. Officials have done the math and said they expect each remaining employee can process 13,600 financial and accounting transactions a year, instead of the average 9,300 transactions the agency clocked for each employee in 2006. DFAS employees process civilian and military paychecks for Defense Department employees. If the better-faster-cheaper approach doesn’t work, DFAS will probably hear about it.

#4: Giuliani: Too many feds

Republican presidential candidate Rudolph Giuliani made it clear that he wasn’t worried about the retirement tsunami that concerns many federal executives. “The civilian workforce is just too big,” Giuliani told members of the Northern Virginia Technology Council last week. “Forty-two percent are coming up for retirement. I wouldn’t rehire half of them.” Giuliani told the high-tech business leaders in the audience to let information technology replace those baby boomers after the retirement parties end. “What I would do is take advantage of technology,” he said to an appreciative audience.

#5: Follow the money

There is now less than a week left in the government’s fiscal year, and — shock — lawmakers aren’t really close to finalizing work on any of the agency spending bills. The Bush administration has issued veto threats on most of the appropriations bills, contending that they spend too much. The House has taken action on all 12 spending bills. The Senate, however, has yet to take any action on seven of the bills. Howev er, there seems to be agreement that there will not be a government shutdown. Jim Nussle, the new director of the Office of Management and Budget, last week praised a congressional move to pass a no-shutdown amendment.

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