2006: Auld Lang Syne
As we begin to look ahead to the new year, we are struck by how busy 2006 has been. Some stories built on developments from past years, but a few of them deserve particular attention.
- Security: Yes, there were Federal Information Security Management Act compliance issues and the rush to meet Homeland Security Presidential Directive 12, but what really forced information technology executives to focus on security was the theft of a laptop PC from a house in suburban Washington, D.C. Unfortunately that laptop, property of the Department of Veterans Affairs, contained personal data on millions of veterans. The story made headlines nationwide and drove the security issue.
- GSA: It has been a roller-coaster year for the General Services Administration. The arrival of a new administrator, Lurita Doan, thrust the agency into the middle of a debate on scores of issues.
Jim Williams returned, the agency reorganized, and an internal battle with the inspector general¹s office broke out.
- Congress: The midterm elections took place in November, but the effect will be felt for the next two years. We can¹t predict what will happen, but it will be interesting to watch.
- Mike Sade, director of the Commerce Department¹s Office of Acquisition Management and Financial Assistance, is leaving the agency to become associate commissioner for acquisition management at the General Services Administration.
- Perot Systems Government Services is expected to announce a major acquisition Monday of a privately held company that holds several large military contracts.
Other noteworthy news
"We're encrypting everything in sight," said Bob Howard, the Department of Veterans Affairs' chief information officer, describing the VA's efforts to improve data security.... Congress passed a pandemic flu bill that puts the Department of Health and Human Services in charge of the federal medical response to bioterrorism attacks or disease outbreaks and removes the Homeland Security Department from any lead role.... Getting senior executives to pay attention to the problem of safeguarding personal information is 80 percent of the solution, said Lisa Schlosser, CIO at the Department of Housing and Urban Development.... The Army will field its Land Warrior system in Iraq next summer, despite funding uncertainties.... The Northern Command has adopted the phrase collaboration and communication as a substitute for classic military command and control.... The General Services Administration and its biggest customer, the Defense Department, signed a memorandum of agreement created to improve business relations between the two agencies.... In one of its final acts, the 109th Congress passed the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act that supporters say will modernize the U.S. Postal Service and improve its financial viability.... The Joint Forces Command is deploying prototypes of a multilevel security environment in Iraq for collaboration with the State Department's Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization and the U.S. Agency for International Development.... Virginia's attorney general said he will propose new legislation requiring convicted sex offenders to register their e-mail addresses and instant messaging screen names with the state's sex offender registry.... The majority of emergency responders have equipment that enables them to communicate with one another, according to a DHS survey of first responders and law enforcement officers.
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.
NEXT STORY: Is the budget battle adding to the bulge?