The Circuit

Move Over FedCIRC

During the past six months, the General Services Administration's Federal Computer Incident Response Capability has been hit from many sides for not supplying a quick enough response to cyberattacks such as the "love bug" virus.

Sources say GSA is looking at partnering with other federal agencies and industry to enhance FedCIRC, which is supposed to serve as the central federal computer emergency response team. According to a senior GSA official, FedCIRC wants to expand its reach beyond CERT, the federally funded computer emergency response team at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. CERT currently serves as the FedCIRC operational arm.

GSA is looking to partner with response teams from other agencies such as NASA and the Energy Department, as well as commercial response teams such as the one run by Global Integrity for the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center.

Flyzik Wants Your Money

Always diplomatic, Treasury CIO Jim Flyzik did not provide a direct response to the question of whether the federal government needs a chief CIO. Flyzik was asked the question at the Federation of Government Information Processing Councils' Management of Change conference in Atlanta last week.

But he had no problem putting forward a proposal almost as controversial — that every federal agency should contribute 1 percent of its information technology budget to a central fund for governmentwide IT projects. He first put forward the idea of siphoning off this large chunk of change for Vice President Al Gore's National Performance Review in 1992. It did not make it past the first draft because of concerns that the money would become a tool of the Clinton administration.

But the concept has been talked about openly recently, even making it into an e-government speech from presidential candidate George W. Bush, so maybe now is a good time to trot the idea out again, Flyzik said.

When Science and Poetry Collide

If you tuned in to various press conferences about the human genome last week, you might have thought you were at a poetry reading at the Smithsonian. Nearly every person who spoke waxed poetic about the intersection of science and theology. "We have caught the first glimpses of our instruction book, previously known only to God," said Francis Collins, director of the National Human Genome Research Institute.

From President Clinton: "Today we are learning the language in which God created life. We are gaining ever more awe for the complexity, the beauty, the wonder of God's most divine and sacred gift."

It may not be Robert Frost, but it's not bad.

Even IT Consultants Need a Vacation

User Technology Associates Inc., a small Arlington, Va., technology company whose clients have included the departments of Justice and Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration, has decided that even information technology workers need a trip to Disney World.

About 150 employees who have been with the company for five years or more will get just what the doctor ordered — a four-day trip to the Land of Mickey Mouse and friends, including park passes and a free hotel stay with their families or a guest.

Said company chairman Yong Kim: "My unofficial motto for UTA is "health and family first.' I wanted to show these employees how much I value their contribution to building the success of our company, but also, it is for them to balance their work and family life."

Not to mention all those 60-hour work weeks.

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