Circuit

DHS' merger troubles

It probably isn't news to anybody that Homeland Security Department officials are having trouble building a cohesive organization that can share data effectively across its organizations.

Ruth David, president and chief executive officer of Analytic Services Inc. and former deputy director for science and technology at the CIA, said the task is unbelievably daunting. She spoke at IPIC 2005 in Orlando, Fla., last week.

"Name an industry merger of 22 corporations that has been successful," she said.

DHS officials are still trying to make sense of their existing systems, David said, adding, "They are a ways away from talking about tomorrow's technology."

Connect the dots

However, David also noted that criticism about the government's lack of information sharing is a bit unfair.

Everybody always talks about connecting the dots, but that analogy doesn't create an accurate picture of what has to be done. It is more accurate to describe the process as a jigsaw puzzle, but intelligence organizations do not have the advantage of knowing what the final picture looks like.

"It's a very, very complex pattern we're trying to solve," she said. "Putting together all of these puzzle pieces is difficult enough when we have and know what all the pieces are."

The term "information sharing" implies that somebody knows what the final picture looks like, and they're not sharing it with others, she said.

Obit: Roger Johnson

Roger Johnson, who was administrator of the General Services Administration during most of President Clinton's first term, died last month of lung cancer. He was 70.

Johnson hailed from Orange County, Calif., and was one of the first Republicans appointed to a top post in the Clinton administration. He led GSA during the agency's tumultuous reorganization following the passage of the Clinger-Cohen Act, which shifted oversight of major procurements away from GSA.

Find more on Johnson on FCW.com Download's Data Call at www.fcw.com/ download, including the story Federal Computer Week ran when he announced he was leaving the agency.

Ustad award nominations

Nominations are now being accepted for the annual Ida Ustad Award for Excellence in Acquisition.

Ustad, who served as deputy associate administrator for acquisition policy in GSA's Office of Governmentwide Policy, died in November 1999. During her career, she earned a well-deserved reputation for providing expert acquisition and procurement advice.

More on the awards can be found at www.acqnet.gov/ida/2005award.html. The link is also on FCW.com Download's Data Call.

Got a tip? Send it to jhasson@fcw.com.

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