Week in Review

Getting down to business

Flipping the calendar from August to September has larger implications than just moving forward one month. September marks the beginning of a change in seasons -- and a change in thinking. Vacations are behind us, and schools are back in session. September is a time to get back to business.

That is true for feds, too. September is the start of the last month of the federal government's fiscal year. In years past, that has meant feds look to spend any use-it-or-lose-it funds. That is still the case to a certain degree. But as agencies buy more services and do less information technology work themselves, the end-of-the-year spending spree has mellowed.

September also means that Congress is back in session and that it¹s time to look forward to the next fiscal year. In a perfect world, lawmakers would be putting the finishing touches on the spending bills that keep agencies running. In the real world, most people are expecting continuing resolutions that will postpone the budget process.

This year, many people are worried about fiscal 2007. Some analysts project that the years ahead will be lean because of the costs of the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the burgeoning budget deficit.

September is a time for facing challenges -- and the government IT community will have many of them in coming months.

Other noteworthy news
General Services Administration officials met to finalize details of an upcoming request for proposals to consolidate the agency's information technology support services.... The Education Department awarded Perot Systems a five-year contract to upgrade its business management processes, a deal potentially worth $17 million.... Four California agencies said they must figure out how to allocate $240 million in state funds for health IT, under orders from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.... Three companies signed blanket purchase agreements to offer federal employees free credit-monitoring services after several personal data losses involving government-owned laptop computers.... The Real ID Act, which sets national standards for driver's licenses and identification cards, will account for $2.5 billion in state and local government spending through 2012, according to market research firm Input.... The National Institute of Standards and Technology released guidance on disposing of electronic files to ensure that deleted or disposed files are unrecoverable.... The Defense Department announced it will close the Office of Force Transformation as part of a reorganization of DOD¹s policy office.... In-Q-Tel, a strategic venture company associated with the CIA, named Christopher Darby president and chief executive officer, effective Sept. 18.... Thousands of employees of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration joined the Commerce Department's pay-for-performance demonstration project.... The Acquisition Advisory Panel agreed on several recommendations concerning ethics for contractors and agencies.... Computer Sciences Corp. will provide technical and business services to the Maryland State Highway Administration under a contract that could be worth $44 million.... Alan Balutis joined Cisco Systems as director of North American Public Sector Consulting for Cisco's Internet Business Solutions Group after resigning from Input earlier this month.... A proposed federal acquisition rule would require agencies to plan for an upgrade to the next-generation IP each time they buy IT products and services.... A new report finds that most of the Justice Department's cybercrime-related prosecutions have centered less on external attacks, such as worms and viruses, and more on internal threats.

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.

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