Week in Review

Chairman Waxman?

A favorite Washington pastime these days is sharing predictions on the outcomes of the Nov. 7 midterm elections, now just weeks away.

We are one week into "page-gate," the brouhaha about former Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.) and accusations that he had inappropriate online chats with young congressional pages. The affair sent many prognosticators back to their crystal balls to assess what effect the scandal would have on voters.

For the first time since 1994, analysts suggest it is possible that either the House or Senate could change hands. For the government information technology community, the prospect of changing leadership raises questions.

For example, who would be the champion of government IT?

If the balance of power changes hands in the House, IT-savvy Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.) would have to give up the chairmanship of the Government Reform Committee. Most observers expect that the committee¹s current ranking member, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), would take over the panel¹s leadership. And that would likely mean more oversight.

One just has to check the minority members' Government Reform Committee Web site for an idea of some of the issues a Waxman-led group might investigate. The site features releases with headlines such as "Democratic Truth Squad Introduces 'Clean Contracting Act'" and "Homeland Security Contracts Waste Hundreds of Millions of Taxpayer Dollars." The voters will have their say in about a month, just in time for the presidential campaigns to kick into high gear.

Other noteworthy news

An annual contract activity report revealed that the General Services Administration is one of the biggest users of NASA's Scientific and Engineering Workstation Procurement III contract.... The Small Business Administration issued a notice that it intends to waive a regulation that gives small-business PC manufacturers an advantage in selling them to the federal government.... Most agencies have chief information officers, but those CIOs have not evolved into the kind of strategic leaders that William Cohen said he envisioned 10 years ago when he co-sponsored the Clinger-Cohen Act.... The Office of Government Ethics largely agrees with the Acquisition Advisory Panel's recommendations for fostering ethical relationships between agencies and contractors.... The Department of Veterans Affairs awarded IBM a $16 million contract to improve security in the VA's information technology organization.... Laptop computers in the Homeland Security Department's Office of the Inspector General are still susceptible to cyberattacks despite steps taken to strengthen security, according to the IG's office.... After years of controversy, the Energy Department decided to lessen its reliance on polygraph testing in screening prospective counterintelligence employees.... The Internal Revenue Service has not done enough to protect the privacy of the country's 130 million taxpayers, according to a Treasury Department IG report.... Circumstances created the perfect storm for bloggers to ensure passage of a bill to create an online public database of federal grants and contract awards, according to a panel of political experts.... The Defense Logistics Agency's network of 19 distribution sites can now track supplies with radio frequency identification technology.... The National Institute of Standards and Technology released a draft publication that highlights security and privacy risks associated with RFID technology.

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.

FCW in Print

In the latest issue: Looking back on three decades of big stories in federal IT.


  • Shutterstock image: looking for code.

    How DOD embraced bug bounties -- and how your agency can, too

    Hack the Pentagon proved to Defense Department officials that outside hackers can be assets, not adversaries.

  • Shutterstock image: cyber defense.

    Why PPD-41 is evolutionary, not revolutionary

    Government cybersecurity officials say the presidential policy directive codifies cyber incident response protocols but doesn't radically change what's been in practice in recent years.

  • Anne Rung -- Commerce Department Photo

    Exit interview with Anne Rung

    The government's departing top acquisition official said she leaves behind a solid foundation on which to build more effective and efficient federal IT.

  • Charles Phalen

    Administration appoints first head of NBIB

    The National Background Investigations Bureau announced the appointment of its first director as the agency prepares to take over processing government background checks.

  • Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.)

    Senator: Rigid hiring process pushes millennials from federal work

    Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) said agencies are missing out on younger workers because of the government's rigidity, particularly its protracted hiring process.

  • FCW @ 30 GPS

    FCW @ 30

    Since 1987, FCW has covered it all -- the major contracts, the disruptive technologies, the picayune scandals and the many, many people who make federal IT function. Here's a look back at six of the most significant stories.

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group