Requesting fewer requests; All elections, all the time; Watching virtual worlds

Requesting fewer requests
How much time would you guess the Homeland Security Department spends responding to congressional requests for information? At least 15,000 work hours this year, said DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff, who added that DHS is drowning under congressional requests for information.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Chertoff sent a letter to Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), ranking member of the Homeland Security Committee, asking for help. DHS reports to 86 congressional committees and subcommittees. Preparing for hearings has created an unnecessary burden, Chertoff said.

Of course, the 9/11 Commission recommended that Congress streamline the oversight process by creating a single, primary committee that would spearhead DHS oversight.

Democrats told the Wall Street Journal that, even with consolidation, there is still a need for vigorous oversight and investigation of DHS activities.

All elections, all the time
Yes, there is a radio station for everybody.

XM Satellite radio this month launched a radio station that will focus on the 2008 presidential election all the time. XM Channel 130 is named P.O.T.U.S. ’08, which is Washington shorthand for the President of the United States.

The around-the-clock, commercial-free channel has been created in association with C-SPAN and other media outlets, XM radio said. The channel will feature news updates, candidate interviews, complete speeches, debate coverage, latest polling results, fundraising status and live call-in shows. XM plans to offer the presidential candidates free airtime. It will also tap into nontraditional media outlets such as blogs and podcasts.

XM said it will also air archival audio of historic moments from past campaigns by tapping into C-SPAN’s archives.

There’s something for everybody.

Watching virtual worlds
All those virtual worlds might actually provide some insight into how real people would react in the event of a public health crisis.

One medical journal, the Lancet Infectious Diseases, recently published a story about the increasing use of simulation models in the field of applied epidemiology.

We’re not sure what that means exactly, but it seems to mean researchers are watching the virtual world for indications of how the real world would react in the event of pandemic flu, for example.

Lancet reports that there is no real way to validate those models, but they can be illustrative and provide data as researchers try to make prediction models.

FCW in Print

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


  • 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.

  • Shutterstock image.

    A 'minibus' appropriations package could be in the cards

    A short-term funding bill is expected by Sept. 30 to keep the federal government operating through early December, but after that the options get more complicated.

  • Defense Secretary Ash Carter speaks at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco

    DOD launches new tech hub in Austin

    The DOD is opening a new Defense Innovation Unit Experimental office in Austin, Texas, while Congress debates legislation that could defund DIUx.

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