Some agencies must plan for TIC initiative, officials say

Limiting the government to 50 trusted Internet connections by June poses a major challenge for the General Services Administration, its Networx telecommunications contract and agencies planning to transition to the contract, officials said today.

The Trusted Internet Connection (TIC) initiative, announced in November by the Office of Management and Budget, adds another layer of intensive planning for agencies,  Mike Howell, chief information officer for the Interior Department, said at the 2008 Federal Networks Conference in McLean, Va.

The Interior Department has more than 1,300 external Internet connections and five gateways to the Internet, Howell said. Department officials were preparing to move to the new telecommunications contract with those connections until OMB released the initiative Nov. 20.

That department and others must now get an inventory of connections and access points to the Internet, make sure they’re secured and consider how to narrow those connections, he said. Meanwhile, agencies aren’t sure how OMB will allocate the 50 trusted connections.

John Johnson, associate administrator for GSA’s Integrated Technology Solutions, said GSA must consider adding a service to the Networx contract to help agencies with TIC.

Under the TIC initiative, agencies had to develop a plan of action and milestones by Jan. 8 on how they would reduce their Internet connections.

In a memo announcing the initiative, Clay Johnson, OMB’s deputy director for management, wrote that it will “optimize our individual network services into a common solution for the federal government.”

Based on the Security Line of Business initiative, the Networx contract and the Federal Desktop Core Configuration implementation project, agencies have a unique opportunity to improve their network delivery capabilities, Johnson wrote.

Lynn Conger, chief of the hosting and storage solutions branch of the Environmental Protection Agency’s National Computer Center, said the initiative would not greatly affect EPA. The agency has one connection, although it is considering creating another one, she said.

Meanwhile, agencies are getting more requirements to handle, such as TIC and converting to IPv6 by June 30.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

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