SET-ASIDES

Tech hearings planned

Rep. Steve Horn (R-Calif.) plans to launch a series of six hearings on federal information technology policies later this month. Topics will include best practices, management issues, financial systems, public access to information and measuring the benefits of information systems.

Rule eases mentor-protege requirements

An interim amendment to the Federal Acquisition Regulation would let mentor firms in the Defense Department's mentor-protege program count their work with small, disadvantaged businesses on DOD contracts toward their SDB contracting goals with any other agency. The rule would also let mentors sole-source subcontracts to their proteges on any federal pact.

SBCA dismisses Nortel complaint

The General Services Administration's Board of Contract Appeals last month dismissed without prejudice a protest by Nortel Federal Systems Inc. of an Air Force decision not to give the company access to information on AT&T's proposal for the service's Integrated Digital Telecommunications System. Nortel's protest charged that the Air Force gave AT&T similar information on Nortel's proposal following AT&T's successful protest of the IDTS award to Nortel last April.

The three parties agreed last month to ask GSBCA for a dismissal until the Air Force issues a revised solicitation in March. Carl Peckinpaugh, an attorney representing Nortel, said the company's protest may reappear if the Air Force does not make significant changes in the revision. "If the Air Force does what Nortel thinks is required, that will be the end of it," he said.

ITAA offers up IRM survey

Federal managers believe IT could help them deal with the effects of agency downsizing, but they are concerned that they will lack the resources to build systems suited to a changing environment.

That is one of the findings of the Information Technology Association of America's sixth annual survey of information resources management officials. ITAA's Federal Systems Integration Committee interviewed 25 IRM officials from 12 federal agencies.

The study also said IRM officials are predicting that federal budget cuts will result in a drop in spending on IT systems this year and lead many government IT professionals to pursue private-sector work. The survey results are grouped in seven categories: Refocusing Government, Human Resources, Procurement and Management Reform, Alternatives to Accomplish the Mission, Business Process Re-Engineering, Technology Management and Technology Directions.

The report is available free from ITAA. To receive a copy, call Deborah Head at (703) 284-5306.

CompTIA opens office in Arlington, Va.

The Computing Technology Industry Association, a 10-year-old, Chicago-based association representing 6,300 member companies from all segments of the computer industry, has opened a federal office.

Bruce Hahn, director of public policy, said his goal for CompTIA's Arlington, Va., office is to use the association's vast membership to press Congress at the grass-roots level on issues that are important to its members, including procurement reform and Labor Department rules relating to the classification of workers. "This is a large, sleeping giant that should have been in Washington 10 years ago," Hahn said. "I think they always knew they needed a Washington presence, but people in the industry are not public policy-oriented by nature," he said.

CompTIA represents hardware and software manufacturers, resellers, distributors, retailers and training providers.

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