FEDERAL BYTES

No nukes.com Glenn Schlarman policy analyst with the Office of Management and Budget's Information Policy and Technology Division generated a healthy guffaw at a recent meeting of Federal Webmasters.

Schlarman was speaking about the need for federal Web site addresses to be more specific to aid the public in finding the sites. For example he said users seeking the Internal Revenue Service eventually find they must include "ustreas" in the URL to track down the IRS. He suggested a better way would be to simply designate the URL for the IRS site as www.irs.gov.

But Schlarman added that there will still be some limits for registering the addresses of federal Web sites. For example he said Defense Department techies will definitely not be allowed to employ "www.nuke-em.dod" as a site address.

Y2K watch

OMB director Franklin Raines has joined the ranks of federal executives and legis-lators concerned with the Year 2000 issue.

He has made inquires within the Defense Department regarding prog-ress addressing the date change problem sources said.

As it turns out Raines is an experienced Year 2000 trouble-shooter. He directed attempts to work the Y2K issue in his previous job as vice chairman of the Federal National Mortgage Association.

Pentagon pingpong

How many people does the Pentagon have to pay simply to say "No comment?"

This question occurred to us most recently when we asked the Defense Information Systems Agency to comment on the proposed merger of MCI and British Telecom.

When we heard about the merger last month we zapped our questions via e-mail to DISA on Nov. 3 figuring that would give them some extra time to respond -maybe even ahead of our Nov. 7 deadline. No such luck. Even after continuous prodding our deadline came and went with no response from DISA.

We were told DISA's comments had to be approved by officials and attorneys at the Office of the Secretary of Defense then DISA had to prepare its statement in accordance with feedback from OSD then it had to go back to OSD for approval then it had to come back to DISA for release.

We're not sure how long this pingpong match went on but DISA's reply arrived on Nov. 8. DISA said it "noted with interest" the proposed merger and that "this [interest] is only natural." It said DISA understands that the Federal Communications Commission deals with these matters and that "DISA will provide input when consulted by the appropriate federal agencies." The end.

Somehow we doubt this is the kind of provocative information FCW readers look for when they receive our newspaper.

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