SET-ASIDES

Protection strategies sought The Presidential Commission on Critical Infrastructure Protection has issued a request for information to help its members formulate strategies and recommendations for protecting the nation's technology infrastructure from physical attacks and cyber threats.

The commission has requested information regarding technologies and capabilities for protecting telecommunications systems electrical power systems gas and oil storage banking and financial institutions transportation systems water supply systems emergency services and continuity of government services. The responses will be entered into a database and be made available to the public and private sector.

Commission members will use the information to develop recommendations for research and development programs designed to address technology shortfalls. The Energy Department's Argonne National Laboratory will act on behalf of the commission to solicit and collect the information via a survey. Responses are due before May 30. The survey template can be requested via e-mail at formpccip@anl.gov or downloaded from www.dis.anl.gov/survey.

Clinton wants better Web sites President Clinton this month ordered federal agencies to expand the educational material posted on agency Web sites.

In an April 18 memorandum Clinton told department and agency heads to pinpoint resources that would "enrich the Internet as a tool for teaching and learning." Within six months agencies should launch these new expanded Web services. Clinton cited the "White House for Kids" home page NASA's "K-12 initiative" and the Education Department's virtual library for teachers as examples of the type of Web sites agencies should design.

Clinton said agencies should consider a broad range of educational resources expand access to information generated internally and by forming partnerships encourage teachers to submit information to add to sites and make material accessible to disabled users.

OMB: Use four-digit yearsThe Office of Management and Budget this month instructed agencies to use all four digits to designate years in date fields for "all interagency information exchanges."

The memorandum follows the National Institute of Standards and Technology's Federal Information Processing Standard 4-1 which was published last spring and encouraged agencies to adopt a four-digit year. The four-digit year is intended to overcome the problems associated with two-digit years in processing data in the year 2000. The two-digit dates used in many older systems will interpret 2000 as 1900 leading to inaccurate date-based calculations.

Hill wants to study CSOCCongress has balked at funding NASA's massive $5 billion contract to consolidate numerous computer systems until agency officials submit a study comparing the costs of a single vs. multiple award.

The House's budget authorization bill for the space agency prohibits the funding of the core contracting phase of the Consolidated Space Operations Contract until NASA presents the House Committee on Science with the report. CSOC one of the largest computer-related purchases in civilian agency history will combine many existing information technology contracts.

NASA officials had planned to award the contract in two phases with Phase I being awarded to multiple contractors. Under Phase I which was scheduled to be awarded next month contractors will develop an integrated architecture for space operations. As part of Phase II NASA officials plan to award a single 10-year contract.

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