White House unveils training plan

The Clinton administration last week announced a program to increase the government's use of information technology tools for training federal employees.

The National Economic Council and the Office of Science and Technology Policy, under the direction of the administration, are developing a plan to describe how agencies can make full use of commercial practices when purchasing instructional software and work with other entities to foster a competitive market for electronic instruction.

The plan will outline a model technical approach to support electronic instruction by building on existing agency efforts and to develop and support a research program that will accelerate the development of new learning technologies.


Commerce CIO in the wings

The Commerce Department last week selected Roger Baker, vice president of marketing and product management at Visa International, as its chief information officer, sources said. He has been with Visa for several years and served as vice president of operations there before moving to his current post. He also has extensive experience with technology issues.


DOD develops new draft of Y2K plan

A new draft of the Defense Department's Year 2000 Management Plan outlines concerns about the potential vulnerability of DOD systems to information warfare threats because of Year 2000 problems.

The department's efforts to repair or replace systems for Year 2000 compliance can expose systems to infowar "vulnerabilities," according to the DOD Year 2000 Management Plan Draft Version 2.0, which was signed late last month by William A. Curtis, the director of DOD's Year 2000 oversight and contingency planning office.

"Individuals and or groups who would like to take advantage of Year 2000 problems to implant backdoor software routines, viruses, etc., may have their greatest opportunity over the next few years," according to the plan. Of particular concern, the report stated, is the threat presented by work done at offshore facilities.


Feds may take role in anti-spamming

Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) late last month introduced the Digital Jamming Act of 1998 to address the problem of e-mail "spamming," in which business marketers stuff the electronic mailboxes of potential customers with unsolicited messages. Markey said he may call on federal or state governments to establish "do-not-contact databases for people who want to put a 'no soliciting' sign in cyberspace and stop the flood of junk e-mail."


Booz-Allen wins AF contract

The Air Force last week award-ed Booz-Allen & Hamilton

Inc. a five-year, $102 million

indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract to support the Air Force's modernization efforts. Under the Long-Range Strategic Planning contract, Booz-Allen will provide strategic planning and analysis support, assessment of Air Force war games, database development, systems administration and system capability and cost analysis.

The award comes as the Air Force gears up for its Expeditionary Force Exercise, EFX'98, which will test the ability to rapidly deploy a small operations center capable of reaching back to base centers and other rear-area locations with the help of information technologies.


DOD awards $7M comm pact

The Defense Department has awarded a $7 million follow-on contract to Tampa-Fla. based Group Technologies Corp. to manufacture data communications products over the next 20 months.

James Cocke, vice president of finance at Group Technologies, said the company was prohibited from naming the specific division of DOD that awarded the contract.

However, he did say the contract is for devices used to transmit coded data, which is then uncoded and read by the receiving user.


GAO slams Navy Y2K efforts

In a report released last week, the General Accounting Office took aim at the Navy with a searing indictment of the service's Year 2000 management and oversight controls.

In "Defense Computers: Year 2000 Computer Problems put Navy Operations at Risk," GAO said the Navy lacks a comprehensive inventory of systems that need Year 2000 fixes, has not monitored the progress of subordinate organizations or developed a departmentwide testing strategy, and it is not developing contingency plans for its mission-critical systems.


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