DOD awards D/SIDDOMS II pacts

The Defense Department's Health Affairs branch last week awarded three contracts as part of a $4 billion systems modernization program.

DOD awarded the contracts to SRA International Inc., Northrop Grumman Corp. and Sherikon Inc. The contracts represent one lot of DOD's massive Defense Medical Information Management/Systems Integration, Design, Development, Operations and Maintenance Services (D/SIDDOMS) II program.

D/SIDDOMS II was designed to improve the interoperability of systems in the military's health network and to allow for quicker and more efficient sharing of information.

The lot awarded last week— Lot II— carries an estimated value of $400 million, according to a DOD official familiar with the procurement. The lot covers technical analysis and support, including the integration of systems and subsystems as well as software integration engineering.


FAA details $1B comm upgrade

The Federal Aviation Administration last week detailed plans to alleviate the growing congestion of the airwaves that link pilots and air traffic controllers by undertaking a $1 billion upgrade of its air and ground communications systems.

The Next Generation Air/Ground Communications (Nexcom) program will replace aging analog equipment with digital technology that is capable of dividing with much finer granularity the radio spectrum that provides voice and data communications during takeoffs, landings and at other times.

The FAA plans to roll out Nexcom in three phases, but so far the agency has committed only $400 million to fund the first segment of the program, set to begin in 2002.


NTIA seeks industry assistance

Officials at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration last week asked industry leaders to identify within three weeks representatives from their companies who can help draft a plan for securing the nation's vulnerable communications infrastructures.

NTIA's request was presented last week at a meeting with private-sector officials to solicit their participation in President Clinton's critical-infrastructure protection program.

Clinton established the program to address the nation's need for protection of its critical information and communication infrastructure from hackers, cyberterrorists and natural disasters. NTIA has until Nov. 18 to submit to the administration a schedule for implementing and completing that plan.


Rep. hits noncompliant firms

Rep. Terry Everett (R-Ala.), chairman of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs, last week said the Food and Drug Administration should post on its World Wide Web site "for the whole world to see" the names of medical device manufacturers that have not responded to the federal government's requests for Year 2000 compliance information. "Further, the federal government should stop doing business with them," Everett said.

VA officials told the committee Sept. 24 that 102 of the nearly 1,600 manufacturers that supply medical devices to VA hospitals and clinics have not responded to VA requests for information on the Year 2000 readiness of their products.


Vote on GPO bill postponed

The Senate Rules Committee last week postponed a vote on a bill to overhaul the Government Printing Office until Monday. The committee will consider a second markup of the bill, which attempts to correct a separation-of-powers problem involving the Joint Committee on Printing and the executive branch.


Group cites GILS as data exchange model

A report produced for the Intergovernmental Enterprise Panel (IEP) last week backed a controversial online indexing system as the best available solution for coordinating government information and federal, state and local services.

The report, "Eliminating Legal and Policy Barriers to Interoperable Government Systems," suggested that the Government Information Locator Service (GILS), an online index of government information, could provide a road map for agencies trying to overcome obstacles to sharing information.

Ohio State University produced the report for the federally funded IEP, which is a group of federal, state and local officials who are promoting cross-governmental collaboration. Although many agencies have found GILS too complicated to use, the study suggested that the system might help to address interoperability problems.


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