GSA spearheads security effort
The Clinton administration last month tapped the General Services Administration to lead the federal-sector effort to protect critical infrastructures. At the request of the National Security Council and the Office of Management and Budget, GSA is working to identify governmentwide and schedule contracts to offer security services.
The appointment is the result of a presidential decision directive issued in May that requires agencies to take inventory of their computer systems and physical assets and develop a plan to protect from cyberattacks those systems deemed as critical to the agencies' operations. The plans are due in late November, although agencies will have several years to put the plans into place.
SBA taps Unisys for outsourcing
The Small Business Administration late last month became the fourth customer of a governmentwide outsourcing program, with the award of a $51.9 million task order to Unisys Corp.
Selected through the General Services Administration's 15-month-old Virtual Data Center Services program, Unisys will support accounting operations for SBA's $80 billion loan portfolio.The agency is migrating these applications from a traditional mainframe batch-
processing environment to a client/server system, said SBA chief information officer Lawrence Barrett.
SBA is the fourth customer to use the program, and the award is the first for Unisys. (For the complete story, go to www.fcw.com.)
Senate could vote on GPO bill
Supporters of a controversial bill to reform how the government maintains public access to its print and electronic documents plan to attach the measure to an appropriations bill to pass it through the full Senate, according to sources familiar with the bill.
The Wendell H. Ford Government Publications Reform Act would centralize all federal printing operations under the Government Printing Office in an effort to solve the problem of government publications that do not make it to the nation's 1,400 depository libraries, where the public can access the documents free of charge.
But information technology associations argue that the bill would slow the flow of electronic information among agencies (see story, Page 10).
GSA responds to Seat protest ruling
In response to a sustained protest against its $9 billion Seat Management contract, the General Services Administration last week released all documentation of its decision.
Boeing Information Services, whose bid was among the highest of the 13 bidding vendors, filed an agency-level protest in July. The protest claimed GSA awarded nine Seat Management contracts based on price rather than performance after informing vendors it would weigh performance more heavily. The protest official decided GSA must provide documentation supporting how it evaluated bids or else award Boeing a contract.
Boeing declined to comment on its next step, but a source close to the protest said the company is still very serious about pursuing the protest.
Order targets fed licensing
President Clinton last week signed an executive order reinforcing his administration's commitment to the use of licensed software throughout the federal government.
The order requires federal agencies to establish procedures for managing software, such as audits and employee education programs, to ensure the legal and proper use of software.
The Business Software Alliance, which represents the interests of software developers in fighting software piracy, welcomed the executive order, which calls for copyright compliance by federal contractors and recipients of federal financial aid.
Clinton to sign Y2K bill
President Clinton this month is expected to sign a recently passed bill that is intended to encourage businesses and agencies to share information on Year 2000 solutions.
Sen. Bob Bennett (R-Utah), chairman of the Senate Committee on the Year 2000 Technology Problem, sponsored the Year 2000 Information and Readiness Disclosure Act. The bill aims to remove the liability in sharing essential Year 2000 information. For example, businesses that share information in good faith cannot be sued if the information later proves to be misleading. However, if businesses deliberately distribute erroneous Year 2000 information, the bill will not protect them.