GSA amends MAA pacts

The General Services Administration's Federal Technology Service last week amended its strategy for acquiring local phone service to allow for multiple awards. GSA made the change in response to a ruling last month by the U.S. Court of Federal Claims that GSA's previous strategy to award one Metropolitan Area Acquisition (MAA) contract in each area did not comply with procurement reform laws. Winstar Communications Inc. had protested the acquisition strategy in reaction to a solicitation for bids on an MAA contract in the New York City area. GSA last week amended that solicitation as well as solicitations covering the San Francisco and Chicago metro areas.


GSA issues draft SOW for Seat

GSA last week sent a draft statement of work for desktop outsourcing services to the eight vendors that were awarded contracts under its Seat Management program [FCW, July 6]. GSA issued the draft SOW after completing a "total cost of ownership" study to determine how much money the agency spends managing its desktop computing environment, including the cost of maintaining in-house technical expertise. According to the study, the agency pays an average of about $8,200 per computer, GSA officials said.


Senate panel passes security bill

The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation last week passed a bill that would revamp the 10-year-old Computer Security Act and would tap the National Institute of Standards and Technology as the lead agency for information security.

The Computer Security Enhancement Act of 1997, which has been passed by the House, also would require NIST to develop uniform standards and guidelines to secure and protect the privacy of data contained in federal computer systems. It also would establish a national panel for digital signatures to serve as a forum for exploring factors associated with the development of a national information infrastructure.


HCFA launches fraud-fighting pact

The Health Care Financing Administration has released a request for proposals for a $500 million contract for vendors to assist in detecting Medicare fraud.

The multiple indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contracts under the Medicare Integrity Program Safeguard Contract will require contractors to perform claims processing, medical reviews and audits to ferret out fraud.

Scheduled for award in May 1999, about 20 to 30 percent of the contracts would be information technology-related.


GOP fails to influence EIA

Over the resistance of Republican leaders in Congress, the board of the Electronic Industries Alliance last week elected as president former Democratic congressman David McCurdy.

Republican leadership had pressured EIA to appoint a Republican as president. Some leaders reportedly even went so far as to suggest that they would not deal with McCurdy if he were elected.

The Republican effort to influence the party affiliation of a trade-group president surprised other association leaders. "I just don't understand it," said Ken Wasch, president of the Software Publishers Association and a Democrat. "[Trade-group presidents] serve our constituents best when we work in a bipartisan fashion."

Bert Concklin, president of the Professional Services Council, also questioned the Republicans' strong-arm tactics. Trade-group leaders "don't let partisanship or ideology affect how you deal with issues," he said.


DOD preps for Y2K failures

The Defense Department has begun to develop its plan to help state and local governments and key industries manage the failure of critical infrastructures caused by Year 2000 problems.

The Pentagon is creating a "consequence management" plan that would support state and local agencies, such as water utilities and transportation agencies, and private businesses, including telecom and electric companies, if computer systems that support those functions fail on Jan. 1, 2000. The consequence management plan is part of the federal government's overall plan to support lower-level governments and industry if their computers shut down because of Year 2000 problems.

It is logical that DOD play a key role in helping lower-level government agencies and businesses that may experience Year 2000 computer failures because of its nationwide presence and its ability to quickly deploy transportable communications, power and water purification systems, said John Hamre, deputy secretary of Defense.


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