THINKING MACHINES. The Defense Information Systems Agency does not fare especially well in the General Accounting Office's recent report on multiple-award contracts.
Through fiscal 1997, according to GAO, DISA received only one bid for about 44 percent of the task orders placed against its vehicles. Nothing new here. Vendors have complained before that DEIS I and II task orders, for example, tended to gravitate toward incumbent contractors, discouraging potential challengers from going through the effort of submitting a bid.
But the situation may not get any better. GAO reports that DISA has no plans to make it a policy to notify contractors about potential opportunities. Furthermore, DISA apparently has decided that program officials may rely exclusively on an analytic tool to select contractors, based on information about past performance, cost and other data. Talk about high-tech contracting. Some vendors may wish DISA also had instant replay.
DIGITAL OVERLOAD. The Library of Congress last week unveiled a gift that is designed to provide library users with a complete snapshot of the World Wide Web. The gift, a digital sculpture rendered by Alan Rath and presented by the Alexa Internet Web navigation service, contains every page that went live on the Web during January and February last year, all being stored in a 2-terabyte database. The images are plucked randomly from the database and flashed on the tall bank of four computer monitors stacked one on top of the other.
For those who must know, yes, the artist captured all images, including those that appeared on pornographic Web pages. But at one image per second, those with prurient interests might want to just stick to the Starr report.
THE DEPUTY DUO. The Internal Revenue Service this month picked up two new high-level managers it hopes will help the agency carry out its reinvention mandate: deputy commissioner of operations Bob Wenzel and deputy commissioner of modernization John LaFaver.
Wenzel, a former chief operations officer at the IRS, co-chaired a task force that prepared a recent report on reinventing customer service.
LaFaver was secretary of revenue in Kansas, where he created a customer-oriented organizational culture that used state-of-the-art technology to deliver rapid and accurate service to taxpayers. LaFaver also has held the position of revenue commissioner in Maine and Montana.
EC DOES IT. And at the Commerce Department, Secretary William Daley appointed Elliot Maxwell as his new special adviser for electronic commerce.
Maxwell will advise the secretary on how best to fulfill the White House's strategy to increase the use of EC to do business in the so-called emerging digital economy.
In what will be no small task, the White House charged Commerce last year with fostering the use of EC and overseeing seven of 13 EC policy initiatives. Maxwell was previously deputy chief of the Federal Communications Commission's Office of Plans and Policy.
MICRON MUSCLES. Micron Federal is beefing up its outside sales team to compete with the more than 40 pavement pounders that Dell has working the federal agencies. Harry Heisler, the head of federal business for Micron, has picked Tony Colangelo, most recently of Nexar, to direct the growing federal outside sales team.
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