GAO: Results mixed on task-order competition
While procurement reform endorsed multiple-award contracts as a way to foster competition among vendors, agencies vary in their efforts to promote competition on subsequent task orders, according to a General Accounting Office report released last week.
In a review of six agencies, GAO found that two organizations achieved consistent competition for task orders— a group at the Air Force Electronic Systems Center and the General Services Administration— while four experienced "more difficulty in obtaining competition for sophisticated [information technology] requirements."
The other agencies reviewed were the Defense Information Systems Agency, the Transportation Department, the National Institutes of Health and the Air Force Standard Systems Group.
Digital signature bill OK'd
The Senate last week passed one of Congress' first major pieces of legislation on digital signatures, giving the go-ahead to the Government Paperwork Elimination Act as part of the larger Internet Tax Freedom Act.
The legislation would require the Commerce Department to create within 12 months a way for each agency to make federal forms such as tax forms, compliance information and job applications available electronically and to allow citizens to sign the forms with digital signatures. Agencies then would have three years to make the transition.
CIOs form security site
The security committee of the CIO Council has launched a proof of concept for a World Wide Web site that would offer a "Yellow Pages" for information security products recommended by agencies that have used them. The information, which is being compiled by the U.S. Agency for International Development and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, is expected to be posted via the Web in 1999.
Education misses Y2K deadline
The Education Department missed the governmentwide Sept. 30 deadline for fixing the Year 2000 problem in all its mission-critical systems and has lagged in its individual goals for renovating less important systems, agency officials said.
Acting Deputy Secretary of Education Marshall Smith told a House subcommittee this month that of the department's 14 mission-critical systems, two remain unrenovated: the department's local-area network and the system that manages information on recipients of Pell grants. Smith said the department should have the two systems renovated by the end of the year.
Army plans fast logistics award
The Army plans to run an accelerated procurement for its $1 billion-plus logistics modernization program. The Army's Communications-Electronics Command (Cecom), which manages the Wholesale Logistics Modernization Program (WLMP) plans to release the final request for proposals Nov. 20, with bids due
Jan. 12 and the award expected in the first half of next year. Gen. Johnnie Wilson, commander of the Army Materiel Command (AMC), Cecom's parent command, plans to forward a request for a formal approval for WLMP to the Army secretariat before the end of the month.
The Army plans to use WLMP to modernize systems that help manage an inventory valued at $9 billion and to rely on just-in-time-delivery practices to supply troops with everything from helmets to helicopters.