Set-Asides

Admin: Bill would help prevent terrorism

The Clinton administration last week told a House subcommittee that a bill limiting the disclosure of information about hazards at chemical plants would help prevent terrorism.

The measure, proposed by the administration and sponsored by Rep. Thomas Bliley (R-Va.), would not allow assessments of worst-case accident scenarios to be copied, either from paper or electronic formats. People who want to read the reports could do so in libraries or government reading rooms but would be allowed access only to a limited number of reports.

Environmental advocates told the House Commerce Committee's Health and Environment Subcommittee that the bill would frustrate grass-roots efforts to reduce chemical pollution and would do nothing to make the plants that use dangerous materials safer and less vulnerable to attack.

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DISA searches for IECA

The Defense Information Systems Agency is looking for a vendor to serve as an interim external certificate authority (IECA) for several Defense Department systems and programs that must be able to interact with the public by June.

DISA released a solicitation for the IECA this month to move to the next stage of the DOD public-key infrastructure initiative. The DOD PKI will provide a secure foundation, based on digital certificates, for electronic commerce programs such as Wide-Area Workflow, Electronic Document Access and the Defense Travel System.

An IECA is needed because many DOD programs must be made available to non-DOD users immediately, according to a DISA spokeswoman. There already is an internal certificate authority that manages and monitors the certificates for PKI within DOD, but permanent external certificate authorities will not be put in place for commercial users, Defense contractors and other government users of DOD programs until later this year.

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OPM launches Y2K campaign

The Office of Personnel Management last week launched a media campaign to assure federal employees, retirees and their families that their federal health and life insurance programs, retirement benefits and other services will be unaffected by the Year 2000 computer problem.

During a press conference at OPM, officials released a public service announcement and a radio announcement in Spanish and English to inform the public of OPM's Year 2000 status.

Federal employees and retirees can access the bilingual radio hot line by dialing (202) 606-0839, Ext. 30.

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