Fedwire Briefs

DOD awards interim contracts

The Defense Department last week selected two vendors to supply and manage digital certificates that will provide the security underpinnings for transactions between DOD and its vendors on three key department applications.

Operational Research Consultants Inc. and Digital Signature Trust Co., the first two interim external certificate authorities, will support DOD public-key infrastructure by providing digital certificates that will verify the identities of parties participating in transactions. DOD officials say they may select additional contractors during the next two or three weeks.

For the complete story, see "DOD awards interim contracts".

Bill would let inmate shop compete

The House Crime Subcommittee last week forwarded to the full Judiciary Committee a bill that would allow a federal work training program for prison inmates to compete with commercial businesses.

The bill, H.R. 2558, would allow Federal Prison Industries Inc., which is part of the Justice Department's Bureau of Prisons and also is known as UNICOR, to sell its products and services, including information technology such as Web-page coding, data entry and digital mapping, commercially.

The bill also would continue to require federal agencies to give UNICOR products priority "if UNICOR can provide the desired products on time and at competitive prices."

A competing bill, H.R. 2551, would require UNICOR to follow the same federal rules that companies follow when competing for government contracts.

GSA foils AT& T long-distance bid

AT& T will have to perform acceptably on its local telecommunications service contracts before GSA allows the company to offer long-distance service through those vehicles, according to GSA administrator David Barram in a letter written this month to the chairman of the House Government Reform Committee, Rep. Dan Burton (R-Ind.).

Burton wrote to Barram in July demanding that AT& T be allowed to offer long-distance service to federal agencies by Dec. 18, a year after GSA awarded the first FTS 2001 long-distance contract to Sprint. The second FTS 20001 contract was awarded to MCI in January.

Although AT& T did not win a contract for the FTS 2001 long-distance network, GSA's acquisition strategy would allow AT& T, as the winner of three GSA contracts for local service, to compete for long-distance service as early as Dec. 18, pending GSA's approval.

Barram's letter did not reflect any intention to allow AT& T to offer long-distance service that soon, but it said GSA would be willing to accept a proposal from AT& T on its plans to offer long-distance service through its GSA contracts.

An AT& T spokeswoman said the company will submit a proposal to offer long-distance service on its contracts this week.

Sprint's Lewin resigns

Jim Lewin, vice president of government affairs at Sprint, plans to leave his job Oct. 1 and begin working as a consultant to the company. A statement from Sprint issued late last week said Lewin, who arrived at the company in March 1993, was leaving to spend more time with his family.

Before his stint with Sprint, Lewin served on the staff of former Texas Rep. Jack Brooks and was instrumental in creating the General Services Administration's FTS 2000 governmentwide telecommunications program.

Interior awards upgrade pact

The Interior Department's Minerals Management Service signed a seven-year, $47 million contract with Andersen Consulting last week to upgrade and enhance the system used to account for and disburse the billions of dollars in revenues the government collects from companies extracting minerals from federal and American Indian lands.

During the first two years of the contract, Andersen Consulting will design and build the new Royalty Management Program, which will include financial modules, a data warehouse, workflow design and data administration.

During the remainder of the contract, Andersen Consulting will operate and support the program. Revenues being processed through the Royalty Management Program have topped $5 billion annually in recent years.

FAA wants to extend WAAS

The Federal Aviation Administration announced last week that it intends to extend by six years the Wide-Area Augmentation System contract held by Raytheon Co.

FAA plans to extend the WAAS contract, which would build a satellite-based navigation system for aviation, from November 2002 to September 2008, pending congressional funding approval. The FAA still plans to finish deploying the first phase of WAAS in September 2000. The FAA needs the extra six years to complete the full WAAS rollout.

Commerce moving to digital

Karen Hogan, director of the Commerce Department's Digital Department initiative, plans to brief Commerce secretary William Daley Sept. 27 on a plan to move the department from a paper-based bureaucracy to an all-digital department by 2002. This summer, Commerce officials said the plan likely will start with rewiring the department's headquarters and building a secure intranet. [FCW, July 5]

In addition, Commerce this week plans to send to Congress legislation that would close the National Technical Information Center, which sells government documents to the public. In draft legislation obtained by FCW, the Library of Congress would act as a repository for NTIS' federal scientific, technical and engineering documents, and the Government Printing Office would be responsible for making them available to the Federal Depository Libraries. Meanwhile, agencies would keep scientific and technical documents online for at least five years, according to the draft legislation.

Commerce wants to close NTIS because the public can access the documents for free on agency World Wide Web sites.


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