VHA CIO joins private sectorDave Albinson left his position as chief information officer of the Veterans Health Administration Oct. 15 to take a job in the private sector. Albinson, who served as CIO for more than three years, is joining Universal Systems Inc. as a vice president to manage the company's health care systems business. Prior to joining VHA, Albinson served as senior vice president for management information systems at Tenet Healthcare Corp.

VHA has not named a replacement.

NASA funding restoredCongress last week approved an appropriations bill that restores to the NASA budget $1 billion that had been cut from the agency in previous versions.

H.R. 2684, which now goes to the president for signing, gives NASA $13.65 billion in fiscal 2000. The bill, which also funds the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, includes $126 million for federal information technology research projects.

DOD radio funding cutCongress slashed $20 million from the Pentagon's budget for a radio designed to help downed pilots stranded behind enemy lines call for help as well as automatically pinpoint their position and relay that information to rescue aircraft.

Congress did not provide any reasons for the cuts in a report on the fiscal 2000 Defense Department appropriations bill passed last week by the House. However, earlier this year the Pentagon's Operational Test and Evaluation Directorate called the version of the Combat Survivor Evader Locator it tested "not effective and not suitable." The Pentagon intends to acquire more than 50,000 CSEL radios for Army, Navy and Air Force aircrews from the Space and Missile Systems Division of Boeing Co. under a $220 million contract.

OFPP upholds GSA policyThe Office of Federal Procurement Policy last week denied a protest by an association of government contractors that sought to abolish the General Services Administration's policy of allowing agencies to conduct audits after a contract is awarded and demand price adjustments. The Government Electronics and Information Technology Association filed its protest in June, arguing that a GSA price-reduction clause did not comply with the Federal Acquisition Regulation. Under the policy, agencies have two years to verify privacy information submitted by vendors through post-award audits. OFPP decided that it is reasonable for GSA to use the clause to negotiate good initial prices on contracts instead of relying on head-to-head vendor competition. n

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