The Circuit

Behind the Mona Lisa

The security problem that put former CIA Director John Deutch in hot water may soon be a thing of the past. Chief information officers at various agencies are looking into supplying Cabinet secretaries with secure systems in their homes so that they can work on classified documents in the comfort of their own living rooms.

The first problem is installing a vault to store classified disks, and the second is making sure that the systems are hack-proof. Eventually, the security hounds hope to install encrypted lines to the homes of Cabinet secretaries to keep their secrets safe.

We hear that Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers may be first in line to get this great new system so that he can keep up with markets around-the-clock and make sure that threats to global financial systems remain dormant.

No one said anything about sleeping.

Talk of My Demise is Greatly Exaggerated

When a workaholic takes a vacation, people are bound to talk. And the talk turned to speculation about whether IRS CIO Paul Cosgrave, who was not at his downtown post for two weeks, is leaving. No way, Cosgrave told us. He said the two weeks he took off recently was the first vacation he's had in the two years he has been on the job.

"Here's my response," he said. "I have a four-year term, and I'm two years into my term. Ask me two years from now."

Just for the record, Cosgrave said he's taking seven weeks off this year, including two without pay. And if you want to call that a sabbatical, go right ahead.

Build it and They Will Come

The e-mail is flying in to the World Wide Web site that Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.) and his counterpart Sen. Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.) created to collect public comments about government [FCW, May 22]. You can read all the comments on the site, which include suggestions for giving government employees free computers at home, an offer of free software and even comments on what's wrong with the site.

"I found your Web site a bit difficult to use," said one citizen. And from another anonymous reader, "Many of the federal Web pages have become a site of self praise without usable public comment." The Web site is located at

Reality Check

Candi Harrison, the Web manager at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, told attendees at the E-Gov conference in Washington, D.C., July 10 that her team of management analysts are working on the next-generation HUD site. But don't expect too much sophistication. She said her team knows they can't have flashy graphics because HUD is still "trying to reach people with 14.4 [kilobits/sec] modems...and there are plenty of them out there."

A sizable portion of the site will be database-driven, but not all of it. We find it refreshing that someone out there actually knows who her customers are.

Nanny Inflation

If you're thinking of moving to Silicon Valley because the weather is nicer than in steamy Washington, D.C, consider this: The cost of hiring a nanny has skyrocketed out on the left coast, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

The labor market is so tight that nannies are commanding as much as $35,000 a year or $18 to $20 an hour, not to mention college tuition, health insurance, a car and even a health club membership. Makes the second high-tech capital look more appealing now, doesn't it?


  • Defense
    The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) reveal concept renderings for the Next NGA West (N2W) campus from the design-build team McCarthy HITT winning proposal. The entirety of the campus is anticipated to be operational in 2025.

    How NGA is tackling interoperability challenges

    Mark Munsell, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s CTO, talks about talent shortages and how the agency is working to get more unclassified data.

  • Veterans Affairs
    Veterans Affairs CIO Jim Gfrerer speaks at an Oct. 10 FCW event (Photo credit: Troy K. Schneider)

    VA's pivot to agile

    With 10 months on the job, Veterans Affairs CIO Jim Gfrerer is pushing his organization toward a culture of constant delivery.

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