Letters to the Editor

Picking the Perfect Option

In "The price of (near) perfection" [FCW, Aug. 28], the chief information officer at Goddard Space Flight Center, Milton Halem, asked what it would cost to give Goddard's e-mail servers "99.999 percent" reliability.

I submit that no organization can reasonably justify the cost of providing a maximum of 5.526 seconds of downtime per year for e-mail. It's one thing to require perfection in heart valves and quite another for computer systems.

Instead of reaching for nirvana at taxpayer expense, NASA should first determine its real need for uptime and then look at options. The General Services Administration's advocacy of requirements analysis and analysis of alternatives is just common sense.

Victor H. Agresti

Senior Program Manager

Justice Department

Clearing the Way for Contractors

This is in response to the letter regarding turning over the "keys to the kingdom" of the Navy/Marine Corps Intranet to a contractor and the resulting extremist risks to security mentioned in "Contracting with Big Brother?" [FCW, April 24].

Does this "government worker" believe that contractors, working for our government, are any less patriotic or security-cleared than actual workers on the government payroll?

Certainly, having cleared personnel would be prudent for any such systems administration, and whether a person is paid directly by a government bureaucracy — with all the excessive costs associated with that — or paid on a contract basis does not reflect his or her ability to support sensitive systems with good security. It's called clearance, and it works as well for contractors as it does for direct civil servants.

This typical attitude that work can only be done by government-payrolled workers with their renowned sloth and attitude for noncompetitiveness is what is holding our country back. And that, my friend, poses a great security risk for us all — and not just job security either.

Name withheld upon request

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