The Circuit

Peer Pressure

FirstGov, the new federal government Internet portal, may raise the standards for agency Web sites, according to David Barram, administrator of the General Services Administration, which oversaw creation of the portal. The site, which went online Sept. 22, has already had an impact — agencies are more conscious of the appearance and quality of their Web sites, according to Barram. "It's as if I came down the street and said all of the houses look good except yours," he said.

Business is Booming

Meanwhile, GSA is getting ready to award an estimated $1 billion services blanket purchase agreement, according to William Gormley, assistant commissioner at the Office of Acquisition in GSA's Federal Supply Service. No word yet on who the customer is.

Other things are brewing at GSA, too, including a plan to require all GSA contractors to register on GSA Advantage by next July. Contractors should expect a letter in the next couple of weeks on the specifics. GSA also is working to add seat management to the schedules and has beefed up its new Office of Sales by hiring about 12 national account managers to focus on new sales. Business definitely must be good.

Olympic Trials

When the world's best athletes gather in Salt Lake City for the Winter Olympics in 2002, the Justice Department will be flexing some new communications muscles. Assistant Attorney General Stephen Colgate, the chief information officer for the Justice Department, said the agency will use the games to showcase a secure wireless communications network for law enforcement. With it, all law enforcement agents — federal, state and local — would be able to communicate with each other via one system. Justice has already been field-testing the technology, Colgate said.

Rolling Along

The Transportation Department's new Chief Information Officers Council kicked off last month with a meeting to charter the organization. After approving the charter, representatives from all DOT operating administrations established committees to focus on information security architecture across the agency, capital planning, e-government and defining the roles and responsibilities of CIOs, said DOT's own CIO, George Molaski. Roll up your sleeves, George, there is much to be done.

Clearing the Air

Contractors and Federal Aviation Administration information security workers weren't the only ones scrutinized by members of the House Science Committee during a hearing Sept. 27 on computer security controls at the FAA. Agency Administrator Jane Garvey found herself under the micro-scope, too. She had to defend her own security clearance after the committee chairman, Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis.), noted that Garvey's security clearance was updated just prior to the hearing even though it had expired in 1998. Not so, said an FAA spokesman. There is no problem with Garvey's security clearance, and it has never lapsed. The spokesman blamed a communications snafu between the FAA and the General Accounting Office. Wireless desperately needed here!

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