The Circuit

Move over, Jim Flyzik

If George W. Bush is elected president, our sources tell us that Texas chief information officer Carolyn Purcell is on the short list to become the first federal CIO. She currently is the executive director of the Texas Department of Information Resources and has more than 25 years of experience in information resources in government, manufacturing and health care. She is the former president of the Texas Association of State Systems for Computing and Communications and past president of the National Association of State Information Resource Executives. Reaction was lukewarm from the Democratic camp.

"What I would aim for is someone who has a national reputation, someone more lofty," said one high-level Democrat involved in government IT. His suggestion? GOP stalwart James Barksdale, founder of Netscape Communications Corp.

Rules or Consequences

Taking a hard line on network security, the Defense Department has gone so far as to cut off bases from the department's secure intranet when they do not conform to policy, officials said this month at the National Information Systems Security Conference in Baltimore. DOD has been working for three years to implement its Secret and Below Interoperability initiative, which governs the flow of information between the department's classified and sensitive-but- unclassified networks.

Led by the National Security Agency, the department has been going through each command to ensure that there is a minimum of connections between the two networks. Commanders often have not realized the connection exists, but at other times NSA and the Defense Information Systems Agency have had to explain "the error of their ways," said Warner Brake, deputy chief of the Information Assurance Implementation Branch at the Defense Information Systems Agency. This has even meant disconnecting a base from the Secret Internet Protocol Router Network until it met DOD's security requirements. The disconnect doesn't last long, however, because commanders usually come to see the light fairly quickly, Brake said.

Debugging the Bugs

The Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board said it is making progress on its new recordkeeping system that has been delayed by software problems. The Thrift Savings Plan recordkeeping system will offer federal employees new retirement features, including two new investment funds.

Vendor American Management Systems Inc. said that as of Oct. 18, the percentage of tests producing successful results had increased to 51 percent. This is up from 26 percent reported in mid- September. More than 7,300 software bugs have been found in the system test to date, with more than 1,500 of these yet to be resolved. The board expects to roll out the system next spring.

The Littlest CIO

K. Adair Martinez, CIO at the Veterans Benefits Administration, reports that after sev- eral months of "pre- production," Katherine Christine Dorothy Herbert decided to "roll out" and join her mother and father on Oct. 19. K.C. weighed in at 8 pounds, 2.5 ounces and 21.5 inches long. As the proud new mom put it, "Thank you all for your interest, concern and support during this "applications development.' "

Have a tip? Send it to [email protected].


  • Federal 100 Awards
    Federal 100 logo

    Nominations for the 2021 Fed 100 are now being accepted

    The deadline for submissions is Dec. 31.

  • Government Innovation Awards
    Government Innovation Awards -

    Congratulations to the 2020 Rising Stars

    These early-career leaders already are having an outsized impact on government IT.

Stay Connected