The Circuit

Take Two and Call Me

Federal information technology security officials are angry about a new rule tucked into the Defense Department's fiscal 2001 authorization bill. It requires security chiefs to compile a report every year on how things are going within their firewalls. That would be fine — except the old rule only required a report every three years, and many agencies were unable to meet that deadline. So security types say they plan to take plenty of aspirin and burn the midnight oil once the Office of Management and Budget sets a deadline for compliance.

Shhhh...No Secrets

The General Accounting Office wants to know how good the security system is at every government agency. At the request of the House Government Management, Information and Technology Subcommittee, GAO is asking chief information officers to answer a series of questions about classified systems. Among the questions: What agencies have computer systems with classified data? What is the most recent date the system was certified and accredited?

Any agency failing to pass muster can expect to spend time and money going through an onerous OMB recertification process.

Census: The Hard Part

As the Census Bureau moves into the next phase of "serious number crunching," it has closed 520 offices that gathered data for last year's head count and has shut down its three data-scanning centers. "We have taken down the whole data communications tree for 520 offices," said J. Gary Doyle, systems integration manager for the agency. The data-screening centers used state-of-the-art technology developed by Lockheed Martin Corp. to read computer forms electronically. But the offices are no longer needed as the Bureau moves into its next phase — crunching the numbers to come up with a demographic portrait of America as it looked on April 1, 2000.


The Circuit launches a new feature on Jan. 22 to chronicle the departures of IT executives from the federal government. Let us know if you're leaving, tell us about conversations at the water cooler, and if you hear any interesting whispers in the hallway, let us know.

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