The Circuit

A Change in Command?

President Bush evidently agrees with at least one Clinton policy — the need to protect computer systems that are vital to the nation's security. But he has his own ideas about how to make it happen.

Sources say Bush is mulling the idea of putting the Defense Department in charge of critical infrastructure protection, which was mandated by Presidential Decision Directive 63. DOD, the thinking goes, is the natural setting for anything related to national security, and the Pentagon would provide the much-needed stronger leadership.

Indeed, there's growing concern that agencies may not meet the 2003 deadline, and a coterie of critics blames poor coordination at the top. Clinton, who signed PDD-63 in 1998, was concerned that critical infrastructure protection, given the extensive involvement of civilian agencies and private industry, blurs the traditional definition of national security and doesn't fit the Pentagon mindset.

Battle lines are being drawn.

Food for Thought

It looks like an uphill battle for knowledge management.

One of the biggest obstacles to making a knowledge management program work is creating a knowledge-driven culture, said Gabrielle Boko, senior director of global markets operations at Cognos Corp., at the E-Gov Knowledge Management conference in Washington, D.C.

Cognos is doing its part, providing software to analyze agencies' information and track their successes and failures. But Boko said that the knowledge culture "needs to be encouraged, not mandated." She also advocated encouraging participation through compensation bonuses.

The secret to success is no mandates and more money. After perusing the latest budget numbers, all we have to say is this: Good luck.

CSC Opens New Doors for IRS

Computer Sciences Corp. last week held a groundbreaking ceremony for the Maryland Technology Center, a "build-to-suit" facility of 327,000 square feet that will house about 1,200 employees, all supporting CSC's work on the Internal Revenue Service's Prime contact.

CSC is building the center directly across from the IRS building in New Carrollton, Md. The new building will consolidate personnel devoted to IRS Prime currently spread out in various locations, as well as accommodate anticipated growth, according to the company.

The event was a star-studded affair, with Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and IRS Commissioner Charles Rossotti exuding optimism that the IRS' modernization efforts will finally bear fruit.

Millions of taxpayers are hoping it does, too.

All Aboard

The FirstGov Web portal is constantly expanding in the federal arena, but now state and local governments are looking to increase their involvement.

FirstGov already links to state and local sites. During the last few months, though, the FirstGov staff at the General Services Administration has received requests for the portal's search engine to catalog state and local pages for future searches, said John Sindelar, deputy associate administrator of GSA's Office of Governmentwide Policy.

The fiscal 2002 budget request released by President Bush last week includes $3 million for the FirstGov program, and that money will help get planning for the state and local effort off the ground. But before any actual work in that area can happen, Sindelar said, a lot more money is needed. n Have a tip? Send it to circuit@fcw.com.

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