- By Dan Caterinicchia, Dan Caterinicchia
- Apr 23, 2001
Fighting for PKI Dollars
The federal budget does not make sense at the best of times, but it
really gets interesting when a program sort of switches agencies.
The federal public-key infrastructure initiative began at the Treasury
Department as an effort to develop and support the use of digital certificates
across government to facilitate secure electronic transactions. For fiscal
2001, Treas-ury received $3.5 million to support the Federal PKI Steering
Committee, the Federal Bridge Certification Authority and the Federal PKI
Policy Authority, which governs the bridge. For those who might be wondering,
the bridge is the central mechanism that enables the interaction of agency
That money came through in December, the same month Richard Guida, the initiative's
leader, retired from government. Control of the steering committee and the
bridge was then transferred to Judith Spencer at the General Services Administration.
Now the agencies are working to transfer about $1.8 million of the $3.5
million to GSA. The rest will stay with Treasury, since the head of the
policy authority, Michelle Moldenhauer, is still a Treasury employee, according
to sources at the agencies.
And it gets even worse. President Bush included a request for another
$3.5 million for PKI in the federal budget proposal that was released earlier
this month. GSA and Treasury both submitted funding requests to the administration,
but the request was placed for GSA and that is where the money will go
at least until another transfer can make its way through the process to
give Treasury funding for the policy authority.
Last spring, the State Department and the Energy Department received
unwanted attention when computer equipment was lost or stolen from the agencies.
Well, apparently U.S. officials aren't the only ones who have trouble hanging
onto portable computers.
The London Mirror tabloid reported last week that a British Ministry
of Defence laptop containing national security secrets was missing after
an official left it in the back of a taxi. The laptop was said to contain
information about new weapons systems, the Mirror reported.
The official notified police about the missing laptop, but last week's
blunder was the latest in a string of laptops with military or intelligence
information reported lost in Britain since March of last year, the paper
It's good to know we aren't alone. Or is it?
(Re)Wired at Commerce
The Commerce Department hopes to make an award this week for a contract
to rewire its headquarters building in Washington, D.C.
Through the five-year, $6.4 million contract, Commerce will procure
the infrastructure it needs to move to an all-digital department by 2002.
The winning contractor will install fiber-optic cable to create a single
managed backbone to carry voice and data, and will provide services such
as help-desk support.
Three contractors are believed to have bid on the contract after surviving
a down select, including Network Designs Inc. and Computer & Hi-Tech
Former Commerce Secretary William Daley made a pledge about
two years ago to make the department all digital. His plan included building
an intranet for employees, making procurement electronic and revamping the
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