Briefs

Rep.: Limit NMCI tests

The chairman of a House Armed Services subcommittee informed the Defense Department that before the Navy expands the deployment of its intranet, it must first submit an evaluation report to Congress.

In a letter to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Rep. Curt Weldon (R-Pa.), chairman of the Military Readiness Subcommittee, asked that cost-effective test and evaluation practices be used to measure the Navy Marine Corps Intranet to avoid "unnecessarily extending the certifications process."

Before NMCI contractor Electronic Data Systems Corp. receives the go-ahead to expand its NMCI deployment beyond the current limit of 15 percent of Navy personnel for fiscal 2002, Congress has to receive a Naval operational test and evaluation report on the initial deployment.

If the Navy were to test NMCI the way it tests weapons systems, contractor personnel would not be present during testing, said Capt. Chris Christopher, a Navy Department deputy program executive officer for information technology. Such a condition wouldn't work because NMCI cannot exist without EDS operating the help desk and networks, he said.

EDS and Navy officials are still negotiating the terms and price of the operational test and evaluation, which was to take place in August and September. However, some EDS and Navy officials are concerned that the process could drag on until February 2002 if NMCI is subjected to the same testing process as a new weapons system.

IRS project running over budget

The Internal Revenue Service's plan to modernize its data management system is running behind schedule and over budget, according to the General Accounting Office.

Completion of the preliminary design for the Customer Account Data Engine proj.ect — which will replace an outdated system that has used tape to store tax returns and tax account data since the 1960s — will be late and costlier than expected. The system is part of the IRS' business systems modernization initiative.

According to the GAO report, the problems occurred because the IRS added new requirements for the project that took extra time and work. The report also stated that IRS officials have not figured out how to integrate the project with the agency's enterprise architecture, the blueprint for running its computer systems.

Republicans unveil e-contract

House Republicans last week unveiled their e-Contract with High-Tech America, which opposes Internet taxation, favors permanent research and development tax credits and supports free trade.

"We stand for reduced taxation, regulation and litigation to prevent government from stifling innovation," said Rep. Dick Armey (R-Texas).

The contract calls for tax cuts that encourage capital formation and investment, opposes "frivolous lawsuits that stifle economic growth" and encourages private-sector innovation, creativity and competition.

Forum surveys federal kiosks

A first-of-its-kind survey seeks to determine the extent of federal kiosk programs and gather information about agency kiosk projects.

The newly created federal Interagency Kiosk Forum plans to use the survey's findings to explore creating joint kiosks or a single interagency kiosk with content provided by all federal agencies. The latter approach would enable agencies to formulate a common kiosk program so citizens would not be confronted with scores of kiosks from individual government organizations.

The forum is circulating a two-page survey that asks agencies about the number of kiosks they have, the percentage that are accessible to people with disabilities, what technologies the kiosks use, what functions they perform and how much the agencies expect to spend on them.

Participants are also asked about their short- and long-term plans for introducing new kiosks and are given the opportunity to rank the capabilities and features they would most like to see in a kiosk.

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