NASA readies e-gov launch

NASA is set to launch a broad effort to streamline its information technology operations in hopes of improving electronic services throughout the agency.

The plan—eNASA—will be rolled out this year, said NASA's chief information officer, Lee Holcomb. It is part of a government.wide trend to develop enterprisewide systems with the goal of saving money and improving standardization and interoperability.

Speaking June 28 at a forum hosted by Computer Marketing Associates Inc., Holcomb said that part of the eNASA plan is simply a more orchestrated way of doing business.

"We're not displacing people. We're not changing contracting vehicles," he said. "We're adding a system integration overlay" to NASA's IT operations. Critics have said NASA often lacks focus on its overall organization because most decisions are made among the space agency's 11 centers.

For example, NASA was supposed to upgrade its agencywide directory systems last year, yet only six of the centers upgraded by September as planned. Now, months later, Holcomb said he has "a directory system that doesn't fully interoperate because five of [the centers] didn't upgrade."

Under eNASA, enterprisewide systems will focus on integration, and funds for those projects will be held centrally with an eye to saving money, he said.

He added that other parts of eNASA will require more significant changes. The agency's new integrated financial management system, to be unveiled at three centers beginning next fiscal year, will be part of the effort.

"We're using the [integrated financial management system] as a driver to identify what things we want to do—and need to do—commonly," he said.

Among other short-term items that will be included in eNASA are a redesigned employee Web portal, called insideNASA, and a redesigned public home page, to be called myNASA, that will allow for more customization; a "team collaboration kit" that will provide project managers with electronic tools to work together more effectively; and improved management of NASA's Web sites.

About the Author

Christopher J. Dorobek is the co-anchor of Federal News Radio’s afternoon drive program, The Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris, and the founder, publisher and editor of the DorobekInsider.com, a leading blog for the Federal IT community.

Dorobek joined Federal News Radio in 2008 with 16 years of experience covering government issues with an emphasis on government information technology. Prior to joining Federal News Radio, Dorobek was editor-in-chief of Federal Computer Week, the leading news magazine for government IT decision-makers and the flagship of the 1105 Government Information Group portfolio of publications. As editor-in-chief, Dorobek served as a member of the senior leadership team at 1105 Government Information Group, providing daily editorial direction and management for FCW magazine, FCW.com, Government Health IT and its other editorial products.

Dorobek joined FCW in 2001 as a senior reporter and assumed increasing responsibilities, becoming managing editor and executive editor before being named editor-in-chief in 2006. Prior to joining FCW, Dorobek was a technology reporter at PlanetGov.com, one of the first online community centers for current and former government employees. He also spent five years at Government Computer News, another leading industry publication, covering a variety of federal IT-related issues.

Dorobek is a frequent speaker on issues involving the government IT industry, and has appeared as a frequent contributor to NewsChannel 8’s Federal News Today program. He began his career as a reporter at the Foster’s Daily Democrat, a daily newspaper in Dover, N.H. He is a graduate of the University of Southern California. He lives in Washington, DC.


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