The Circuit

Schmidt on Board

The new Critical Infrastructure Protection Board is tapping a well-known Microsoft Corp. executive as the private- sector vice chairman of the panel, according to one official involved in the process.

Howard Schmidt, who has been a key industry partner in federal critical infrastructure protection efforts, will take the position on the board, which President Bush established to oversee the protection of the information systems that support the nation's critical infrastructures, such as telecommunications and transportation.

Other cybersecurity types will take seats on the board, too. The chairman of the Executive Branch Information Systems Security Committee will be Glenn Schlarman, senior security analyst at the Office of Management and Budget's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, according to the official.

John Tritak, director of the Critical Infrastructure Assurance Office, will be chairman of the Private Sector and State and Local Government Outreach Committee, said Paul Kurtz, director of critical infrastructure under Cyberspace Security Adviser Richard Clarke.

New Jobs for Nuke Techs

Specially trained Energy Department security teams have been on high alert since Sept. 11, guarding U.S. nuclear facilities against attack. But the department is waging a more subtle campaign against terrorism overseas.

Through a program called Initiatives for Proliferation Prevention, DOE is investing in commercial ventures that could create new jobs for Russian weapons scientists and technicians.

With $24.5 million to invest last year, DOE helped fund ventures that employed former weapons scientists to develop radar that can search for coal and oil. Others are working to develop a robot system for removing land mines and to build advanced prosthetic devices for mine victims.

The Blade Cuts 'Em Up

During the introduction for OMB Director Mitchell Daniels Jr. at a recent National Press Club luncheon, the audience learned that President Bush refers to Daniels as "the Blade" because of his budget-cutting ways. But rather than slashing dollars, Daniels used his sharp wit to loosen up the crowd.

He retold the story of a woman who approached him after a speech years ago to thank him and gushed that his words were "simply superfluous." She then asked if his remarks would be published. Realizing the woman's (we hope) incorrect word choice, Daniels responded with one of his own: "I doubt it...unless posthumously." Her reply: "I do hope that will be soon."

The Press Club crowd wasn't nearly so brutal, instead questioning Daniels about such topics as emergency spending and homeland security budgets.

Art for Art's Sake

Even the art world needs information technology. Or so it seems for the National Gallery of Art, which recently issued a notice for a new Collection Management System for all those Rembrandts, Raphaels and Matisses — 120,000 objects in all inside the cool walls of the art museum. The CMS has 10 major subsystems, eight for managing objects and the others for managing people or institutions that have relationships "to the objects, such as artists, donors and lenders." The cost of the project is expected to be more than $1 million. Any artsy software out there, anyone?

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