GovNet decision nears

The White House is almost ready to make its decision on whether to go forward with the GovNet secure intranet for critical federal applications, a top federal official said Jan. 23.

Within the next two weeks, federal security experts will brief Richard Clarke, President Bush's cyberspace security adviser, on the assessment of more than 160 industry proposals for building GovNet, said Sallie McDonald, assistant commissioner for information assurance and critical infrastructure protection at the General Services Administration's Federal Technology Service.

In October 2001, GSA, on behalf of Clarke and the Critical Infrastructure Protection Board, issued a request for information on how to build a separate intranet for critical government applications that cannot risk being vulnerable to cyberattacks.

If Clarke decides to move forward with the GovNet initiative, GSA will start developing technical requirements and will look at examples from other federal secure intranets to develop an acquisition strategy, McDonald said at the Potomac Forum Ltd.'s Computer Security and Information Assurance Conference in Washington, D.C.

The General Accounting Office is reviewing the GovNet concept and congressional hearings are planned — two situations that could delay action should Clarke decide to go forward, McDonald said. But once the acquisition starts, it should take eight months to make an award to industry, she said.

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