The Circuit

Circuit took to the road for the 16th annual Information Processing Interagency Conference in Orlando, Fla.

This year's theme at IPIC was the circus, but there was no clowning around as industry and government executives put their heads together to figure out how to get connected — the subject of this year's gathering.

"We haven't done a good job of sharing information intelligence with the law enforcement community," said Jim Flyzik, chief information officer at the Treasury Department.

However, Flyzik pointed to one piece of good news. Law enforcement at the recent Salt Lake City Olympics were linked together on a common wireless communications system. It was the first time that federal, state and local public safety officials could communicate over one system, and it is a prototype for future communications systems.

Meanwhile, other government officials said that the public could get used to the idea of some kind of national ID.

"We've never sold the benefits to the American people. They don't know what those benefits are," said Paul Brubaker, chief executive officer of Aquilent, which was spun off recently from Commerce One Inc.'s e-government division.

Flyzik added, "Since [Sept. 11], people's attitudes have changed. It is a window of opportunity. The American people are all of a sudden trusting their government [because] the bad guys are trying to kill us, folks."

Asked to predict what's coming in the next year, here's what some had to say:

* States will begin issuing their own identity cards for citizens, said Greg Dicks, vice president of federal systems for Entrust Inc.

* A paperless retirement application will be available on the Web, said Tony Trenkle, associate deputy commissioner for electronic services at the Social Security Administration.

* Processing time for Small Business Administration loans will drop from five days to two hours, said Larry Barrett, chief information officer for the Small Business Administration.

Comings and Goings

In roster news heard at the show, Perry Plexico, deputy director at the National Institutes of Health's Center for Information Technology, retired at the end of last month after 40 years of government service. Plexico plans to consult part-time, starting with a stint at NIH. Meanwhile, Gary Christoph, chief information officer at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (formerly the Health Care Financing Administration), has taken over Plexico's post at NIH.

Mark Hagerty, formerly program manager for the Outsourcing Desktop Initiative for NASA contract, is now chief of the new office of mission assurance at the National Security Agency. The office is still defining its focus, but it will likely include business continuity as part of its mission, Hagerty said.

Richard Lieber, principal of acquisition services at the Transportation Department's Transportation Administrative Service Center, is on detail at the new Transportation Security Administration as procurement executive.

Robert Dickson, executive director of the State Department's Bureau of Administration, is now working at research and consulting firm Acquisition Solutions Inc. as a principal.

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