CSC to helm EPA data exchange

Placing it at the helm of a major information sharing initiative, Computer Sciences Corp. scored a large e-government contract March 28 from the Environmental Protection Agency.

CSC will manage EPA's Central Data Exchange (CDX), a portal for receiving and retrieving environmental reporting from federal agencies, state and local governments, tribal communities and regulated industries.

The General Services Administration granted the task order — estimated at $285 million over seven years — under the Federal Technology Service's Millennia, a $25 billion multiple-award contract for information technology services.

CDX is EPA's entry point on its National Environmental Information Exchange Network, a developing Internet-based system that links the federal government with states.

"A lot of this is driven by [the Paperwork Reduction Act]," said Dale Luddeke, vice president of resource and environmental services at CSC. "And this is EPA's step in that direction. We want to take what everybody's doing and create a common area."

Participants will format data using Extensible Markup Language and post it at agreed-upon intervals to Web sites that serve as nodes, allowing the agency and, eventually, other partners to access the information directly.

EPA and state officials envision benefits that include lower-cost, higher-quality data, improved information management and better environmental policy. The agency received $25 million for fiscal 2002 — with $2.5 million set aside for tribes — for a grant program in support of the network. The money will go toward data modernization and integration efforts.

In the beginning, the system will be limited to information already being shared. "It will expand to other participants as their interest and the capacity of the network allow. The ultimate vision is a broad and diverse web of quality information, but the design begins small," says a blueprint for the network, updated last year. CSC and EPA plan to have CDX fully operational by the fall.

"It's not going to happen overnight," Luddeke said. "There are a lot of opportunities to share technology and business processes."

About CSC 140 employees will operate and maintain the portal from New Carrollton, Md. The company has teamed with Concurrent Technologies Corp. Creative Information Technology Inc., Digital Signature Trust Co., Grant Thornton, InfoPro Inc., Lexign Inc., SeeBeyond Technology Corp. and Systems Integration Group Inc.

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