The Circuit

Treasury CIO Office Makeover

Mayi Canales, the new acting chief information officer at the Treasury Department, said the department is tapping PricewaterhouseCoopers to work on a 30-day report on how to re-engineer the CIO's office.

The company will review the core functions and staffing requirements of the office in May and then feed the results to a business re-engineering team, which will determine how to "streamline the organization and improve performance." She expects the project to be completed by Aug. 31.

One of the goals of the process is to retain information technology workers, Canales said at a conference on competitive sourcing and performance-based contracting co-hosted by Potomac Forum Ltd. and Federal Sources Inc.

But the responsibilities of federal IT workers have changed in recent years. "We no longer need IT workers who do programming," she said. The department's goal is to seek IT workers who have project management skills, who are business- and results-oriented, and who can assess what is related to Treasury's mission and develop creative ways to streamline operations.

Stop Calling!

The General Services Administration obviously did something right. Apparently, there is a lot of interest in GSA's new governmentwide contract for IT vendors certified under the Small Business Administration's Historically Underutilized Business Zones (HUBZone) economic development program. So much so that the contracting officer is getting overwhelmed.

For instance, take a look at the following April 22 FedBizOpps notice:

"I have received many phone calls pertaining to the status of the HUBZone IT proposal evaluations. My standard response has been that I can't say much, we are diligently evaluating, the offer acceptance period was set to a minimum of 160 calendar days on purpose and that official declarations of the government will come on this Web site," the contracting officer wrote. "While I appreciate your interest, please do not call with a question regarding the status of evaluations. When I have information to share, I will make an appropriate public declaration."

It's probably one of the more polite "go away" messages ever posted on the Web.

Patchy Support

The Federal Computer Incident Response Center's (FedCIRC) new security patch dissemination system is receiving support from the top security executive in the Bush administration. The service is free to agencies and allows them to register to receive only the patches that match the software on their network.

At a GSA user conference in Orlando, Fla., April 17, Richard Clarke, the president's cyberspace security adviser, urged agencies to use the service, which offers "a solution to the low-hanging fruit, making it harder for hackers and attackers to get into your systems the easy way."

However, some agency officials are reluctant to participate, one FedCIRC official said. Despite the obvious benefits that could come from Clarke's support and finally controlling known security vulnerabilities, some agency officials told FedCIRC that they fear that giving the vendor running the dissemination service a "profile" of the software and operating systems on the agency's network will create another security risk, the official said.

"I don't know what they think that risk is, but it's something we're going to have to work on," the official said.

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