Intercepts

The Kitchen Sink, Too

The Army had its turn in the spotlight last week for its problems with abuse of government-issued credit cards. And you can add cruises, Internet gambling and strip clubs to the list of what personnel paid for with the credit cards.

"The General Accounting Office has found everything but the kitchen sink. And now we found that, too," said Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa).

"We have found government employees using their cards to make mortgage payments and pay closing costs, to buy cars, an engagement ring, racetrack betting, Elvis photos from Graceland, a framed John Elway jersey, a trip to the Rose Bowl game and even Caribbean cruises," Grassley said. "You name it, they're doing it."

The July 18 hearing by the House Government Reform Committee's Government Efficiency, Financial Management and Intergovernmental Relations Subcommittee was the latest in a series of audits looking at the Defense Department's poor management of the credit cards.

Lawmakers were clearly tired of hearing about problems. "A program that was designed to streamline bureaucracy has instead made it easier for an employee to buy personal items — and on the federal government's tab," said Rep. Janice Schakowsky (D-Ill.), the subcommittee's ranking member.

DOD has been working to improve management of the program by slashing the number of cards issued across the department and reducing the number of cards that supervisors can oversee at one time so they can keep better tabs on purchases, said Deidre Lee, director of Defense procurement.

Rep. Steve Horn (R-Calif.), chairman of the subcommittee, promised still more hearings on this issue before he leaves office at the end of this term.

Top Dog

Following months of speculation that there would be a change in the information technology leadership at the Marine Corps, the service earlier this month named Brig. Gen. John Thomas as the new chief information officer.

Thomas has been serving as the deputy director for Marine Corps command, control, communications and computers (C4).

He replaces Brig. Gen. Robert Shea, who is going to U.S. Forces Japan to serve as deputy commander.

Thomas had served as deputy director for C4 since Aug. 20, 2001. He was promoted to his current rank Jan. 1, 2000.

Thomas is a graduate of Appalachian State University with a bachelor of science degree in education, Prairie View A&M University with a master's in business administration and the Naval War College with a master of science in national security and strategic studies.

NMCI Bill of Rights

The scores of people unhappy with the Navy Marine Corps Intranet — at least judging by the number of e-mails we receive regularly — will be happy to know that they now have their own bill of rights.

EDS, lead vendor for the Navy's effort to create a single network across more than 400,000 shore-based seats, has published an NMCI user's bill of rights.

What rights does an NMCI user have? Well, they include the following:

* Hardware, network and applications will be available 99.5 percent of the time.

* Access to standardized software and hardware tools will guarantee interoperability.

* Standard NMCI software will be updated every 24 months.

* Workstations will be refreshed every 36 months.

* The security of the environment will be assessed constantly and protected against vulnerabilities.

There are others, but we assume you get the point.

Intercept something? Send it to antenna@fcw.com.

About the Author

Christopher J. Dorobek is the co-anchor of Federal News Radio’s afternoon drive program, The Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris, and the founder, publisher and editor of the DorobekInsider.com, a leading blog for the Federal IT community.

Dorobek joined Federal News Radio in 2008 with 16 years of experience covering government issues with an emphasis on government information technology. Prior to joining Federal News Radio, Dorobek was editor-in-chief of Federal Computer Week, the leading news magazine for government IT decision-makers and the flagship of the 1105 Government Information Group portfolio of publications. As editor-in-chief, Dorobek served as a member of the senior leadership team at 1105 Government Information Group, providing daily editorial direction and management for FCW magazine, FCW.com, Government Health IT and its other editorial products.

Dorobek joined FCW in 2001 as a senior reporter and assumed increasing responsibilities, becoming managing editor and executive editor before being named editor-in-chief in 2006. Prior to joining FCW, Dorobek was a technology reporter at PlanetGov.com, one of the first online community centers for current and former government employees. He also spent five years at Government Computer News, another leading industry publication, covering a variety of federal IT-related issues.

Dorobek is a frequent speaker on issues involving the government IT industry, and has appeared as a frequent contributor to NewsChannel 8’s Federal News Today program. He began his career as a reporter at the Foster’s Daily Democrat, a daily newspaper in Dover, N.H. He is a graduate of the University of Southern California. He lives in Washington, DC.


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