The Circuit

Comings and Goings

You may need a score card these days to keep up with changes in the federal information technology sector.

Among those moving on and up is Brian Burns, an IT expert with 18 years of experience in government and the private sector. He's been named chief information officer at the troubled Bureau of Indian Affairs at the Interior Department. Until recently, Burns was the deputy assistant secretary for information resources management and the deputy CIO at the Department of Health and Human Services, where he oversaw an IT budget of $3.5 billion.

Burns will be responsible for helping fix BIA's troubled computer systems. Citing security concerns, U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth pulled the plug on Interior's Web sites in December 2001 to protect data maintained under its Trust Asset and Accounting Management System. Since the shutdown, most of the department has gone back online.

Burns is no stranger to troubleshooting. He oversaw the Year 2000 conversion at HHS and ensured that HHS computer systems and their data were protected following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Melissa Rose Chapman replaced Burns as CIO at HHS. In addition to overseeing the department's IT resources, she will lead the development of the agency's enterprise architecture plan. Before taking the HHS job, Chapman was a career executive with the Food and Drug Administration, where she was most recently acting CIO. In that post, she oversaw more than $200 million in IT expenditures.

Meanwhile, Lee Holcomb, CIO at NASA for the past five years, is on detail as the director of infostructure at the Office of Homeland Security and will be working on interoperability and enterprise architecture issues.

Holcomb will report to Steve Cooper, senior director of information integration and CIO at the Office of Homeland Security. Holcomb also has stepped down as co-chairman of the CIO Council's Architecture and Infrastructure Committee. Debra Stouffer, the Environmental Protection Agency's chief technology officer, is taking his place.

And IT watchdog David McClure will join the Council for Excellence in Government next month as vice president for electronic government. McClure, the General Accounting Office's director of IT management issues, will lead the council's e-government efforts and help expand its intergovernmental partnerships. He also will work on shaping its e-government fellows program, a leadership development initiative for government IT managers.

In English, Please

Officials are reviewing proposed changes to the public/private competitive process for refreshingly nonpolitical reasons.

The policy decisions about replacing Office of Management and Budget Circular A-76, which governs the competition process, are almost worked out, said Angela Styles, administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, last week.

But before publishing a Federal Register notice next month outlining the proposed changes, her office wants to make sure that both experts and novices can read it, she said.

"I do not want to publish a new circular that takes a team of experts to understand and an industry of consultants to implement," she said in her written testimony for a hearing on the panel recommendations that never happened.

The hearing was postponed because members of Congress needed to focus on the homeland security and appropriations bills before the August recess. But the next steps in implementing the A-76 changes are still important, Styles and other officials said outside the hearing room.

Cyber Corps Grows in Rank

The White House's national strategy to protect cyberspace, scheduled for release in September, will contain a provision that extends a federal scholarship-for-service program to the state level, said Richard Clarke, special adviser to the president for cyberspace security.

The Federal Cyber Service program provides scholarships to undergraduate and graduate students studying computer security in exchange for two years of federal service.

The first group of students is nearly finished with the first year of the program.

Six universities have received scholarship money: University of Tulsa, Okla.; Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh; the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterrey, Calif.; Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa; University of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho; and Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind. Sixty-six students, ages 20 to 64, participate in the program.

The cyber corps is important because the government does not have enough trained experts to protect federal systems, Clarke said July 22 at the 2002 Cyber Corps Symposium at the University of Tulsa. "We will fight a future cyberwar," Clarke said. "Right now we are not in good shape."

The nation is dependent on cyberspace, which exposes vulnerabilities that need to be fixed, he said.

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