Policy briefs

DOD contract saves money

The Defense Department's recently awarded contracts for software that will enable computer applications to communicate with the Common Access Card will also save military agencies money, DOD officials say.

The award takes advantage of DOD's buying power to reduce costs. The prices from the four winning vendors range from $2.25 to $6 per license. DOD has paid as much as $80 per license for middleware in the past, said Rob Carey, e-business and smart card policy lead for the Navy Department's Office of the Chief Information Officer, which is leading the CAC rollout.

The companies can sell their products departmentwide as Defense agencies issue the smart cards. The multifunction cards are embedded with a digital certificate that will enable users to encrypt e-mail messages and gain access to computer applications. (For more on DOD's middleware, see "DOD cracks smart-card nut.")

Study: States avoid IT cuts

Rather than make across-the-board spending cuts, state governments are using alternative measures to grapple with a collective $22 billion revenue shortfall, such as dipping into "rainy day" funds and raising taxes.

As a result, many states' capital investments and information technology programs have not been as adversely affected as expected, according to Input, a Chantilly, Va.-based marketing and research firm that recently surveyed officials in 50 states.

"In terms of information technology, we're not seeing major cuts being made," said Suzy Haleen, a state and local analyst for the firm. "In my opinion, the governors are aware that if they make a bunch of cuts now, several years down the road they'll not be able to keep up."

But she added that the situation is different for each state.

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