The Circuit

CIOs Called to Duty

When the Slammer worm hit the Internet over a weekend earlier this month, slowing down traffic and affecting systems around the world, federal chief information officers were on top of things. That was, in part, because Mark Forman, associate director for information technology and e-government at the Office of Management and Budget, made sure they were, according to a senior security official.

OMB has been cracking down on agencies' security practices by halting or denying funds for projects that do not have adequate security measures.

But if you're looking for proof that it's not just a paper budget exercise, every federal CIO was in the office that Sunday double-checking system security patches. That was the most encouraging sign in some time that security is really a concern for government leaders, the official said. Of course, a call from Forman is certainly good motivation.

No Time to Rest

The Homeland Security Department officially came into being Jan. 24, 2003. That same day, department CIO Steve Cooper received a flood of letters and requests from Congress asking what he had done so far, despite the fact that he technically was not allowed to do anything until Jan. 24, he said.

Work had been going on, quite intensively in some cases, but Cooper figured he would get at least a 24-hour grace period, he said Feb. 19. In the words of Janet Jackson: What have you done for me lately?

Architecture Work Slow

The Office of Management and Budget's federal enterprise architecture is slowly bringing in the Defense Department and intelligence community as officials incorporate their business lines and systems into the second version of the business reference model. Officials knew it was a huge task considering the size of the community involved, but it is still going slower than expected, Norm Lorentz, OMB's chief technology officer, said Feb. 19 at the Federal Sources Inc. and Potomac Forum Enterprise Architecture in Government conference in Washington, D.C.

OMB will release the second version of the reference model around the beginning of March, and it will include updated information and enhancements based on agency comments, Lorentz said. But it may be necessary to release a Version 2.1 a few months later that will fully incorporate the Defense and intelligence information, he said.

Half Full or Half Empty?

The Interior Department's IT problems are no secret. For example, the department was cut off from the Internet because of a court order and struggled for funding for IT projects because of poor business cases. But apparently sinking to the bottom is an incentive to rise to the top, at least when it comes to enterprise architecture.

Interior's Bureau of Land Management, once the example of what not to do in enterprise architecture, is now the department's official center of excellence in this area, said Sue Rachlin, Interior's deputy CIO.

Other bureaus now will be using BLM's tools, contracts and expertise. The CIO's office has also asked the bureau to create a formal process for identifying and documenting lessons learned and best practices for the rest of the department, she said.

"Where you have a success story, we really firmly believe you have to leverage that," she said at the Enterprise Architecture in Government conference.

People on the Move

Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.), the new chairman of the House Government Reform Committee, announced new subcommittee assignments. Among them: Rep. Adam Putnam (R-Fla.) will serve as chairman of the Technology, Information Policy, Intergovernmental Relations and the Census Subcommittee.

In related news, Jim Flyzik, a consultant and former senior adviser to Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, has been named chairman of the Information Technology Association of America's Homeland Security Task Group.

Flyzik, a partner at the consulting firm Guerra, Kiviat & Flyzik, said the task group will become critically important as the new Homeland Security Department develops.

Fred Thompson, former assistant director for consulting and marketing for the Treasury Department's Office of the Chief Information Officer, has joined Unisys Corp. as a director overseeing the company's e-government projects.

Thompson, who left Treasury in November 2002, started his new position Feb. 20, said Bill Piatt, a partner in the federal government group at Unisys.

Consultant Alan Balutis has been hired as president and chief operating officer at Veridyne Inc., a consulting firm focused on federal IT. Balutis will report to Samuel Patterson, Veridyne's founder and chief executive officer, and will work from the company's Arlington, Va., office.

Larry Kirsch, senior vice president at CDW Government Inc., is leaving the company, he wrote in an e-mail message. Kirsch has been with the reseller for 13 years. He did not explain the reasons for his decision, but wrote that he plans to spend some time with his family and then "phase into my next endeavor."

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