The Circuit

Trilogy's Money Problems

Last month, the FBI completed the agency's Trilogy network, which has been deployed to 591 sites and links 22,000 desktop workstations. But what is still somewhat of a mystery is where the additional $138 million to fund the $458 million project will come from.

Congress told FBI officials to find the money in their own budget, which means pulling funds from other programs. They're still working on identifying what programs may see a little less money, but at a hearing last week, FBI Director Robert Mueller said information technology programs would not be affected.

Meanwhile, Mueller said that the report to Congress detailing the plans to reprioritize programs and reassign money has been drafted.

Upping Performance Contracts

The Office of Federal Procurement Policy has been pushing wider use of performance-based service acquisitions, and officials there appear one step closer to making some changes that will spur the approach's use throughout the government.

OFPP is currently redrafting some recommendations put together by a task force and presented to OFPP Administrator Angela Styles last December, said Lesley Field, procurement policy analyst at OFPP.

Within a month or so, the revised recommendations should be presented to Styles, Field said.

The three main issues the recommendations will cover include changes to the Federal Acquisition Regulation to make performance-based service acquisitions more flexible; modifications to reporting requirements; and improvements to guidance including a new portal for one-stop shopping for performance-based contracting.

Still, the process is far from finished. The recommendations may or may not be accepted and there may be a comment period yet to come, Field said, speaking last week at the FOSE conference in Washington, D.C.

Black and Blue

It is only right that Rep. Adam Putnam (R-Fla.) be well-versed in technology. The 28-year-old chairman of the House Government Reform Committee's Technology, Information Policy, Intergovernmental Relations and the Census Subcommittee, cannot remember a time without computers.

But not everyone in Congress is that tech-savvy.

Putnam relayed the following story to an audience of government and industry IT officials at the FOSE conference:

During a recent hearing, Putnam was using his Research in Motion Ltd. BlackBerry handheld device (discreetly, of course) to communicate with his staff, forward e-mail messages from constituents and basically try to get some work done. After awhile, an older member leaned over and asked him, "What is that contraption you're playing with? Is it one of those blueberry things?"

Delta as Big Brother?

Delta Air Lines won one of Privacy International's annual Big Brother awards, a dubious distinction meant to call attention to invaders of personal privacy.

Delta remains under attack from privacy activists because of its involvement with a much-contested computer system that would screen passengers to assess their terrorism risk.

Delta began testing an IT infrastructure for the Transportation Security Administration's Computer Assisted Passenger Prescreening System (CAPPS) II last month, officials said.

CAPPS II is under siege from privacy groups, lawmakers and information experts, who argue that it could violate privacy protections, civil liberties and due process.

Privacy activist Bill Scannell, the force behind the successful boycott of Adobe Systems Inc. during a digital copyright trial in 2001, is shunning Delta and hopes others will do the same — a stance promoted on a new Web site, boycottdelta.org.

Lockheed Martin Management and Data Systems, which received a $12.8 million five-year task order from TSA in February to get CAPPS II off the ground, should consider itself lucky. It escaped the list of Big Brother award winners.

Japan Hooked on Regs

It's obvious that e-government has international appeal.

It appears that the e-Rulemaking initiative, one of the Bush administration's 24 e-government initiatives, has caught the eye of a senior technology official from the government of Japan, said Tad Anderson, portfolio manager for the government-to-business initiatives, which include e-Rulemaking.

The official got a glimpse of e-Rulemaking last week at the FOSE conference. He was so impressed by the initiative, which provides a single portal for all government-proposed rules and the ability for the public to comment online, that he wants to implement the same solution in Japan, Anderson said. n

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