This week in FCW history

Seven years ago: Oct. 21, 1996

FedCIRC emerges to halt leaks

To help stem an exploding number of computer security breaches the first governmentwide computer security response team began offering services to civilian agencies.

The Federal Computer Incident Response Capability, part of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, evaluates agencies' systems to pinpoint potential threats and weaknesses. FedCIRC also offers technical support to recover from unauthorized intrusion and offers training and guidelines for agencies to improve security controls.

Six years ago: Oct. 20, 1997

EPA awards first pact to upgrade systems

The Environmental Protection Agency awarded a five-year $259 million contract for telecommunications and computer support to Lockheed Martin Information Support Services, the first of five contracts the agency planned to give over two years to maintain and upgrade its computing infrastructure and software.

Five years ago: Oct. 19, 1998

IBM upgrades NWS supercomputer

The National Weather Service (NWS) awarded IBM Corp. a $35.6 million contract to supply the agency with a faster supercomputer. IBM agreed to lease the agency a massively parallel RS/6000 SP supercomputer, replacing the Cray Research Inc. C-90 vector supercomputer then used by the agency's National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP).

Four years ago: Oct. 18, 1999

NWS forecasting hampered after supercomputer fire

The NWS' central supercomputer used to generate weather forecast models caught fire and stopped operating, forcing the agency to rely on backup systems and delaying delivery of data to users. The agency's NCEP had been using Cray Research's C-90 supercomputer since 1994 to generate and run mathematical models used by weather offices and private firms to develop weather forecasts. However, a fire started in one of the supercomputer's internal power supply units and burned through the top of the system.

Three years ago: Oct. 16, 2000

Clinton order gives small biz federal boost

President Clinton issued an executive order to boost small and disadvantaged businesses' share of the federal contracting market and emphasize agencies' individual responsibilities. The order relied on the traditional method of funneling federal business to small and disadvantaged companies by asking agencies to set goals for the percentage of their contracting dollars that will go to small, woman- and minority-owned businesses, including a new goal that 5 percent of prime contractors must be small, disadvantaged businesses.

Two years ago: Oct. 15, 2001

FAA appeals pay decision

The Federal Aviation Administration appealed an arbitrator's decision ordering the agency to give computer specialists the governmentwide information technology pay raise issued by the Office of Personnel Management this year. The FAA eventually lost — in September 2002, the Federal Labor Relations Authority ordered the agency to comply with the arbitrator.

One year ago: Oct. 16, 2002

VHA CIO loses power, leaves job

Gary Christopherson, then-CIO at the Veterans Health Administration, stepped down from his job following a reorganization that stripped him and two others of the authority to make independent IT decisions. Christopherson, along with two other agency CIOs, lost power in a restructuring that reassigned them as deputy CIOs reporting to the Department of Veterans Affairs CIO.


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