This week in FCW history

Seven years ago: Nov. 18, 1996

GTE wins wireless pact

Capping off a 27-month effort, the General Services Administration awarded a $300 million nationwide contract for cellular telecommunications services in a move designed to cut most federal users' cellular bills by up to 60 percent. The eight-year contract for Federal Wireless Telecommunications Services went to GTE Government Systems — the sole remaining bidder after AT&T dropped out of the competition.

Six years: Nov. 17, 1997

FAA finds Year 2000 tools not up to snuff

The Federal Aviation Administration, faced with a time and date software problem that threatened to bring down one of its air traffic management systems, was forced to manually sift through more than a million lines of code after software tools designed to find code containing times and dates failed to find everything that needed to be fixed. Earlier the FAA had used Year 2000 software packages to try to find the lines of code containing times and dates in its Enhanced Traffic Management System, whose software had to be upgraded because the operating system was unable to process times and dates after 14:49 Greenwich Mean Time Nov. 2. Air officials gradually ironed out any date-related kinks — January 1, 2000 came and went relatively quietly for the FAA.

Four years ago: Nov. 19, 1999

Web Site provides clearinghouse for tobacco data

The Department of Health and Human Services unveiled a Web site that lets users conduct searches of more than 27 million tobacco industry documents from one centralized source. The site,, has documents made public by state lawsuits, congressional subpoenas, and a November 1998 master settlement agreement between the states and tobacco companies. It is housed at HHS' Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and is CDC's largest fully searchable database of electronic documents. It also is the only place where the entire index of documents housed at the Minnesota Tobacco Document Depository is merged and available online in a searchable format. Since its introduction, the site has been expanded to include sections on secondhand smoke, global prevention and control of tobacco use, tips for youth, tobacco ingredient reporting and other information.

Three years ago: Nov. 17, 2000

USPS fires back over e-commerce

U.S. Postal Service officials said they intend to continue developing online services despite complaints from industry organizations that government agencies have no business competing in e-commerce. Without electronic services to serve as a new source of revenue, the Postal Service could face financial failure, Deborah Willhite, a USPS senior vice president, warned in a letter to members of Congress. Almost three years after that letter was sent, those electronic services still hadn't created much revenue, according to The President's Commission on the U.S. Postal Service, which released a report in August 2003 that recommended the Postal Service give up e-commerce and stick to traditional delivery of mail and packages.

Two years ago: Nov. 14, 2001

O'Keefe picked for NASA post

President Bush stated his intent to name Sean O'Keefe, who helped craft the Bush administration's management and technology agenda, as the next administrator of NASA. The choice of O'Keefe, who at the time was deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget, came as a surprise to some in government and industry who closely follow OMB. O'Keefe replaced Daniel Goldin, who ran NASA for almost 10 years.

One year ago: Nov. 20, 2002

Security flunks Horn's final exam

Federal agencies earned an "F" on Rep. Stephen Horn's final report card on government security — the same grade they earned in 2001. When he issued his first computer security report card in 2000, Horn (R-Calif.) awarded agencies an overall grade of D-. Of the 24 federal agencies Horn graded, 14 flunked. The highest grade was a B-minus. In his last years in Congress, Horn resorted to issuing report cards to call attention to poor performance by government agencies on technology and other matters. Horn retired from Congress at the end of 2002.


  • Telecommunications
    Stock photo ID: 658810513 By asharkyu

    GSA extends EIS deadline to 2023

    Agencies are getting up to three more years on existing telecom contracts before having to shift to the $50 billion Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions vehicle.

  • Workforce
    Shutterstock image ID: 569172169 By Zenzen

    OMB looks to retrain feds to fill cyber needs

    The federal government is taking steps to fill high-demand, skills-gap positions in tech by retraining employees already working within agencies without a cyber or IT background.

  • Acquisition
    GSA Headquarters (Photo by Rena Schild/Shutterstock)

    GSA to consolidate multiple award schedules

    The General Services Administration plans to consolidate dozens of its buying schedules across product areas including IT and services to reduce duplication.

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