Federal Triangle

Architects unite

For the first time ever, most federal chief architects were in the same room at the same time.

On April 5, the first Chief Architects Forum, under the CIO Council's Architecture and Infrastructure Committee, brought together more than 60 representatives from the Office of Management and Budget, the General Accounting Office and other agencies to discuss enterprise architecture.

Environmental Protection Agency chief information officer Kim Nelson and Air Force CIO John Gilligan, the committee's leaders, recognized the need to unite the architects after GAO released a report in December 2003 that rated agencies' architecture maturity based on a common framework. Most scored less than 2 on a 5-point scale.

Whom do you believe?

The presidential campaign's first volley in high-tech politics was fired recently. President Bush sent an e-mail alert calling Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), the Democratic front-runner, "wrong for high tech" because he had rarely taken a direct role in shaping legislative issues on technology.

Kerry did not send an e-mail — at least we didn't get one — but his Web site states that Bush is the one not committed to innovation and deploying technology.

"We need a president who is committed to bolstering technology and ensuring that growth in these industries leads to job creation [and] widespread economic growth," the site reads.

Who's right? The voters will decide in seven months.

What is extremism?

Reps. Barbara Cubin (R-Wy.) and Jim Gibbons (R-Nev.) have asked the EPA to remove links on its Web site to extremist groups such as OMB Watch and the Environmental Defense Fund. Rick Blum, director of the Freedom of Information Project at OMB Watch, rejected the label.

"We don't consider ourselves an extremist organization," he said. "We're a nonpartisan public interest group that provides environmental and public health information."

The group issued a national alert, urging people to write to the EPA on the matter. It yielded about 2,000 letters in the past two weeks.

Ahead of the game

The best mistakes to learn from are the ones others have made. Lockheed Martin Corp. officials have taken that to heart.

They must be feeling pretty confident. Although the Homeland Security Department has not yet named the prime integrator for the U.S. Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology program, Lockheed officials have rented office space — just in case they are awarded the contract. The award is expected in late May.

The company is in the running. The field of bidders was narrowed to Lockheed, Computer Sciences Corp. and Accenture. Proposals were submitted in January.

"Preparing an office in advance of the contract award will ensure our team's ability to immediately commence implementation of the technical and management solutions," said Dick Fogel, director of strategic initiatives for Lockheed Martin Transportation and Security Solutions.

The companies, no doubt, watched EDS officials when they were surprised to learn that the company won the massive Navy Marine Corps Intranet contract despite reports that another vendor had been selected. EDS officials believed those reports and assigned NMCI team members to other projects, resulting in a slow start on the project. Lockheed officials obviously took note.

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