Security group wants ideas

Information Systems Security RFI

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Federal agencies spent up to $2 billion last year reinventing the wheel to make federal information systems more secure, an Office of Management and Budget official said this week. That amount was nearly a half of the $4.2 billion that federal agencies spent on information systems security in fiscal 2004.

Glenn Schlarman, chief of the information policy branch at OMB, said an interagency task force representing all federal agencies is appealing to industry officials for ideas to help reduce those costs and improve information security governmentwide.

"We already know we're going to save a bunch of money," said John Sindelar, deputy associate administrator of the Office of Governmentwide Policy at the General Services Administration. He and Schlarman were among more than a half-dozen federal officials who spoke on Monday at an Enterprise Cybersecurity Practioners Day in Washington, D.C.

Sindelar is also project executive for the interagency effort to improve information systems security by consolidating certain security functions and adopting government and industry best practices, procedures and policies.

Systems integrators who attended the industry event were asked to submit information about approaches they have found to be successful in creating large-scale information security programs. Government officials also have issued an official request for information about information systems security.

Federal officials said they plan to take that information, which must be submitted by May 5, and incorporate it into business case documents that federal agencies will review and submit in final form with their budget requests for fiscal 2007.

OMB requires federal agencies to submit business cases to justify their spending on information security. The deadline for submitting business cases for consideration during the fiscal 2007 budget planning process is September 2005.

Sindelar said governmentwide procurements of information security hardware, software and services could begin as early as fiscal 2006 and would extend to fiscal 2007 and beyond. "We’re interested in ideas not only for what we procure but also how we procure it," he said.

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