Schwarzenegger nominates tech department head

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has tapped P.K. Agarwal, a former state government technology official who has worked in the private sector for the past five years, to lead the state's new Technology Services Department.

The department is expected to improve information technology and telecommunications services and eliminate redundant services. State leaders created it this summer on a bipartisan commission's recommendation.

"P.K.'s understanding of California's [IT] systems and experience in state government, combined with his expertise in state and local government technology infrastructure, provide him with a fantastic foundation to lead this new department and its unique challenges," Schwarzenegger said in a statement.

Agarwal had been a vice president at Affiliated Computer Services since 2003. Before that, he was executive vice president and chief information officer at NIC.

For nearly 20 years before that, he was a mainstay in California's government. From 1996 to 2000, he served as CIO for the Franchise Tax Board after serving about 12 years as chief of the Department of General Services' Office of Information Services. He has also been manager of the Department of Social Services' Database Development Bureau and technical project manager at the Department of Health Services.

Throughout his career, Agarwal has been active in the IT community, serving as president of the National Association of State CIOs and president of the National Electronic Commerce Coordinating Council.

California's Senate must confirm Agarwal's appointment.

CIO University nears 600

The CIO University, a virtual university created by the federal CIO Council, owes its existence to the Clinger-Cohen Act of 1996. That law requires federal agencies to develop specific competencies in the IT workforce.

With seven higher education institutions participating since 2000, the university has graduated 592 students. "We're making sure that we keep the competency portion of Clinger-Cohen alive and well and up-to-date," said Ira Hobbs, Treasury Department CIO and co-chairman of the federal CIO Council's IT Workforce Committee.

Right to know

The nonprofit National Security Archive marked International Right to Know Day recently, and commended the State Department for including access to government information as a factor evaluated in its annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices.

In its open letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, the archive also asked the agency to include access to information as an independent category in the reports to increase the prominence and recognition of this human right departmentwide.

A different kind of PlayStation

If something connects to the Internet, it probably can contract a virus. And last week, security companies identified the first Trojan that targets Sony's PlayStation systems.

Experts at Symantec, a security company, said the virus isn't a grave concern at the moment. They rate it a Category 1, and 5 is the worst. In fact, they don't even know of any confirmed infections.

PlayStations are somewhat protected because users can only run Sony-approved games. But hacks are available on the Web to allow users to run their own games. Trojan.PSPBrick pretends to be such a hack. Users must choose to download it. Once installed, it deletes system files and renders the machine inoperable.

Got a tip? Send it to [email protected].

Service to America Medal recipients

A NASA employee was named Federal Employee of the Year, one of the awards that are part of the Service to America Medals, which were announced in Washington, D.C.

The awards pay tribute to the country's federal workforce, honoring those who have made significant contributions. The recipients were chosen based on their commitment and innovation and the impact of their work.

Here are the awards and their winners:

  • Career Achievement: Barbara Turner, U.S. Agency for International Development.
  • Federal Employee of the Year: Orlando Figueroa, NASA.
  • Call to Service: Kevin McAleenan, Homeland Security Department.
  • Homeland Security: Steven Bice, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • International Affairs: Tobin Bradley, State Department.
  • Justice and Law Enforcement: Elizabeth Grossman, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
  • National Security: Alan Estevez, Defense Department.
  • Science and Environment: Subhashree Madhavan and the Rembrandt Project team, National Cancer Institute Center for Bioinformatics.
  • Social Services: Terence Lutes, Internal Revenue Service.


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