Week in Review

Youth often seems to be a handicap in the federal information technology community. Typically, the people who have the most visible impact are those who have risen to senior positions where their budget and policy authority give them the leverage needed to bring about change. Young feds still working their way up through the ranks usually lack such advantages.

That is not to suggest that they are ineffectual, just that they are not always visible. That is why we jumped at the chance to put together Rising Stars, an awards program recognizing the promising young IT professionals whose accomplishments are often overlooked in the community's existing awards programs. Many thanks, once again, to the Young AFCEANs, from AFCEA International¹s Bethesda, Md., chapter, who approached us with this idea.

The call for nominations ends this Wednesday, July 19. Learn more about the nomination guidelines and process.

Jeffords' surprise move
Sen. Jim Jeffords (I-Vt.) put a hold last week on the General Services Administration Modernization Act, the legislation that formally authorizes GSA's reorganization plans.

The legislation would create the Federal Acquisition Service Fund by merging the Information Technology Fund and the General Supply Fund.

Jeffords' action has raised concerns at GSA and upset leaders of the House Government Reform Committee.

"This is another example of the dysfunction of the Senate," said Robert White, a committee spokesman.

Other noteworthy news
The Markle Foundation released a report on improving national security and protecting civil liberties that gives details on implementing a trusted information-sharing environment.... The Homeland Security and Justice departments issued a beta version of a National Information Exchange Model for sharing information among federal, state, local and tribal governments.... The Army reinstated all 11 contracts under its $20 billion Information Technology Enterprise Solutions-2 Services program after withdrawing the awards because of vendor protests.... The IT Association of America asked lawmakers to consider establishing a program to test new security clearance technologies.... The U.S. Access Board selected members for an advisory committee that will review and update Section 508 accessibility standards for Web sites, phone networks and other computer-based equipment.... The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit threw out a judge's decision ordering the shutdown of many Interior Department Internet connections in a case involving the security of Indian trust fund data.... The Army will use process improvement, organizational redesign and outsourcing to achieve long-term reductions in its civilian and contract workforce, Army Secretary Francis Harvey said.... The Office of Management and Budget released Federal Acquisition Regulation Part 18, a provision that contains all FAR rules related to acquisitions under emergency circumstances such as hurricanes.... Malicious hackers broke into State Department networks last month, affecting users in its Washington, D.C., headquarters and its Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, which handles issues related to China and North Korea.... Hackers are selling newly discovered software security vulnerabilities to criminals rather than disclosing them to vendors who could develop patches to fix them, according to a report from Finjan Software.... Microsoft announced that it will make its Office products interoperable with the Open Document Format by offering free converter add-ins for existing Office software.... The Office of Personnel Management awarded contracts worth as much as $2.5 billion to five companies to conduct background screenings.


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