Week in Review

Remembering 9/11

This week marks the fifth anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks and their immediate aftermath. We’ve heard the question, “Where you were on Sept. 11, 2001?” many times this past week.

The attacks that day still loom over many of the subsequent responses. In government, the most obvious response to the attacks was the Homeland Security Department’s creation, which led to the most significant federal reorganization in a generation. From the outset, DHS’ mission has been to better protect the country from another tragedy. As we approach the midterm elections, homeland security remains a political priority.

In pursuit of better security, the government has sought many technology innovations, such as visitor entry and exit systems, new border control technologies, automated and integrated watch lists, and passports embedded with chips. Some of those systems are working, and others are in development.

The 2001 terrorist attacks changed many things, but antagonistic cultures still exist among agencies responsible for safeguarding the country. The government needs to fully overcome cultural barriers to effectively share information and deploy innovative technologies.

Other noteworthy news
The Air Force Air Combat Command plans to purchase a 500,000-user perpetual license for software that will prevent ACC employees from compromising system security with poorly chosen passwords.… Contractors hoping to provide telecommunications services to federal agencies under the General Services Administration’s forthcoming Networx contracts learned they will need to provide certified and accredited operational support systems.… Leslie Barry joined GTSI in the newly created position of vice president of government affairs and business development.… The Senate approved a bill that merges GSA’s Federal Supply Service and the Federal Technology Service into a new Federal Acquisition Service supported by a single Acquisition Services Fund.… Red Hat and the National Institute of Standards and Technology said they are working together to create a new commenting system for NIST’s National Vulnerability Database.… Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) said he will ask federal agencies to submit to his oversight subcommittee a list of every information technology project that has cost overruns and the names of the prime contractors for those projects.… GSA launched a governmentwide procurement for wireless technology.… A NASA inspector general reported that agency officials are attempting to renew a software vendor’s licenses without competition, despite previous protests regarding the acquisition and NASA’s promise to issue a new competitive solicitation.… The Internal Revenue Service awarded Apogen Technologies a contract to provide maintenance and customer support for the agency’s Enforcement Revenue Information System.… Jim Williams, commissioner of GSA’s FAS, said the agency will do its best to help federal officials and industry leaders prepare for the switchover from FTS 2001 to the Networx telecommunications contracts.… The Transportation Security Administration announced a final group of eight companies that will bid on a contract to manage major components of the Transportation Worker Identification Credential program.… The Government Accountability Office recommended that the Federal Emergency Management Agency develop a mechanism for gathering and reporting financial information during hurricane relief operations in which federal agencies spend emergency supplemental funds.… The Court of Federal Claims decided that GSA must vacate its $17.4 million award to Symplicity to develop and run the Federal Business Opportunities Web site.

A roundup of the week's news, complete with links to the original stories, can be found on FCW.com Download's Week in Review.

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