News in Brief

Wi-Fi for the Pentagon, Data Act as management tool

Shutterstock image (by Everett Historical): aerial of the Pentagon.

Pentagon getting Wi-Fi

The Pentagon building will have publicly accessible Wi-Fi by the end of the year, according to Defense Department CIO Terry Halvorsen.

In a conference call with reporters on Sept. 15, he said officials were making good progress on putting networking capabilities in place.

Those capabilities most likely will allow common business functions as well as more restricted access. Halvorsen said Wi-Fi will come in two flavors: the official network and the guest network, and he added that sensors were being deployed to ensure that the networks are used securely and correctly.

The effort is currently concentrated on the E or outermost ring of the massive office building, the area that is home to most senior DOD officials and includes major meeting areas. Installation in other areas of the building will follow, he said.

OMB official sees Data Act as management tool

The goal of the Data Act, which requires the detailed and standardized release of federal spending information, is to promote transparency in government. But on a practical level, the Act will give government auditors and accountants a useful management tool, said Mark Reger, deputy controller at the Office of Management and Budget's Office of Federal Financial Management.

"Relating information in management systems to financial systems has always been a challenge," he said during a conference of the Association of Government Accountants.

However, the Data Act mandates a new platform that will link overall agency ledgers with procurements, grants to state and local governments and other entities, and other spending activity for the first time.

For example, Reger said, federal managers will be able to "gather place-based data in minutes, not weeks and months, through data calls," making it easy to track spending and identify where money is going and where it might be needed.

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