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FCW Insider: The Input holiday party buzz

Last night was the annual Input holiday party hosted by the market research firm. The party is always something of the kick-off to the holiday season, although it feels a bit late this year. And it is a who's who event, so it is often good to catch up with people that you may not have seen in some time. And there are always some buzz.


1105 Government Information Group, the parent organization of Federal Computer Week, was one of the event's sponsors. We apparently bought the napkins, so there were 1105 Government Information Group napkins. And then people were coming up to me and thanking me for sponsoring the event. 1105 Media's CEO Neal Vitale was in town for the week, so he did get to attend. [See photos on Mark Bisnow's e-newsletter, including photos of Vitale and 1105 Government Information Group President Anne Armstrong with Dan Young.]


On the people and personnel front, outgoing Commerce Department CIO Barry West attended the festivities. West left Commerce somewhat quietly in October and was keeping a very low profile. He was at the NVTC dinner earlier last month. He said last night that he will have news in the new year about where he will be next -- some kind of consulting firm was the speculation, but West wasn't saying. Apparently West is still a Commerce employee until the end of the year, so he can't have a new job until he officially leaves his current job. Understandable.


GSA buzz...


So in the past 10 days, I keep hearing the name of Ted Haddad. With GSA's current chief acquisition officer Molly Wilkinson expected to be the SBA's chief of staff at the beginning of the year, people are expecting that Haddad, whose title is senior advisor for GSA's Office of the Chief Acquisition Officer, will be the new CAO when Wilkinson moves over to SBA. I've asked about his background because, shocking enough, even Googling him doesn't turn up much.


No word on Alliant...


There is still a lot of buzz about an InformationWeek story last month that said:



A group of technology service providers are claiming that the U.S. government broke its own laws when it selected contractors to participate in a sweeping technology initiative on which Washington plans to spend up to $50 billion.
Plans for moving ahead with the program, known as Alliant, are now on hold, according to the General Services Administration.
In the lawsuit against the government, one of the service providers, Serco, Inc., claims the federal selection process for the program was "arbitrary and capricious," and did not properly account for vendors' past performance, references, and technical capabilities -- as required by law.
The GSA in August selected a number of high-profile outsourcers, including IBM, Electronic Data Systems, Computer Sciences Corporation and Lockheed Martin, along with 25 others, to participate in Alliant.



From everything I can tell, this is old news. The program is on "hold" because it is in the courts. And apparently it went to the courts rather then the GAO appeal process because one of the companies missed the 10-business-day deadline to file a GAO protest. (Vendors have a year in the courts, I'm told.) Once one vendor filed, they all filed court papers.


That being said, Alliant Small Business is moving ahead and could be awarded... well, very soon.


Networx...


I'm hearing an increasing grumbling about GSA's Networx, the mega government telecom contract. Vendors say they aren't seeing the business they expected. The Treasury Department awarded it's Networx contract to AT&T, and DHS is underway, but both of those were pent up awaiting the Networx awards.


Reduced pipes...


There was all sorts of talk about the OMB plan to reduce the number of agency connections to the Internet.


One person even told me last night that part of Clay Johnson's memo on the reduced Internet connections has NSA analyzing traffic coming through those connections. We're checking into it.


I'd love to do a point/counter-point on whether this is a good idea. If you feel strongly one way or the other -- or know somebody who does -- let me know. We could do a special comment section fleshing out this important initiative.


Finally...


I was somewhat surprised that Peter Cunningham, Input's president and CEO, wasn't  there -- at least I didn't see him. I also keep hearing that Input is trying to hire a chief operating officer, but they just haven't found anybody yet. The search goes on. (I, apparently, was not a Cunningham favorite because I put Input competitor Federal Sources on our list of organizations worth watching.) He was missed, but thanks for the bash.

Posted by Christopher J. Dorobek on Dec 07, 2007 at 12:17 PM


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