Monthly Archives: February, 2012

VA cancels critical contract for electronic health record

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The Veterans Affairs Department has canceled a $102.6 million contract to manage a critical portion of its future integrated electronic health record (iEHR) system with the Defense Department. The contract was awarded on Jan. 13 to Fairfax, Va.-based ASM Research Inc. to manage a portion of the iEHR, called the enterprise service bus, which will allow various components of the future system to communicate with each other and with VA and DoD health information stored in data centers. The contract was awarded under VA’s $12 billion Transformation Twenty-One Total Technology, or T4, program. VA Spokeswoman Jo Schuda confirmed that the contract…

Rep. Moran: Too many feds protecting their comfort zones

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Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va., is usually numbered among the federal workforce’s best friends on Capitol Hill. But this morning, he evidently decided it was time for a little tough love. When feds get a new assignment, they “hire a consultant,” Moran told participants at a Partnership for Public Service event. “They don’t take it on themselves.” “We’ve got too many people, even in managerial positions, who are protecting their comfort zone,” he continued.  “I’m really discouraged because these are good people that can do far more than they are attempting  to accomplish. They’re  worth more than they really give themselves…

NIST revises security and privacy standards for federal systems

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The National Institute of Standards and Technology on Tuesday released proposed revisions to its requirements that govern how agencies secure their federal information systems. Proposed changes to Special Publication 800-53, Revision 4, address new challenges that agencies face, including insider threats, supply chain risk, mobile and cloud computing technologies, and other cybersecurity issues and challenges, NIST said in a news release. “The changes we propose in Revision 4 are directly linked to the current state of the threat space — the capabilities, intentions and targeting activities of adversaries — and analysis of attack data over time,” NIST fellow Ron Ross…

LightSquared CEO resigns

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LightSquared Chief Executive Officer Sanjiv Ahuja has resigned, the company announced Tuesday. The news comes two weeks after the Federal Communications Commission rejected plans by the wireless broadband firm to build a 4G network on spectrum adjacent to Global Positioning System signals. Tests by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and others warned of the harm LightSquared’s proposed network would pose to GPS services critical for first responders, the airline industry and others. “During my tenure at LightSquared, we all worked tirelessly to create the nation’s first open wireless broadband network and provide consumers with a new wireless broadband…

Army considers Bring-Your-Own-Device plan

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The Army’s deputy chief information officer is proposing a new plan that would expand the Army’s mobility strategy beyond the BlackBerry and allow users to do government work on their personal devices. If the Army works aggressively through partnerships with the National Security Agency and industry, it could be ready to release a request for proposal for mobile technology within the next 12 months, said Army deputy CIO Mike Krieger, at a mobility event last week. The contract would provide a large number of soldiers, contractors and civilians with zero client mobile devices, or smartphones that have no operating systems…

New guidance details best practices for cloud contracting

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Guidance released by the Chief Information Officers Council last week calls on agencies to improve collaboration among CIOs, privacy and contracting officers and other stakeholders when procuring cloud services. The document, called “Creating Effective Cloud Computing Contracts for the Federal Government” outlines 10 areas where agencies can improve their internal collaborations before selecting a cloud provider. Agencies should consider input from the CIO, general counsel, privacy and procurement offices when choosing the appropriate cloud service and how it will be provided. “Federal agencies must ensure cloud environments are compliant with all existing laws and regulations when they move IT services…

Will Afghan War be over before Defense has a plan to deploy civilians?

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Three years ago, the Defense Department set up a Civilian Expeditionary Workforce policy to help manage how it deploys civilians to war zones such as Iraq and Afghanistan. But the Government Accountability Office said today that the CEW concept is still a long way from what the Pentagon envisioned. CEW was meant to create a cadre of Defense civilians with crucial skills that are willing, ready and trained to go to war and help support combat troops — quickly. CEW has had some success, GAO said, most notably by creating a database of thousands of resumes from volunteers and filling…

Amid scrutiny of her travel, Postal Regulatory Commission chief bound for Switzerland

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Barely two weeks after a prominent senator questioned her travel activities, Postal Regulatory Commission Chairman Ruth Goldway is unapologetically heading overseas. “I know that travel raises questions,” Goldway said in a Friday interview two days before embarking on a 13-day trip to Switzerland,  “but I really feel that I’m doing an honest job and the right thing for the Postal Regulatory Commission and the country.” After leaving on a flight from Washington this Sunday, Goldway will spend most of the next two weeks in the Swiss capital of Bern, according to an itinerary provided by the commission.  The first leg, running from Monday…

Lawmakers blast proposed mail plant closings, but what next?

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Members of Congress were quick to weigh in on the U.S. Postal Service’s downsizing plans Thursday. And for the most part, they were not happy. “This plan makes no sense at all and should be abandoned,” argued Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, where a mail processing plant is slated to close. Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe is “barreling ahead to implement drastic cost-cutting measures” before regulators give their views, objected Sen. Joe Lieberman, an independent from Connecticut, which would lose two of its three plants to those measures. The Postal Service “should focus on common sense solutions that improve its fiscal solvency” instead of putting…

U.S. Postal Service releases processing plant closure list

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Today brings bad news for thousands of U.S. Postal Service workers; just out is a list of more than 220 mail processing plants slated for closure or consolidation. Federal Times will have an updated story on its web site shortly, but in the meantime, here is a link to the list. According to USPS officials, the downsizing will eliminate about 30,000 career positions and 5,000 non-career jobs, with closings to start as early as May and to wrap up by next year.

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