DC: OFPP Wants More Tech Expertise in Purchasing Decisions

Washington DC

Better Tech Expertise Needed for Procurement: The Office of Federal Procurement Policy wants agency acquisition chiefs to consider forming specialized teams with deep subject matter knowledge to manage IT purchases. The plan syncs up with an acquisition process described in outgoing CIO Vivek Kundra’s overall IT reform plan, released in December 2010.That plan complained that government contracting officers often are experts in ethics and protocol but have limited knowledge about the industries they’re working with. NextGov

Agencies Must Improve Telework Coordination: Infrastructure limitations weren’t taken into account before the unscheduled telework option for federal employees went into effect earlier this year. The reason: Agencies failed to coordinate. The GAO found that the Office of Personnel Management and the General Services Administration didn’t work together to reach agency CIOs about capacity gaps before releasing the revised procedures. To enhance the use of telework during emergencies, GAO recommended that the director of OPM coordinate with other agencies to provide government-wide guidance on emergency preparedness. Federal Computer Week

ICF to Provide IT for HHS: ICF International will provide technical expertise to the Department of Health and Human Services under a five-year contract worth $16.3 million. The contract calls for IT technical and administrative support for communications, outreach, deployment operations and regional coordination. The company will also provide support for geographical information, website portal and content management systems. WashingtonTechnology.com

Four Contractors Win $115 Million Maryland Broadband Job: Four contractors, three with Maryland offices, won contracts to help construct the state’s $115 million broadband network. North Carolina-based S&N Communications, which has a Baltimore-area office, Columbia-based KCI Convergent Technologies, Henkels & McCoy, and Southern Maryland Cable have been named vendors for the network. Under the contract, each vendor has the potential to receive up to $40 million, based on performance, availability of their crews and meeting deadlines. The network will be 850 miles long and will connect 1,000 schools, libraries, public safety agencies and other government institutions. Washington Business Journal

House Panel Approves Cybersecurity Bill: The House Science, Space, and Technology Committee approved the first piece of cybersecurity legislation this year, the Cybersecurity Enhancement Act of 2011. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, and Rep. Dan Lipinski, D-Ill., mirrors legislation that was passed last year by the House but never made it to the Senate. The bill would authorize research, education and the development of standards at the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. It also gives NIST the authority to set standards for federal agencies. NextGov

How IT Can Help Solve Budget Issues: IT could play a larger role in paring down the cost of government, writes Paul McCloskey. Recovery.gov, FederalReporting.gov and Data.gov are key building blocks for using IT to identify cost anomalies, he says. These access points into the flow of federal financial information offer opportunities for citizens and regulators to account for public spending, identify fraud and waste, and reuse publicly funded research and intellectual property. Government Computer News