Online extra: 12 more issues facing government technology

GCN's Dec. 15 issue highlighted what the next year will hold for several major federal IT issues in its special report, Outlook 2004. Here are a dozen other issues that will affect government systems.

1. E-Government projects. The Office of Management and Budget's top priority is to complete the 25 Quicksilver initiatives. Officials said the goal is to finish a majority of the projects by July. OMB also expects to make headway on a new set of initiatives along four lines of business'criminal investigations, financial management, human resources and public health monitoring.

2. Cybersecurity. OMB set a goal for agencies to have 90 percent of all IT systems certified and accredited as secure by this month. Only three agencies'the Environmental Protection Agency, National Science Foundation and Office of Personnel Management'have met the goal. The Interior Department faces an even greater security challenge as a result of pressure from plaintiffs in the long-running American Indian trust litigation. Some Interior systems, especially at the Bureau of Indian Affairs, remain offline because of security problems.

3. Privacy. OMB will turn up the heat for agencies to comply with the E-Government Act of 2002 by conducting privacy impact assessments on all new systems or those undergoing major changes.

4. Collaboration. With the advancement of agency enterprise architectures, CIOs will consult with chief financial officers and other officials more often and in greater detail on business process re-engineering projects and policy changes. IT managers' decisions increasingly will become less about technology and more about how IT will accomplish their agency's mission.

There also will be more cross-agency opportunities as agencies use architecture reference models to find projects they can share. For example, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration may collaborate with the Homeland Security Department on a nationwide wireless alert system based on NOAA's weather radio system.

5. Project Management. Many agencies will continue to struggle to hire and train qualified project managers for their IT projects. OMB is requiring agencies to have an experienced and certified project manager for every major project.

6. Competitive Sourcing. Although Congress has considered changes to the revised rules, OMB's pressure on agencies to hold more public-private competitions for commercial positions will not diminish. Many agencies have shown progress by setting up competitive-sourcing offices and policies and holding competitions under the revised OMB Circular A-76.

7. Procurement. When Congress passed the Services Acquisition Reform Act as part of the Defense Department Authorization bill, it set the stage for major changes in the way the government buys goods and services. Civilian agencies will benefit from a well-financed training fund as well as a new preference for performance-based contracts on procurements under $25 million.

8. IP Version 6.0. The Defense Department will test the next generation of the Internet on two major networks next year: the Defense Research and Engineering Network and Defense Information Systems Network-Leading Edge Services. DOD officials chose the networks as IPv6 test beds because they have many users, are centrally managed and can be isolated from other DOD networks.

9. Coalition Interoperability. U.S. forces are working with allies from three dozen nations in Iraq, but there is no single system to communicate with all of the allied partners. Defense officials will seek to address this issue to improve communications.

10. Satellite communications. DOD plans to use satellites not only for long-haul communications, but also for tactical networking.

11. Law Enforcement. The FBI will work to get its Trilogy systems modernization program back on track. The bureau delayed the project and has declined to specify a new deadline for its completion. The bureau also will establish several offices to investigate cybercrime. The Justice Department will continue to reduce the number of case management systems it uses. Justice plans to employ more systems architects as it fields applications.

12. Finances. The Transportation Department will continue deployment of its Delphi financial management system, which will tighten financial controls and generate more accurate reports. The Health and Human Services Department's Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is phasing in its Healthcare Integrated General Ledger Accounting System, which will replace disparate financial operations with a Web accounting system. The Social Security Administration will improve financial management to reduce improper payments.

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