Treasury CIO sets sights on EC, online apps

Smart cards and digital
signatures will secure Treasury’s online business transactions, department CIO James
Flyzik says.

The Treasury Department wants to eventually conduct the bulk of its business online,
its chief information officer said.

“From Treasury as a whole, electronic commerce is something we’re going to
take a serious look at,’’ Treasury CIO James Flyzik said last month. Flyzik
moderated a roundtable of Treasury CIOs who outlined their information technology plans
for fiscal 1999 at the department’s Partnerships/IT Conference.

“We’re looking at digital signatures and smart cards so the department can do
business securely via the Internet,” he said.

Several of the department’s CIOs said they plan to upgrade their bureaus’
systems to prepare the department for EC and other online applications.

Web applications are at the top of the list at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and
Firearms, ATF CIO Patrick Schambach said. The agency has a new desktop PC environment that
will handle online apps, he said.

“This year, my time was consumed with rolling out a seat management program for
our 4,000 employees, which was successfully implemented in April,” Schambach said.
“It was a total modernization of our IT environment.”

Departmental offices will also get a technology upgrade next year. “We need to
become more technology responsive,” said Dale Seward, the departmental offices CIO.
“We need a complete modernization of our hardware and software assets including a
standard e-mail system.”

The Customs Service will upgrade its infrastructure next year, said S.W.
“Woody” Hall, the Customs Service CIO.

“Because Customs has a decentralized computer system with large databases,
archiving strategies are important to us to bring together information,” Hall said.

He called the upgrade a priority for next year. Hall, who left his CIO post at the
Energy Department in the spring, was formally introduced to his fellow CIOs at the
roundtable. He told the panel he cannot wait to start building systems again.

“The bureau level is where I want to be right now in my career,” Hall said.

Disaster recovery is on the mind of John Murray, deputy CIO at the Financial Management
Service. FMS cuts checks for the federal government.

“Entitlements can’t stop because one of our systems goes down,” Murray
said. “We need to have a backup system somewhere else.”

Other priorities for FMS include systems security, debt management and post-year 2000
issues, Murray said.

Seward also expressed concern about the aging IT work force at Treasury; about 67
percent of the senior people will retire in the next five years. Filling those positions
with capable people is hard because of the higher salaries offered in the private sector,
he said.

Ron Thomsen, deputy CIO at the Secret Service, said his agency has to come up with
uniform wireless communications and supporting databases. There is a push for all law
enforcement agencies to use the same communications system, he said. Federal, state and
local law enforcement agencies communicate on several systems now, he said.

Fixing date code in time for 2000 is still the biggest focus for bureau CIOs, officials
said. Each IT representative at the roundtable predicted when his department’s
systems would be ready: ATF, March 1999; Customs, summer 1999; departmental offices, March
1999; FMS, fall 1999; and Secret Service, June 1999.  


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