BREAKING NEWS

The Customs Service has announced plans to reorganize its Office of Information
Technology.


The project is one of the first major overhauls of Customs systems operations and one
of the first efforts of S.W. “Woody” Hall, Customs’ chief information
officer. Hall left his Energy Department CIO post to take the Customs job this spring.


The details of the changes Hall has planned are still being worked out, Customs
officials said. “No one exactly knows who will be doing what when this is
completed,” one official said.


All total, the Customs IT Office has 500 employees that run and maintain computer and
telecommunications systems for the Treasury Department agency.


Three House lawmakers this month voiced their opposition to a General Services
Administration plan to change the way the government buys financial software.


GSA wants to consolidate the mandatory Financial Management Systems Software Schedule
with the Information Technology Schedule. As part of the change, GSA would transfer
oversight of financial software buys from its Federal Technology Service to the Federal
Supply Services. GSA also wants to boost competition by letting more companies sell their
products to the government.


Under current regulations, agencies must buy financial software from the schedule to
help ensure uniform financial operations throughout the government.


Three FMSS vendors—American Management Systems Inc. of Fairfax, Va., KPMG Peat
Marwick of New York and Keane Federal Systems Inc. of Rockville, Md.—formed the
Coalition for Federal Financial Accountability to fight the proposed consolidation.


After meeting with coalition representatives this month, Reps. Steve Horn (R-Calif.),
Tom Davis (R-Va.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) wrote a letter to GSA Administrator David J.
Barram supporting the coalition’s position.


The General Accounting Office late last month sustained a protest filed by Electronic
Design Inc. of Metarie, La., against a Smart Ship contract awarded to another company.


GAO sided with EDI against the Navy, which gave a $138.6 million contract to Litton
Integrated Systems Corp. of Woodland Hills, Calif., to install Smart Ship technology on 26
ships by 2006.


The Naval Sea Systems Command in May awarded Litton the contract to build Engineering
Control System Equipment and Integrated Bridge Systems for CG-47 Class Aegis cruisers. But
GAO ruled that the Navy had awarded the contract improperly.


“We conclude that the Navy’s evaluation and source-selection decision did not
give significant consideration to price and therefore was inconsistent with the
Competition in Contracting Act of 1984 and cannot form the basis for an award,” GAO
said.


The request for proposals, issued in December, did not state the relative weight of
price vs. other evaluation factors, GAO said.


The Health Care Financing Administration has placed a $3.3 million order with SRA
International Inc. for help testing the agency’s date code fixes.


The Fairfax, Va., company will help the agency ensure that mission-critical systems at
HCFA’s data center in Baltimore are year 2000-ready, HCFA chief information officer
Gary Christoph said.


The Baltimore center processes HCFA account records for federal and state government
agencies and Medicare contractors, Christoph said.


SRA will provide the services through a blanket purchasing agreement it has with the
Health and Human Services Department. 


The General Services Administration’s Federal Technology Service has delayed
making a response on the Boeing Information Services Inc.’s protest of the Seat
Management contracts.


GSA procurement officials ruled last month that the agency-level protest had merit, but
officials did not direct GSA to award a contract to Boeing or to cancel any of the eight
contracts awarded in July for the Seat Management Program [GCN, Aug. 31, Page 1]. Through
the contracts, agencies can outsource their PC operations.


FTS officials said earlier that they would file a response by Sept. 20, but Seat
Management project manager Wanda Smith said FTS now will issue a response on its plans by
Sept. 30.


Boeing, of Vienna, Va., argued in its July protest that FTS misled vendors about the
criteria that it would use to evaluate proposals.


The Senate Judiciary Committee has approved the Year 2000 Information and Readiness
Disclosure Act, which would limit liability stemming from information shared about date
code fix-it efforts.


The bill, S 2392, would provide limited liability protection for statements regarding
date code changes made between July 14, 1998, and July 14, 2001. It would also limit
liability for information contained in readiness disclosure statements dating back to Jan.
1, 1996. It would not provide any protection for products that do not work.


The bill calls for a single Web site run by the General Services Administration to
serve as the hub for sharing date code information with consumers, small businesses and
local governments. GSA already provides such a service at http://www.itpolicy.gsa.com/.


The bill has not yet been scheduled for a vote by the full Senate, a committee source
said. In the House, Rep. David Dreier (R-Calif.) has sponsored a comparable bill, HR 4455.


The Defense Supply Service-Washington last week awarded three contracts, potentially
worth more than $1 billion jointly, for technical analysis and support services for the
triservice Military Health Service System.


Northrop Grumman Corp., Sherikon Inc. of Chantilly, Va., and SRA International Inc. of
Fairfax, Va., won the contracts. Northrop Grumman’s contract is worth an estimated
$335.5 million, Sherikon’s $337.8 million and SRA’s $398.1 million.


The five-year contracts are the second lot of the Defense Medical Information
Systems/Systems Integration, Design, Development, Operations and Maintenance Services II
program. The Defense Department defined four lots of contracts for D/SIDDOMS II.


DOD awarded the Lot 3 contracts, worth $2.5 billion, earlier this year to American
Management Systems Inc. of Fairfax, BDM International Inc. of McLean, Va., Computer
Sciences Corp., Electronic Data Systems Corp., IBM Corp., Litton PRC Inc. and Science
Applications International Corp. of San Diego. The department plans to award contracts for
the two remaining lots, each worth $500 million, to small businesses.


The Patent and Trademark Office earlier this month awarded a $172 million contract to
Reed Technology & Information Services to covert PTO’s paper patent applications
forms to a digital format.


The Horsham, Pa., company will convert the paper forms into a digital format for the
publication every Tuesday of the Official Gazette for PTO and its customers, said Mike
Bleutge, a contracting officers’ technical representative at PTO.


The company also will convert patent application files for dissemination of various
patent copies, ASCII text files and image files.


Patent data capture now takes PTO up to 42 days. The new process will cut that time to
24 days, beginning after the nine week phase-in production period, Bleutge said.


——Merry Mayer, Gregory Slabodkin,Frank Tiboni, and Christopher J.
Dorobek.
 


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