Feds must lead the EC charge

The IRS sees PKI
as its secret key to Net tax filing 

James J. Flyzik, deputy assistant secretary of Treasury for
information systems and the department’s chief information officer, considers
electronic commerce the most important information technology issue confronting the
department beyond 2000.

Flyzik oversees the planning and implementation of Treasury’s IT systems. The
15-year department employee formerly held key IT management positions at the Secret

Flyzik served as team leader on Vice President Al Gore’s National Performance
Review Information Technology Team. He then was chairman the Government Information
Technology Services Working Group, which implemented NPR’s IT recommendations and
coordinated government services projects for the National Information Infrastructure plan.
He is now vice chairman of the CIO Council.

The Association for Federal Information Resources Management named Flyzik its IT
Executive of the Year in June. Flyzik discussed how Treasury will integrate EC into its

FLYZIK: Electronic commerce is a huge
piece in Treasury’s modernization effort.

Dozens of government agencies want to be involved in the way goods and services move in
and out of the country.

Individual importers or exporters have to deal with all these agencies today in a
paper-based form. The paper processed at the border, such as bills and the collection of
tariffs, as goods move in and out is an administrative, paper-driven process.

If we go to EC, we can let trucks communicate via a wireless connection with the border
as they approach. The trucks can send information to the border about the goods and
products they have on board. When they cross, their goods will be precleared and all the
tariffs and collections will be automatically done.

This will revolutionize the way government does business. Not to mention it’s a

Government will reduce its administrative costs dramatically, with agencies now dealing
with one EC transaction. It will also let the trade community do just-in-time
manufacturing and just-in-time delivery so they can get their goods and products across
the border more quickly.

EC will play a big role in future tax administration. IRS modernization will rely
heavily on electronic filing, allowing citizens to file from their home computers.

The problem we have today is that EC requires some type of a signed document. We want
to have a digital signature process or public-key infrastructure in place where you can
give some unique identifier. The process can then be automated where you won’t have
to send in a signed document.

We want to put an EC clearinghouse process in the Treasury corporate enterprise system,
the largest WAN in government.

We want to implement in our network control center one place that clears all EC
transactions. This prevents each of our 14 bureaus from building their own infrastructure
and applications.

Government needs to take the lead in getting the public to accept EC. Government needs
to have a public-key infrastructure in place.

Citizens need a place to go where they can show two forms of identification to get a
certificate that authorizes them to use EC. They need to know there’s an
infrastructure for that. Government is well on its way to doing a bunch of pilots.

We also have to break the culture issue of getting people to work together.

The only way we do this is by showing things actually working. We need to do pilots and
demonstrations that show how a system improves and streamlines operations.  

International Trade Data System—ITDS will be an integrated, governmentwide system
for the electronic collection, use and dissemination of international trade data. The
system will have a single electronic interface. Users will collect trade data using
standard data elements and share a database across agencies. Treasury hosts the project
office and has released its ITDS plan for agency and industry comment and review.

Automated Commercial Environment—ACE provides high-volume, real-time transactional
processing directly supporting the lifecycle of an entry for the Customs Service. The
system includes historical transaction data to let users search for noncompliance trends.
It supports remote filing, account management, reduced data entry, periodic payments and
paperless border processing. ACE will replace the Automated Commercial System and work
with ITDS.

Tax System Modernization—The IRS effort includes organizational restructuring and
re-engineering business processes and replacing, upgrading and integrating tax processing
systems. Phase 1 of the revamped effort will focus on creating centralized data warehouses
to provide access to online relational databases for tracking taxpayer accounts. In the
five-phase effort, the IRS aims to improve customer service, compliance and financial

Consolidated Information Systems—COINS will create an integrated planning system
with financial, manufacturing, sales, distribution and database marketing apps for Mint
users. The system will support efforts to operate a self-directed enterprise and benefit
financial, operations and marketing efforts.

The Treasury Department will coordinate an effort to get federal, state and local
public safety agencies on the same frequency when they switch to digital narrowband

“Today in Washington, the Secret Service can’t talk to the Bureau of Alcohol,
Tobacco and Firearms, who can’t talk to Customs, who can’t talk to the FBI, who
can’t talk to the Drug Enforcement Agency, who can’t talk to the local police,
who can’t talk to the firemen, who can’t talk to the ambulances because they are
all on different frequencies,” said James J. Flyzik, Treasury’s chief
information officer.

Treasury assumed responsibility for the nationwide wireless program Oct. 1, with the
Public Safety Wireless Network, Federal Law Enforcement Wireless Users Group, and Wireless
and Radio Services and Support now under the department’s umbrella.

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration wants all governments to
convert to digital narrowband technology by 2005. The government now operates in the VHF
or UHF band, but will go from analog to digital communications.

“When we go digital, we want a coordinated effort so that we have a shared
infrastructure where all these different communities of interest can talk to one another
and mobilize,” Flyzik said.

The nationwide wireless program started several years ago with an auction of the
frequency spectrum. Government has to do a better job of managing and optimizing its use
of frequencies, Flyzik said.

Treasury and its bureaus will work with the Justice Department and state and local
governments to meet NTIA’s mandate.

“This is a huge, huge program impacting not just the federal government, but state
and local governments,” Flyzik said. “This is the next year 2000 problem.”

Treasury placed added emphasis on business continuity planning.

The department has also addressed its telecommunications infrastructure, data exchanges
with external partners and independent verification and validation.

Treasury identified 320 mission-critical systems and completed its renovation work Oct.
1, Flyzik said. The department has allowed an entire year for testing the renovated

The department estimates its year 2000 efforts will cost $1.9 billion.

FMS oversees implementation of the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996. The law
requires that by January all agencies make salary, benefit, vendor and miscellaneous
payments electronically. The use of EFT will reduce fraud, cut costs and speed payments,
officials said.

James J. Flyzik
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Information Systems and Chief Information Officer

Jane L. Sullivan
Director, Office of Information Technology Policy and Management

Patrick Schambach
Assistant Director of Science and Technology, and CIO, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and

Steven Yohai
CIO, Comptroller of the Currency

S.W. “Woody’’ Hall Jr.
CIO, Customs Bureau

Ron Falter
CIO, Bureau of Engraving and Printing

Constance E. Craig
Assistant Commissioner of Information Resources and CIO, Financial Management Service

Paul J. Cosgrave

Jacquelyn Fletcher
Assistant IRM Director, Mint

Noel Keesor
Assistant Commissioner of Automated Information Systems, Bureau of the Public Debt

Ron Thomsen
IRM Chief, Secret Service

Frank DiGialleonardo
IRM Director, Office of Thrift Supervision

TOTAL $318.3


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