INTERVIEW: On the road to consolidation


George R. Molaski

George R. Molaski is the Transportation Department's first chief information officer. He joined the department in June 1999 and brings more than 25 years of executive management experience in computer sciences to the position.

Most recently he was president and part owner of, an electronic-commerce site providing distance education and on-demand publishing.

Previously, he held senior management positions including executive vice president and chief operating officer of Advanced Paradigms Inc. of Alexandria, Va.; president of IDC Government of Falls Church, Va.; vice president of DataFocus Inc. of Fairfax, Va.; regional consulting director with Oracle Corp.; and consulting partner with Grant Thornton LLP, an accounting and management consultant of Irvine, Calif.

Molaski recently spoke with GCN about information technology challenges at Transportation.

Who's In Charge

George Molaski

Chief Information Officer

Daniel Mehan

CIO, Federal Aviation Administration

Rear Adm. Vivien Crea

CIO, Coast Guard

Michael Vecchetti

Associate Administrator, Federal Highway Administration

Michael Curtis

Director of Information Technology, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

Dorrie Aldrich

Associate Administrator, Federal Transit Administration

Ralph Ferguson

Director of Management and Information Services, Maritime Administration

Ray Rogers

Assoicate Administrator, Federal Railroad Administration

Herman Simms

Associate Administrator, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Marie Savoy

Director of Administration Office, Research and Special Programs Administration

Kevin O'Malley

Head of Informatin Technology, St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corp.

David J. Litman

Director of Acquisition and Grant Management, Transportation


(in millions, fiscal 1999)

Lockheed Martin Corp.$240.07
Computer Sciences Corp.$89.03
Raytheon Co.$70.96
Management Assistance$69.86
Unisys Corp.$56.30
Science Applications International Corp.$43.47
Signal Corp.$29.10
ISSI Inc.$17.45
Fuentez Systems Concepts Inc.$12.54

Sources for this GCN Snapshot include the Transportation Department and Input of Chantilly, Va.

MOLASKI: One of the biggest issues with transportation is that our organization is really making a concerted effort to break down some of the stovepipes between the different modes and to look at the world of transportation more intermodally, rather than as airlines and railways and highways. Because they all are interconnected, we have to look at transportation more holistically.

To prepare for the closing of the Defense Department's AUTODIN, the Coast Guard built two local control centers as its first points into the new Defense Message System. Stations in Chesapeake, Va., and Point Reyes, Calif., went online late last year. Both locations can communicate with any DMS recipient in the world. The centers connect to DOD's Non-Classified IP Router Network and Secret IP Router Network. They will run DMS versions of Microsoft Exchange under Windows NT for e-mail functions. DMS HP-UX platforms will host mail list, profiling, network monitoring, X.500 directory and trouble ticket services.

Likewise, we need to be able to do that with our information technology systems to be able to support that move. So I see bringing together a lot of IT initiatives within the different modes, taking the data collected by different modes, and displaying it and using it together.

For example, let's talk about safety data. Take highway accidents that are reported and take railway-crossing accidents and combine those types of data, and you can get a good picture of what is happening at railway crossings.
In addition, it's using IT smarter in that we, like other organizations, have little fiefdoms of IT. We need to bring those together and make smarter judgements about IT. For example, we don't need each node to run off and develop its own human resources system. Our payroll system needs to be updated across the board.

Start saving

We spend between $650 million and $750 million a year in telecommunications costs. The Treasury Department, through its telecommunications consolidation, has shown that it expects to save $400 million a year. NASA went from $300 million a year to $100 million a year in their telecommunications costs as part of the consolidations. We need to do that here at DOT, too. We need to do that across government.

We need to consolidate data centers as well. We collect a lot of data here at DOT. I think we are the third or fourth information collectors after the IRS and Census Bureau. The reason for that is all the drug testing of all the transportation workers. All the accident reporting and all the licensing that we do. We need to look at making that information Web-accessible and that will help reduce our overall operational costs. We've got to look at getting the collection of that data so that it is uniform across the different nodes.

For example, very few nodes use geographic information system tags for the data that they collect. We have a GIS task force developed under the lead of our Bureau of Transportation Statistics to really start formulating how we are going to do that consistently across the nodes so that we can start pulling this GIS data together.

And we need to look at how to link the data, not only across nodes but also across agencies. For example, the Environmental Protection Agency has a Superfund site. We don't want to be building a road through that Superfund site'not until that site is cleaned up.

If you go to welfare for work, you take census data and it will show you where the poorer people are. It will show you, hopefully from some local data, where the jobs are. Then, you have a transportation problem. So, it's a lot of use of that type of data that we need to see taking place in the next three to four years.

Major programs

Marine Safety Network'Computer Sciences Corp. is developing the Marine Safety Network to replace the Coast Guard's Marine Safety Information System. Work planned for the network includes hardware and software replacement, development of additional functions for automation support for 36 major activities and integration of the Office of the Secretary's systems into a compatible network under a $21.3 million contract.

Security equipment upgrade'Raytheon Co. will provide the Federal Aviation Administration with security equipment integration, installation and technical services to support the Office of Civil Aviation Security Policy and Planning's Technology Integration Division under a $182 million contract. The contract specifies one year of service with four one-year options.

Automated Flight Service'Evans Consoles Inc. of Calgary, Alberta, will provide FAA with automated flight service station consoles at 61 flight stations nationwide under a $9.4 million contract. Approximately 1,500 consoles will be replaced.

Transportation Research Office'Four vendors will tackle systems engineering and support for the Research and Special Projects Administration's Volpe National Transportation Systems Center under a $1.6 billion contract. They are Battelle Memorial Institute of Columbus, Ohio; Labblee Corp. of Alexandria, Va.; TAC Worldwide Cos. of Newton, Mass.; and PricewaterhouseCoopers of New York.

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