Timeline of GCN 20 years


Wright Key Factor in 'Reform 88.'
The Office of Management and Budget launches a sweeping program to improve administration of federal agencies. Joseph R. Wright Jr., deputy director of OMB, spearheaded the program.'December

Frank Carr: GSA's Information Resources Management Role.
The head of the General Services Administration's new
IRM Service discusses implementing the Paperwork Reduction Act.'January

Apply Security Controls to Micros, Expert Urges.
Timothy Braithwaite of the Social Security Administration says the advent of the microcomputer raises questions about the accuracy and integrity of information systems.'March


GAO Prods Stockman on Micros.
The General Accounting Office informs Office of Management and Budget director David Stockman that there is a near-total lack of centralized small-computer management in the government.'April

Grace Committee Task Force Report on ADP/OA.
A group of private-sector computer experts and business executives say the federal government could save $11.2 billion over the next three years through systems use.'July

Air Force Personnel System Goes Governmentwide.
At least a half-dozen civilian agencies are using the Air Force Civilian Personnel Data System, which runs on Burroughs mainframes.'August


GSA Computer Store'A Success Story.
The Office Technology Plus microcomputer store in the General Services Administration's Washington headquarters building had been expected to achieve $2.5 million in sales in its first year, but sales totaled $4.2 million after the first four months.'January

Computer-Related Jobs Overgraded, OPM Data Shows.
An Office of Personnel Management study suggests that 28.5 percent of all federal computer jobs are graded too high.'May

IRS Head Sees Danger in Increased Data Sharing with Other Agencies.
If the IRS shares information with other federal and local agencies, citizen compliance with tax laws may erode, the IRS commissioner tells a Senate subcommittee.'July

Agencies React Calmly to End of IBM Punch Cards.
The green punch cards that the Treasury Department uses as federal government checks will disappear over the next couple of years, to be replaced by paper checks. Most other agencies already have switched to faster and more direct means of data entry and are not mourning the IBM Corp. decision.'August


Congressional Mgmt. Guide Emphasizes Technology.
The 43 new members of the House have the benefit of an office management guidebook that stresses the importance of information management.'January

House, Senate Hearings Planned on IRS Foul-Up.
Congress will investigate a computer-related error that caused 27,000 companies to receive dunning letters for employee withholding taxes that they already had paid.'March

DOD's Beleaguered Medical MIS Is Under Fire from Angry Vendor.
Informatics General Corp. of Rockville, Md., sues the Defense Department to overturn the award of an $11.5 million contract to Electronic Data Systems Corp. DOD hired EDS to help it evaluate proposals for development of the Composite Health Care System.'April

SEC's EDGAR Blasted at Hearing.
The Securities and Exchange Commission has been pilot-testing its electronic filing system since September 1984, but Rep. Glenn English (D-Okla.) expresses doubts that the project will proceed as planned.'May

Bowsher Urges Complete Fin. Systems Overhaul. Comptroller general Charles Bowsher calls for a complete rebuilding of federal financial systems and processes.'June

Security Directive Lambasted.
Both private and public officials attack National Security Decision Directive 145 at a House hearing, arguing that it is confusing and inappropriately gives the Pentagon control of civilian computer security.'July

EDS Gets $223M USDA Pact.
The Agriculture Department awards a $223 million, 10-year contract to Electronic Data Systems Corp. for office systems to be installed at 5,000 offices nationwide.'October

FTS 2000 RFP Readied.
The General Services Administration publishes a draft request for proposals to replace the aging Federal Telecommunications System with new intercity services by 1990.'December


Paradyne Indicted in SSA Fraud Investigation.
Paradyne Corp., eight current or former employees, and a former Social Security Administration official are indicted by a Florida grand jury on charges of conspiring to defraud the agency in connection with a computer contract.'January

IRS Picks Zenith Laptops for Its Revenue Agents.
Zenith Data Systems won a $28 million contract to supply notebook computers to the IRS. The contract followed a $242 million Defense Department contract to Zenith for desktop PCs, the largest microcomputer contract ever awarded by the government.'March

NSA Plan to Replace DES Draws Criticism.
The Data Encryption Standard has been protecting federal data since 1978, and now the National Security Agency reportedly wants to replace it with a more secure encoding technology.'May

IRS Changes Course of Project.
The IRS revises plans for its massive Tax System Redesign program. It will rely more on in-house development and has espoused distributed databases.'June

Navy Makes Adm. Hopper Retire'Again.
'I'm not leaving; they're telling me to go,' the famous computing pioneer tells GCN after the Navy announces she will retire at age 79.'July

System to Simplify Patent Searches.
The Patent and Trademark Office completes the first stage of its new automated patent search system, which replaced a patent examination process begun by Thomas Jefferson.'August

Army Will Stop Issuing Ada Waivers.
Maj. Gen. Alan Salisbury, commander of the Army Information Systems'Engineering Command, says his office no longer would grant waivers to program managers who want to build systems in a language other than Ada.'December


ADP Spending Up by $1.2 Billion.
The administration's annual forecast says agencies will spend $16.4 billion on IT in fiscal 1987.'January

Brooks Blasts Database Directive.
Rep. Jack Brooks (D-Texas) criticizes a White House directive to safeguard government data and its implementation by the National Security Agency as 'an unprecedented expansion of the military's influence into our society, which is unhealthy and potentially dangerous.' The administration responds by backing
off on its data security plans.'March

Presidential Report Proposes Record ADP Upgrade.
The annual management report from the White House designates 17 major systems development projects as 'presidential priority systems' and calls for spending $1.4 billion over two years on them.'April

GSA Still Adamant on FTS 2000.
Despite maneuvering by bidders and congressional pressure to open the contract to more winners, the General Services Administration says it's sticking with plans to award the FTS 2000 telecommunications contract to a single company.'August

Task Force Suggests Revamping IRM Jobs.
An interagency task force calls for simpler recruiting procedures and updated IRM job classifications to stem the flow of skilled technical workers from government to industry.'September

Justice Ordered to Pay Software Licensing Fees
A bankruptcy judge orders the Justice Department to pay Inslaw Inc., a Washington software company, more than $5 million in retroactive licensing fees. The department appeals the ruling.'October


AF Suspends Z-248 Buys; DOD Orders for Micros Far Exceed Contract.
Although the Air Force was authorized to buy only 90,000 PCs from Zenith Data Systems, orders for the Z-248 exceed 225,000 units and demand remaines strong.'January

Commerce Gets Trail Boss; GSA Schedules Training for First 35 Candidates.
Francis J. Balint, deputy chief of the Commerce Department's Automation Division, was named the first trail boss under a new General Services Administration program to centralize procurement management.'February

FAA Embraces Ada for Airspace System.
The Federal Aviation Administration will build its $5 billion Advanced Automation System in Ada, becoming the first civilian agency to use the language for a large application.'May

Frank Carr Quits as Head of IRMS.
After 11 years as commissioner of GSA's IRM Service, Frank J. Carr retires.'August

AF Shying Away From OS/2.
In mid-1988, the Air Force changes its Desktop III PC specifications to require MS-DOS instead of OS/2.'September


Meshing 2 Plans Is Next for FTS.
Now that FTS 2000 contracts have been awarded to AT&T Corp. and US Sprint Communications Co., GSA officials must work on meshing the different networks proposed by the two companies.'December

BDM Wins EDGAR Contract.
A team led by BDM International Inc. wins a $52 million contract to provide an electronic filing system to the Securities and Exchange Commission.'January

Hill, GSA Curb Big Navy Buys.
During a congressional investigation into whether the Navy exhibited pro-IBM Corp. bias in mainframe procurements, the Navy's authority to buy ADP equipment without specific GSA permission is limited to $2.5 million.'February

IBM Bias Inquiry Now Targets NIH.
As part of its probe of possible procurement bias, the House Government Operations Committee asks the General Accounting Office to review an $800 million contract that the National Institutes of Health awarded to IBM Corp. last year.'May

'Hungry' 1-2-3 Upgrade Greeted Warily.
Government users greet Release 3 of Lotus Development Corp.'s widely used spreadsheet with cautious optimism.'June

Air Traffic Upgrade Lagging; FAA Manager Blames IBM's Ada Tools.
Development of the software for the Federal Aviation Administration's Advanced Automation System is several months behind schedule, and agency officials blame the delay partly on immature Ada software technology being used by contractor IBM Corp.'August

Unisys Victorious in Desktop Battle.
Unisys Corp. will deliver up to 250,000 16- and 20-MHz 386 computers to Defense Department units under the Desktop III contract awarded this month.'November

Security Breaches Up Dramatically on Milnet.
Security breaches on the Defense Communications Agency's unclassified data network have escalated to several incidents a day.'December

You Get a Killer Deal on Desktop III 386s.
Now that the protest of the Desktop III contract award to Unisys Corp. has been settled, military micro buyers can look forward to getting well-equipped machines at exceptional prices.'January


PC Price Competition Has Vendors Worried.
To win big federal PC contracts, vendors cut their prices drastically, and some predict the effect will drive all but the biggest vendors out of business.'March

Philcox Is IRS' First Info Chief.
Longtime IRM official Henry H. Philcox was named the first CIO of the IRS.'April

Non-Unix OS Is Posix-Compliant.
Unisys Corp. introduces a Posix option for its CTOS operating system, a non-Unix multitasking OS.'June

FTS Data Costs May Be Higher.
An independent analysis concludes that agencies would pay more for certain FTS 2000 data services than they would pay for the same services on the open market.'July

Dealer Buys A Lot of Trouble from U.S.
A scrap dealer who paid $45 for discarded equipment from the Justice Department apparently got sensitive files on criminal cases in the bargain, and Justice sues him to recover the items.'September

CIM Plan Wins Big in Budget Marathon.
Congress decides to shift about $1 billion from the military services' ADP budgets to the Corporate Information Management office in the Pentagon.'October

ADP Spending Grows by 10%.
Federal ADP spending will increase to $20.5 billion this year, the Office of Management and Budget reported.'November


Computers Linchpin of War Effort.
U.S. military officials said command and control, interoperability and automated war planning would be crucial to success on the battlefield in the war with Iraq.'January

DEC Is Lined Up to Deliver 8,000 PC LANs to the Navy.
Digital Equipment Corp. is the apparent winner of a three-year contract to supply LANs to the Navy.'March

VA IRM Shake-Up Ends Lewis' Tenure.
The Veterans Affairs Department eliminates the job of the first and only person to hold the post of assistant secretary for IRM in a Cabinet department.'April

USDA Develops Prototype for Corporate Database.
Three Agriculture Department agencies put the finishing touches on a prototype system that could lead to the government's first corporate database.'May

AT&T Scores Big ADP Win in $1.4 Billion TMAC Coup.
Under a seven-year requirements contract, AT&T Corp. will supply the Treasury Department with 3,200 Unix minicomputers, 50,000 PCs, networks and other items.'July

AIX Goes Native on IBM ES/9000.
IBM Corp. announces that it will deliver AIX/ESA, a version of Unix, to run as a native operating system on the company's mainframes.'September

Desktop IV Awarded in Record Time.
Just five months after issuing the solicitation, the Air Force awards Defense Department PC requirements contracts totaling $667 million to CompuAdd Corp. of Austin, Texas, and Sysorex Information Systems Inc. of Falls Church, Va.'November

SEC Delays Live Filings on EDGAR.
The Securities and Exchange Commission postpones for six months the start of live test filings on its new paperless system for receiving reports from regulated companies.'December


EDS finally gets CORN for $508 million.
The Federal Aviation Administration chooses Electronic Data Systems Corp. as its outsourcing contractor for the next decade under the Computer Resources Nucleus program.'February

Downsized tax system takes up auditing load.
IRS examiners in Ogden, Utah, are using a new client-server system to detect unreported and underreported income. The new system replaced manual methods.'April

EPA contractor's employee indicted.
A federal grand jury in Greensboro, N.C., indicts a former employee of the Environmental Protection Agency's major PC supplier, American Coastal Industries Inc., on charges of defrauding the agency of more than $700,000.'June

USDA botched data project, study says.
Agriculture Department managers have bungled a massive overhaul of administrative processing, independent auditors reports.'July

Desktop IV: This time, it's Zenith.
After last year's selection of two PC suppliers for the Defense Department was overturned by protests, the Air Force awarded a new contract to a single winner, Zenith Data Systems, which bid $740 million.'September

Conyers' procurement bill: a case of going, going, gone.
Before Congress adjourned its session, the House passed a much-discussed ADP procurement bill, but the Senate failed to act.'October

DOD unveils plan for new message net.
The Defense Department issues a request for information for the Defense Message System, which will replace AUTODIN, its secure messaging network.'January


IRS pushes for electronic filing by 2001.
The IRS sets a goal of receiving 100 million paperless personal income tax returns by 2001.'February

At long last, curtain rises on EDGAR.
The first wave of companies uses the Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis and Retrieval System to file financial documents with the Securities and Exchange Commission.'April

When is e-mail an official record?
The answer continues to elude feds. Federal records managers struggle to archive e-mail records as legal battle ensues over White House e-mail policies.'June

Flaws and all, NT finally hits the street'but do you need it?
Microsoft releases first version of Windows NT. The 32-bit operating system weighed in at 3.5 million lines.'August

Finally, Clinton gets the ball rolling on info infrastructure.
The White House unveils its National Performance Review agenda and issues a nine-point action plan for building the information superhighway.'September


Hold the noisemakers: Why system managers dread midnight, 12-31-99.
Feds get the first inkling of what lies ahead in preparing federal systems to handle four-digit dates.'November

It's farewell to mainframes as Census plans for 2000.
The Census Bureau retires the first of three Unisys 1100 mainframes, kicking off a systems overhaul in preparation for the next decennial census.'January

Public locator for govt. data will debut on Internet.
The Office of Management and Budget directs agencies to begin creating online directories to their data for inclusion in the Government Information Locator Service.'April

Study confirms fed preference for TCP/IP, not mandatory OSI.
Despite the government's push for use of the Open Systems Interconnection protocols, an independent study finds that federal agencies are more likely than any other sector of the economy to use TCP/IP.'May

Gore to agencies: Deliver benefits online by 1999.
The Clinton administration issues a plan that said agencies would deliver federal and state benefits electronically by 1999.'June

Team publishes building blocks for federal EDI.
An e-commerce task force releases a plan identifying 18 federal conventions for using the ANSI X12 standard for electronic data interchange transactions.'July

It's almost official: You needn't require compliance with GOSIP.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology ends mandatory use of Government Open Systems Interconnection Profile after a 45-day comment period.'September


HHS' Shalala launches first federal EDI buy.
The Health and Human Services Department is the first agency to use a fledging federal e-commerce system for a procurement.'October

GSA halts work on PTO modernization.
The General Services Administration pulls the plug on the Patent and Trademark Office's modernization efforts and orders agency to revise its plans.'January

IT budget retreats by 6 percent.
For the first time, the government plans to decrease its systems spending. The Office of Management and Budget says fiscal 1996 IT spending will drop to 1994 levels.'April

Cohen bill takes aim at GSA, Brooks law.
Sen. William Cohen proposes bill to shift IT oversight from the General Services Administration to the Office of Management and Budget'June

What's really behind the Windows 95 curtain?
Microsoft Corp. releases its latest operating system, Windows 95.'August

OMB: Agencies must close 100 small data sites.
The Office of Management and Budget orders agencies to shutter all small processing facilities by June 1998.'September


In shutdown, some fed IT pros show just why they're essential.
Teams of federal employees keep the government's systems running during the White House standoff with Congress over the fiscal 1995 budget.'November

Congress passes IT overhaul.
Lawmakers pass the IT Management Reform Act, known as the Clinger-Cohen Act, and bring an end to the 30-year reign of the Brooks Act over federal systems procurements.'February

EDI by '97? No way, agencies tell Clinton.
A series of industry and government reports conclude that agencies won't meet a deadline to eliminate most paper processes by 1997 as the president ordered in 1993.'March

SEC eliminates paper financial filings'at last.
The Securities and Exchange Commission brings the final group of companies onto its Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis and Retrieval System.'May

DISA buys 180,000 licenses for Navigator.
The Defense Department revs up to get Web-ready after the Defense Information Systems Agency signs a deal for the Netscape Navigator browser.'July


Four agencies earn an A on year 2000 report card.
Of 24 agencies that responded to a congressional survey, only seven are effectively preparing their systems to deal with dates after Dec. 31, 1999. OMB's John Koskinen vows the government will be ready.'August

Agencies refuse to let mainframes fade away.
A survey of federal and state systems chiefs finds that most agencies have increased their plug-compatible mainframe capacity to support legacy and new applications.'December

GSA pushes PC rentals.
The General Services Administration unveils its Seat Management Program, urging agencies to consider PC operations as a service they should outsource to a vendor.'March

Agencies scramble to comply with Electronic FOIA rules.
On April 1, the Electronic Freedom of Information Act made all electronic messages and records subject to FOIA rules.'April

Administration to relax digital signature policy.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology begins an overhaul of its digital-signature standard so agencies can use commercial signature algorithms.'May

OMB demands IT architectures.
Office of Management and Budget administrator Franklin D. Raines orders agencies to develop systems architecture plans within a year.'July


Defense lifts its Ada requirement for programming.
The Defense Department says it will no longer require DOD programmers to use Ada exclusively for developing software for weapons systems and other applications. The mandate has been in place for 10 years. 'June

Bid deadline for FTS slips to '98.
Although the General Services Administration had originally planned to accept bids for FTS 2001 in July 1997, changes force it to postpone the deadline until the following year.'October

OMB moves up 2000 deadline.
The Office of Management and Budget decides agencies must finish date code repairs by March 1999 rather than November.'February

To stem departures, IRS will give 1,000 programmers 10% bonus.
As keeping systems workers grows tougher, the government OKs an IRS plan to spend $61 million over two years to pay bonuses to coders it hopes will stay with the agency.'March

NARA floats record plan.
The National Archives and Records Administration proposes a plan for archiving all word processing e-mail records that would let agencies use a mix of electronic and paper formats.'June

AF gets top CMM rating.
The Ogden Air Logistics Center's Software Engineering Division receives the Level 5 Capability Maturity Model rating. Only four other organizations'all companies'have achieved the top rating.'August

CIO Council gives its OK to federal IT architecture.
The federal CIO Council approves a concept for the first governmentwide enterprise architecture.'September

Online mandate passes.
Congress approves a bill giving agencies five years to post forms online and accept digital signatures.'October

NASA steps out on seat.
NASA becomes the first agency to try the government's new seat management contracts, awarding a pair of orders to outsource PC operations.'November

CSC wins IRS' Prime contract.
The IRS awards a 15-year, $5 billion contract to Computer Sciences Corp. to modernize its tax processing systems, recommitting itself to an effort begun more than a decade earlier.'December

Justice bans Net applets.
Fearing a systems breach, the Justice Department demands that all its bureaus block script code from download via e-mail or the Internet.'January


Feds turn Y2K corner.
After several tough critiques, Rep. Steve Horn (R-Calif.) lauds agencies' status on repairing date code and said he expected few systems failures come Jan. 1.'March

EPA faces Web impasse; terrorism fear leads agency to forgo posting chemical data.
Bowing to lawmakers' demands, the Environmental Protection Agency decides not post online its worst-case projections of the release of toxins by chemical plants.'April

OMB requires agencies to post Web privacy policies.
The administration issues an order requiring agencies to post easily accessible privacy policies on their Web sites.'May

IT salary plan dropped.
The CIO Council tables a proposal for a separate salary schedule for IT workers.'July

Army looks into biometric identification
The Army wants to eliminate passwords for verifying systems users.'September

Agencies ready plans for Day One.
The Office of Management and Budget details the essentials that agencies need to assure an easy transition to year 2000.'October

Government is home to fastest computers.
Supercomputers run by agencies took eight of the top 10 spots on a list ranking the 500 speediest computers in the world.'November


Feds find themselves defending success on Y2K.
Agencies saw their date code repair efforts pay off as systems handled the 2000 rollover without failure.'January

Is Microsoft's NT successor what you need?
Feds show interest but aren't quite ready to take the plunge and try out Microsoft Windows 2000.'February

Agencies fear Sect. 508 costs.
With rules pending on making IT accessible to users with disabilities, agencies raise questions about how they'll pay for the changes.'April

Gore and Bush make e-gov a campaign issue.
As the presidential campaign begins to heat up, Vice President Gore and George Bush both include e-government proposals on their campaign agendas.'June

Federal IT security barely passes muster.
Congress reviews agencies' systems security and gives the government
a D overall for its cybersecurity readiness.'September

Clinton calls for single portal to federal site.
The president announces plans for FirstGov, a portal to online information governmentwide.'July

Pentagon rebuilds with Gigabit Ethernet.
As part of a Pentagon face-lift, the Defense Department will shift its communications networks from asynchronous transfer mode to a 1-Gbps Ethernet backbone.'December


Quantico Marines are first to get smart cards.
The Defense Department kicks off use of smart cards under its Common Access Card program, doling out the cards to 200 users at the Marine Corps base in Quantico, Va.'January

Bush budget pushes outsourcing.
In his first budget proposal, President Bush calls for more outsourcing and points to IT as a way agencies can cut costs.'March

Section 508 becomes this year's Y2K.
Agencies scurry to make sure their Web sites and systems are accessible to disabled users by the June deadline of the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1998.'April

SSA takes the PKI lead.
The Social Security Administration pioneers the first large-scale use of the General Services Administrations' public-key infrastructure program.'May

New e-gov chief is not governmentwide CIO.
Mark Forman, a former senior staff member in the Senate, begins his job as associate director for IT and e-government, a new post at the Office of Management and Budget.'June

Agencies move to boost defenses.
A day after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the government's IT managers begin identifying security changes that will be required to protect the nation's critical data and systems.'September

Defense review focuses on IT.
In its new Quadrennial Defense Review, the Pentagon highlights five objectives all highly dependent on IT and calls for a network-centric approach to warfighting.'October

OMB: Pass the hat for e-gov funds.
Having OKed 24 cross-agency e-government initiatives, the Office of Management and Budget tells agencies they will have to reprogram funds and share other resources for the Quicksilver projects.'December


  • Russia prying into state, local networks

    A Russian state-sponsored advanced persistent threat actor targeting state, local, territorial and tribal government networks exfiltrated data from at least two victims.

  • Marines on patrol (US Marines)

    Using AVs to tell friend from foe

    The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is looking for ways autonomous vehicles can make it easier for commanders to detect and track threats among civilians in complex urban environments without escalating tensions.

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