Funding shortfall is squeezing TSA's IT work

If the Transportation Security Administration does not receive some budget relief soon, parts of the second phase of its IT roll out could be jeopardy.

Patrick Schambach, TSA CIO, today said the agency is short $1.6 billion for fiscal 2003 and this shortfall will touch all parts of the agency, including the IT initiatives.

'We are trying to figure out what will suffer, whether it is head count, training or something else,' Schambach said. 'We are waiting to hear from [undersecretary for transportation security] Admiral [James] Loy about what trade offs we will have to make to cover the shortfall.'

TSA is suppose to receive some funds from the supplemental request President Bush sent to Congress, but Schambach was not sure how much. The House passed its version of the bill April 2 while the Senate agreed upon its version last night. Now the bill will go to conference so lawmakers can iron out their differences.

Schambach said the second phase'called the white package'of the agency's IT rollout includes giving the 429 airports broadband connections, LANs, offsite application hosting and more desktop PCs.

'No airport has the white package yet,' he said. 'Employees are using a dial up modem to connect to our virtual private network and that doesn't cut it.'

Schambach, who spoke about performance based contracting today at the FOSE 2003 conference in Washington, said he is working with TSA contractor Unisys Corp. to try to reduce costs to find the money to roll out the package more widely.

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