House IT subcommittee kicks off 11 hearing schedule

Rep. Adam Putnam (R-Fla.) has set a busy schedule of hearings on agency IT issues, ranging from several security topics to data mining and information sharing.

The chairman of the House Government Reform subcommittee on Information Technology, Information Policy, Intergovernmental Relations and the Census will tomorrow hold the first of 11 hearings scheduled over the next two months. Tomorrow's hearing will focus on identity management, and using biometrics and smart-card technology in the federal government.

'This is a pretty ambitious schedule,' said Robert Dix, the subcommittee staff director. 'We have a full plate, but its time to get to some solutions at this point because after the previous 13 hearings, we've done a lot of learning.'

The subcommittee is scheduled to receive testimony from Sandra Bates, commissioner of the General Services Administration's Federal Technology Service; David Chu, the Defense Department's undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness; and Joel Willemssen, the General Accounting Office's managing director for IT issues.

Dix said the subcommittee then will hold a hearing Wednesday on securing the national computer system against worms and viruses.

The rest of the tentative schedule includes:

Sept. 17'Cybersecurity common criteria. The subcommittee will look at whether there should be a certification and quality assurance process for software that is bought by the federal government.

Sept. 18'Closed session on supervisory control and data acquisition systems (SCADAS), which are automated control systems that run power grids and utility systems.

Sept. 23'Office of Personnel Management e-government projects. 'Our plan is to progress through a number of e-government projects and, given how far OPM has moved, we thought it was time to look at them,' Dix said.

Sept. 30'Data mining tools to identify bioterrorism and other health related issues.

Oct. 7'Homeland Security Department's IT investment strategy and enterprise architecture plan.

Oct. 8'National strategy for information sharing between DHS and law enforcement agencies.

Oct. 14'GSA's E-Travel project. Dix said this hearing will try to answer a number of questions about the project, including the impact on agencies and small businesses and the savings expected.

Oct. 21'Federal technology R&D. Dix said there needs to be more oversight in this area.

Oct. 28'Agency results from the Federal Information Security Management Act reports that are due to the Office of Management and Budget Sept. 22.

Putnam also is considering his first IT legislation, which would require publicly traded companies to provide status reports of their IT security plans in their annual disclosures to the Federal Trade Commission, Dix said.

'Agencies are required to do this through FISMA,' Dix said. 'We would not ask for any private information, but just the chief executive officer signing off that the company has performed an IT security plan audit, and it has been verified by a third party.'

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