FedTeds to become mandatory for sensitive procurement data

Eight agencies currently use the Federal Technical Data Solution system, an online temporary repository of sensitive but unclassified technical procurement data that is linked to the FedBizOpps.gov Web site. But soon every agency will be required to use the system, also known as FedTeds.

The Federal Acquisition Regulation Council 'very soon' will issue a final rule making FedTeds mandatory, said Richard Clark, FedTeds program manager, yesterday at the FOSE 2006 trade show in Washington sponsored by PostNewsweek Tech Media, the parent company of Government Computer News.

The Defense Information Systems Agency developed FedTeds, which the Defense Department is moving to the Business Transformation Agency, and is supported by IBM Corp. The Homeland Security Department, the General Services Administration and the Office of Management and Budget also oversee parts of the system.

'We defined sensitive but unclassified data in the proposed rule [in November 2004] and we gave agencies guidance,' Clark said. '[Agencies] also have to decide what is sensitive data for them. It is different for each agency.'

According to Clark, the Army Corps of Engineers, for instance, said all their data is sensitive so they put all their procurement data on FedTeds. The Air Force, the Navy, the Missile Defense Agency, the Coast Guard, Customs and Border Protection, the General Services Administration and Treasury Department also use FedTeds.

Clark added that the Commerce and Justice departments and the Transportation Security Administration also have been trained to use it.

But under the eventual FAR final rule, every agency will be required to use the system.

Clark said the system, launched in February 2003, had not been heavily marketed to government agencies in previous years, but with its inclusion in the Integrated Acquisition Environment E-Government project, more agencies started to use it.

'At any time you can find a lot of sensitive data on publicly accessible sites that should be on FedTeds,' Clark said. 'At any one time, 23 countries have accessed FedBizOpps.gov looking for this type of sensitive data, and they are not trying to bid on procurements. We are working with the Energy Department to put nuclear power plant construction drawings on FedTeds, and we are working with other agencies as well, like the Navy and NASA.'

FedTeds holds sensitive but unclassified technical information that vendors need to bid on solicitations such as architecture blueprints or specifications of computer systems. The information is stored for a certain amount of time and then discarded, Clark said.

Vendors must register with the Central Contractor Registration and get a user name and password. There are more than 20,000 vendors who are registered to use FedTeds, Clark said.

Agencies also use FedTeds by logging on with the same two-factor authentication, and they can control who has access to specific documents if they need to. Clark said anywhere from 2,500 to 5,000 federal employees use the system.

Clark said his office hopes to enhance FedTeds over the next year by adding a secure File Transfer Protocol capability for agencies to send documents to the system and have a secure bidders list.

'These are inexpensive options,' he said. 'These are going through our governance process right now. If we have the funds, we do these things.'

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