GCN Gala 2013
Honoring Agencies and Individuals for Extraordinary IT

For 26 years, GCN has honored outstanding IT achievement in the government technology community. The GCN Awards specifically recognize the work of project teams, who are working at a time when demands for high performance, security and a clear return on investment have never been greater.

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Hall of Fame

Robert Childs


National Defense iUniversity and Deputy to the President for Cyber and Information

When Robert Childs became dean of faculty and academic programs at the National Defense University in 1991, he began a long march toward turning NDU’s iCollege from a traditional IT management school into an 21st century academy equipped to educate the next generation of leaders in the risks and realities of digital government.

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Executives of the Year

Industry IT Executive of the Year

Stan Soloway
President & CEO
 Professional Services Council

There was no question about the direction Stan Soloway’s career would take two decades ago when he found himself at the intersection of the public and private sectors. It was there that he discovered the road that led to his passion — leading the Professional Services Council and tirelessly advocating for reform in government acquisition.


Government IT Executive of the Year

Daniel Werfel
Acting Commissioner
Internal Revenue Service

By the time he became controller of the Office of Management and Budget in 2009, Daniel Werfel was a leading force for the application of technology in federal financial management. While at OMB he championed using IT to deliver accountability and transparency, the twin principles of the recovery.gov and USASpending.gov projects he helped launch.


2013 GCN Agency Awards

Centers for Medicare &
Medicaid Services

Project: Medicare.gov Responsive Design

With 47 million beneficiaries, CMS addressed its need for open data and an any-place, any-device strategy. In one project, a citizen-centric redesign of Medicare.gov, CMS upgraded its website using responsive Web design principles. A second project, Assets.CMS.gov, gave the agency a reusable framework for Web services, 508-compliant code libraries and style guides. With an estimated $9.50 in savings for each self-service inquiry, CMS expects to save at least $19 million in costs for 2012 alone.

City of Austin, Texas, Police Department, Communication and Technology Management Office

Project: Digital Vehicular Video System

In Austin, Texas, the police department replaced a nine-year-old VHS tape recording system with a digital video recording system, giving officers total confidence their interactions with the public would be properly recorded. Activated by a door-trigger, the system includes a storage management device that helps the department meet record retention requirements without needing to add storage, an estimated $3 million saving in storage costs.

City of Richmond (VA), Department of Information Technology

Project: Automated Secure Alarm Protocol (ASAP to the PSAP) Project

Emergency call center operators are required to answer 911 calls first, but giving those calls priority can delay hand-offs to responders when a call comes in from an alarm company. Developing a custom data exchange and using message broker technology, the city of Richmond, Va., helped develop the Automated Secure Alarm Protocol, a new alarm interface, to solve this problem. The system has been error-free and cut down on the number of calls between alarm companies and 911 centers.

Defense Manpower Data Center

Project: Self-Service Logon Remote Proofing

The Defense Department created an authentication method to provide access to both Veterans Affairs and Defense Department websites for service members and families unable to use the Common Access Card. DS Logon operates with a single logon credential that is both convenient for users and reduces the costs of duplicate ID processes. With over 2.5 million active credentials, the project produced $15 million in savings has had a growth rate of over 10 percent quarterly.


Project: 2013 International Space Apps Challenge

In an April, NASA staged the largest hack-a-thon in history and the first to focus on the needs of government. The innovation pot-luck drew 9,147 people who tackled 58 application challenges and produced 770 proposals, ranging from designing mini-satellites to data visualizations for the air traffic control system. NASA said a team of only four people envisioned, planned and implemented the project in six months, earning NASA a return on investment of more than $15 million.

National Archives and Records Administration

Project: Cloud-based E-mail

The tradition-bound National Archives and Records Administration responded to a Presidential memo on records management to move to a cloud based email and collaboration system that included mobile device management. Ultimately, the agency gained a state-of-the-art tool-set with full search capabilities and seamless integration with NARA’s authentication system. The solution is 100 percent cloud-based, built on open standards, with 99.9 percent up-time.

Naval Air Systems Command

Project: U.S. Navy 4GLTE Sea Trial

With no commercial cellular networks to link to on the high seas, the Navy tried to create one of its own, setting up a sea trial in which the USS Kearsarge and the USS San Antonio were outfitted with a wireless wide-area network to augment existing satellite communications. The 4G LTE network lets personnel receive real-time video from air nodes mounted on a helicopter, and provides all the advantages of smartphones to address key requirement for search and seizure missions.

NYC Mayor’s Office of Data Analytics

Project: DataBridge and Analytics Warehouse

DataBridge helped the New York City Mayor’s Office spot meaningful patterns across agency datasets and use that information to improve city services and curb expenses. In one case, MODA was able to assemble a data portrait of city buildings at greatest risk of a catastrophe. With it, the city has been able to locate at-risk buildings, speed removal of trees destroyed by Hurricane Sandy and double the hit rate on stores selling bootlegged products.

United States Department of Homeland Security, Operations

Project: Homeland Security Information Network

HSIN was the unclassified information sharing tool of choice for intelligence fusion centers and other high-security projects, including the 2012 Super Bowl and investigation of the Boston Marathon bombing. A platform for trusted sharing of sensitive but unclassified information, HSIN underwent a technology step-up in 2013 that included a common approach to identity management. All in all, the HSIN moved more than 40,000 users to the new system and created over 140 customized communities of interest.

U.S. Army

Project: Distributed Common Ground System – Army (DCGS-A) Standard Cloud

The Distributed Common Ground System - Army Standard Cloud is the first theater-mounted big data cloud instance at DoD, helping the Army extract usable intelligence on the fly. The latest version of DCGS-A Standard Cloud stores and indexes over 75 million intelligence items from more than 400 source feeds. With it, soldiers can detect subtle patterns of behavior that the enemy may not be aware of, enabling soldiers to fight only when they must and to deter hostile activity before it has begun.

U.S. Coast Guard

Project: U.S. Coast Guard TRIDENT Project

When Hurricane Sandy struck in October 2012, the TRIDENT team was able use a MANET, a mobile network of ad hoc devices, to deliver a 20 megabits/sec connection to the damaged Coast Guard command center within five hours. The TRIDENT network carried all Coast Guard network traffic and helped the port open five days earlier than would have otherwise been possible. The Coast Guard is now reassessing how much satellite service versus MANET capability it needs, a reassessment that could lead to over $1 million a year in recurring savings.

U.S. Department of Agriculture Risk Management Agency

Project: Crop Insurance Compliance Data Warehouse

USDA turned to NASA and Tarleton State University to help create a data warehouse containing 250 terabytes of satellite, weather and remotely sensed data to scan agricultural insurance claims for signs of fraud. Using the new big data tools, USDA’s Risk Management Agency estimates it cut insurance fraud by $838 million and has seen a return of more than $23 for every dollar spent on data mining since inception.

U.S. Department of Defense, Expeditionary Business Operations

Project: CENTCOM Contingency Business Tools

In the early days of the Afghan war, a reliance on cash flooded the theater with U.S. currency. In an effort to get currency off the battlefield, the Office of the Deputy Chief Management Officer worked with the Army to develop a set of business intelligence tools to tackle the problem. The Theater Requirements Generation Tool helps create accurate requirements through the use of checklists and drop-down menus. Since October 2012, TRGT has improved visibility of more than 1,900 requirements with a combined value of $6.7 billion, according to the office.

U.S. Department of the Treasury

Project: FinCEN-Bank Secrecy Act IT Modernization Program

The Bank Security Act (BSA) IT systems, which support secure electronic filing over the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), is critical to the nation’s financial security. In the last year, BSA IT modernization established an enterprise system that lets law enforcement agencies search millions of records, flag potential violations and analyze trends in a fraction of the time used to take. FinFinCEN now provides a “one stop shop” for access to data well as improved search and streamlined financial filing.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Project: How’s My Waterway

How’s My Waterway” is a platform-independent mobile website and app that helps users find information on the condition of their local waters using a smart phone, tablet or desktop PC. In less than a year and within a modest budget, a project team worked together to create the program: Now users can rapidly view localized information about waterways by simply entering a ZIP code or place name.

2013 Honorable Mentions

Internal Revenue Service
Project: Enterprise Storage Solution

In 2012, the IRS processed 234 million tax returns and collected revenues of $2.4 trillion, a massive effort supported by a complex storage environment including three enterprise computing centers and five service centers. In reconstituting these systems across a contractor-owned 10 petabyte private cloud – paid for on a usage basis – the tax agency has eliminated the need for investments in additional storage, consolidated its storage provisioning process into a single approach, and created a single view of the storage enterprise with the ability to diagnose and address problems rapidly.

Prince George’s County Government
Project: CountyClick 311

Until Oct., 2012, citizens of Prince Georges County, Md., who wanted to contact one of its government agencies were confronted with over 50 different agency phone numbers. Meanwhile, the county’s 911 call center was being deluged with non-emergency calls. In setting up its Click 311 information and service request portal, the county has eliminated the calling chaos. Through April of this year, the call center has handled almost 90,000 contacts within 45 seconds. The average speed of answer? 10 seconds.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Project: Biometric Matching of a National Security System Using 10-Print Matching

The Department of Homeland Security’s United States Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology (US-VISIT) program is the largest biometric identification system protecting U.S. citizens at the nation’s borders. Today, the program operates at close to 300 ports of entry and is able to process up to 400,000 biometric transactions per day. In Jan., 2013, the program took a significant step-up, enabling 10-Print matching, a more accurate matching capability that delivers an additional 300 critical identifications per day.

U.S. Department of State
Project: Corridor

While the State Department’s Office of e-Diplomacy has developed a significant public social media footprint, diplomats lacked a space for online conversations with others, without outside scrutiny. Corridor, a mixture of features of Facebook and LinkedIn, helps State personnel connect and work together worldwide. Available for all State personnel on the department’s unclassified Intranet, Corridor enables people to publish credentials, find others’ expertise and form groups based on shared interests and perspectives.

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Project: InterAct’s Law Enforcement Data Delivery System

Federal wildlife officers often work alone and without the benefit of another officer on scene to call for backup. Prior to the introduction of ILEDDS, they were required to rely on local, state and county dispatchers to perform checks of individuals and vehicles. ILEDDS is a hosted, cloud-based, mobile data solution powered by the International Justice and Public Safety Network (Nlets) that provides law enforcement personnel secure real-time, wireless access to National Crime Information Center, as well as state DMV and law enforcement databases.

2013 GCN Agency Award Judges

The winning projects were chosen by a group of judges from across the public sector IT community, including:

  • Natalie Givans Senior Vice President
    Booz Allen Hamilton
  • Terry Halvorsen Chief Information Officer
    Department of the Navy
  • Sonny Hashmi Deputy Chief Information Officer and Chief Technology Officer
    General Services Administration
  • Elizabeth A. McGrath Deputy Chief Management Officer
    Department of Defense
  • Sasi Pillay Chief Technology Officer
  • Kshemendra Paul Program Manager
    Information Sharing Environment
  • Simon Szykman Chief Information Officer
    Department of Commerce
  • Tim Young Principal
    Deloitte Consulting

Rising Stars

  • Eric T. Brassil Department of State
  • Kirsten E. Dalboe Department of Homeland Security
  • Grace E. Dalton Department of the Army
  • Carolyn Harvey General Services Administration
  • Dan P. Houston Jr. U.S. Postal Service
  • Hetal Jain Department of Transportation
  • Samantha Kott Kouril General Services Administration
  • Victor T. Lazzaro Department of Health and Human Services
  • Michael G. Meskill Department of Agriculture
  • Michael Metzger Department of Defense
  • Irina Nguyen Department of the Army
  • Paul Reynolds Department of Homeland Security
  • Marlene C. Roush SAIC
  • Rebecca Schwartz Lockheed Martin
  • Michael Shrader Carahsoft Technology Corp.