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Bob Brewin

Editor at Large Bob Brewin joined Government Executive in April 2007, bringing with him more than 20 years of experience as a journalist focusing on defense issues and technology. Bob covers the world of defense and information technology for Nextgov, and is the author of the “What’s Brewin” blog.
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The Risk of Using Biometrics: People Get Fat

June 6, 2007 FROM NEXTGOV arrow DISA has develop a new guide detailing how individuals gain access to Defense Department computers and networks, which contains pages of cautionary warnings about the use of biometric identifiers. Much of the guide covers today’s current system, using digital identifiers on the Common Access Card backed up by passwords. But...

Army medical units in Iraq struggle with information systems

June 6, 2007 Army combat medical units in Iraq use electronic health record systems based on an outdated Microsoft operating system, limiting their use on battlefield networks, according to internal Army briefings obtained by Government Executive. At the same time, medical maintenance and equipment technicians struggle with dysfunctional computer systems used to track...

This Time, Defense Asks Soldiers to Speak

June 5, 2007 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The problem with most high-level military conferences held to discuss delivering services to soldiers is that the soldiers are absent from the discussion. They’re off fighting wars. What you end up with is a bunch of generals and SESers talking milestones and processes that move at a glacial pace, which...

Computing a Cure

June 1, 2007 On the hot seat over soldiers' medical care, the Army and Veterans Affairs find answers in their own backyard. Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the Veterans Affairs Department found that coincidence can be the mother of invention as they scrambled earlier this year to streamline clinical care and benefits...

China Poses Threat to GPS, Backup System at the Ready

May 31, 2007 FROM NEXTGOV arrow China now has the capability to jam the Global Positioning System, widely used by both the military to, say, guide precision weapons and by civilians to, for example, provide timing for telecom networks, according to the annual Defense Department report on “Military Power of the People’s Republic of China” submitted...

Army report backs upgrades in combat medical units

May 31, 2007 Army combat medical units operating in Iraq do not have the proper emergency transport equipment, are lacking in training and have a shortage of critical personnel, including lab technicians who must send medical tests to Germany, according to internal Army briefings obtained by Government Executive. A shortage of lab and...

Defense plans to be big user of GSA’s Networx contract

May 30, 2007 Top officials at the Defense Information Systems Agency have good news for the General Services Administration: The Defense Department will end up as the largest federal customer under the new Networx telecommunications contract that GSA manages. Air Force Lt. Gen. Charles Croom, DISA's director, told Government Executive that his agency...

Army stockpiles, destroys WMD antidotes in Iraq

May 24, 2007 Despite not finding weapons of mass destruction in Iraq for the past four years, the Army still sends to the war zone -- and later destroys -- millions of dollars worth of antidotes that soldiers would take in case they are attacked by nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, according to...

HHS Wants Patient Safety Database

May 23, 2007 FROM NEXTGOV arrow Here's more news on health networks. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, another arm of the Department of Health and Human Services, issued May 21 a request for proposals for a Network of Patient Safety Databases, which will house information on aggregated patient safety information. The data will not...

HHS Preps Test of E-Health Records System

May 22, 2007 FROM NEXTGOV arrow The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information plans to field its first trials of a computer network that will test how Americans’ electronic health records could be shared nationwide. The office plans to award up to 10 one-year contracts to tie together state and regional health care groups...