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Pulling the Plug

April 1, 2004 Life support for unneeded veterans hospitals costs $1 million a day. Can the VA convince Congress to let some die? eterans hospitals are among the few remaining symbols of what's good about government in communities across America. They're prized employers. They serve honorable clients. They demonstrate the concern and clout...

Give and Take

June 15, 2003 Federal agencies are outsourcing IT work at an ever-increasing rate, but they're adding their own technology jobs at the same time. n 1972, a young Philip J. Kiviat went to work for the Air Force in Washington as a civilian automated data processing specialist. He and his colleagues designed and...

Housing Renovation

August 1, 2002 Mel Martinez and his team are giving the Housing and Urban Development Department a facelift. Whether they are doing enough to provide housing is another question. hen President Bush named Mel Martinez his secretary of Housing and Urban Development, the first question asked in Washington was, "Who's Mel Martinez?" The...

Cleaning Up Your E-Mail

June 1, 2000 letters@govexec.com ederal agencies, like their private-sector counterparts, are monitoring employee use of e-mail. If you doubt it, just ask any of the 500 Navy employees who were disciplined this year for exchanging dirty jokes and other objectionable messages with co-workers. About a year ago, a Naval Supply Systems Command employee...

Changing Channels

May 1, 2000 nferris@govexec.com raditional communications companies, led by AT&T Corp., still supply the federal government with the bulk of the network products and services on which agencies will spend $7.4 billion this year, according to INPUT, a market research firm in Vienna, Va. Increasingly, however, agencies are looking for new ways to...

The Communications Revolution

May 1, 2000 nferris@govexec.com evolution" is not too strong a word for the ferment that's under way in electronic communications. As with most such upheavals, it's difficult to say what the landscape will look like when the smoke clears. But federal managers don't have the luxury of waiting for that to happen. They're...

Advanced Weather System

April 1, 2000 nferris@govexec.com hen severe weather threatened, forecasters in the National Weather Service's Pittsburgh forecasting office used to dart from one computer to another, checking on developments. At a PC in one corner, they'd look at radar. In another corner, they'd see information collected by satellite. Still other computers displayed lightning data,...

Army Flow Model

April 1, 2000 nferris@govexec.com hen he was an artillery officer earlier in his career, Maj. John McKitrick would put in a personnel requisition to replace a departing member of his unit. Then he'd wait. Sometimes the soldier he requested would report for duty; sometimes the slot would go unfilled. McKitrick often wondered why...

The Technology Beast

April 1, 2000 nferris@govexec.com y now, it's a truism that a big information technology project has less than a 50-50 chance of achieving its goals-whether in the private sector or in government. In fact, when the Health Care Financing Administration pulled the plug on its Medicare Transaction System development project in 1997, it...

Senator: No laws can fix careless computer security

March 3, 2000 nferris@govexec.com As members of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee heard testimony about the government's vulnerability to cyberterrorists, hackers and information thieves Thursday, they wondered out loud whether anyone can do much to protect federal computer systems. "You've [already] got a dozen pieces of legislation that in some ways deal with...