Fedwire Briefs

WASHINGTON (04/03/2000) - Alan Balutis, deputy chief information officer at the U.S. Department of Commerce, is leaving his position to become director of the Advanced Technology Program at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Balutis will oversee the $200 million ATP program, which funds pre-competitive emerging technology. Balutis takes up his new post April 10.

Balutis replaces Lura Powell, who retired from the federal government Sept. 30, 1999. According to sources, Jeff Neal, deputy director of Commerce's Office of Human Resources Management, will replace Balutis as deputy CIO.

Farmers would be able to file federal paperwork electronically under legislation approved last week by the House Agriculture Committee.

The bill (H.R. 852) would require the Agriculture Department to establish a system to let farmers use the Internet to request federal subsidies. The legislation now goes to the Senate for action.

With help from the Advanced Research Projects Agency and the San Diego Supercomputer Center, the National Archives and Records Administration has shown it is possible to overcome the biggest problem with archiving electronic records -- which is that computer hardware and software become obsolete, leaving records unreadable.

It will cost up to $130 million and take about five years to build, but a national electronic records archive is technically feasible, U.S. Archivist John Carlin told Congress last week. A records storage system developed by the supercomputer center "encases" electronic records in a digital wrapper that permits the system to "unwrap it and present it in a readable format," Carlin told a House appropriations subcommittee.

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