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item in the Legislative Branch appropriations. Rather, a new account for visitor center revenues and expenses is to be established, separate from the existing House, Senate, and joint item accounts. The visitor center will produce substantial revenue from retail operations serving the public, specifically restaurants and a sales shop, and a preliminary assessment by the Architect of the Capitol indicates that those revenues, estimated conservatively, will more than offset operating expenses. Moreover, the visitor center is a vital part of the Capitol Police Board's long-term plans for the security of the Capitol Building and Grounds. If it is not constructed, post2000 expenditures for security, which must be funded from Legislative Branch appropriations, will be significantly higher than amounts reflected in the fiscal year 1999 appropriations bills.
To resolve these questions, last October, Chairman Walsh of the Legislative Branch subcommittee of the House Committee on Appropriations, recommended the hiring of an independent consultant to prepare a detailed evaluation of the full costs of the Capitol Visitor Center project, considering all relevant matters including the costs of operating the center as intended, the projected revenues from retail oper, ations, and the costs and benefits of integrating the security plans. I am advised that the Senate Rules Committee, concurring with Chairman Walsh and in order to expedite the overall project, intends to contract for the study from the Senate contingent fund,
possibly before the end of March 1998. Question. Congratulations on your progress with LIS. It is a system which will be very useful for the Senate far into the future. Given that it is relatively new and you are continually making significant improvements, what efforts are being taken to keep staff informed about developments with this new resource?
Answer. Thank you for your complimentary remarks. LIS is one the very most important technological innovations in the history of the Senate. When the system is fully implemented and its capabilities are fully known on the part of Senate staff, LIS will be an extremely valuable tool to virtually every individual staff member who has legislative responsibilities. The Office of the Secretary is, therefore, building upon and expanding its efforts to fully inform the entire Senate community of the LIS features and capabilities. We are also making special efforts to publicize new developments in the system.
One such effort is to conduct surveys, which serve the dual purposes of informing Senate staff of available features and assessing user needs. About half of all Senate offices participated in the most recent survey, with detailed responses coming from legislative directors, legislative assistants, legislative correspondents, research assistants, and others. The responses clearly confirm that the ability to retrieve information on-line is a significant requirement for Senate staff to carry out their duties, as two-thirds of respondents use the existing services multiple times each day and virtually all do so at least several times a week. The survey asked detailed questions about the types of legislative information that offices need on-line. Nearly all respondents say that they “always need” or “often need” summaries and analyses of legislation, votes taken, and legislative status and calendar information. Most indicate that they always” or “often” need full texts of legislation, full texts of reports, full texts of the Record, member statements in the Record, and news articles.
The survey further found that the existing LIS, even with its limited capabilities at this stage of development, is used by 87 percent of respondents—a far higher usage rate than for any commercial source. Asked for one preferred source of online legislative information, more respondents indicated LIS than the combined responses favoring the three commercial sources in use in the Senate (Lexis-Nexis, CQ/Westlaw, Legi-Slate). The reasons given for preferring LIS included "easy use, "quick response time," "has the information I require," and "the search system does what I need."
In another effort to promote LIS, the Project Office has prepared an LIS brochure, describing the system services that are currently available. The brochures have been distributed to all Senator and Committee offices, the cloakrooms, and the Democratic and Republican Policy Committees, and are also available at convenient sites such as the Copy Center. The Project Office has also circulated "Quick Cards” that briefly and conveniently instruct how to access the Amendment Tracking System, Committee Scheduling Information, and Vote Information. An innovation still in progress is an electronic mailing list, to be used to inform staff of new developments and upgrades to LIS, and also inform staff of scheduled training classes.
Training classes, a function of the Project Office and the Senate Computer Center, provide instruction geared to Senate staff at all levels. Attendees receive LIS training materials and reference manuals that they may retain as information sources for use by the entire staff in their offices.
Because of the critical importance of LIS, the Office of the Secretary is adding two staff positions to focus on LIS communications, education and training.
Finally, and in addition to all of the organized efforts, I will continue to brief Senators personally concerning the progress of LIS, and will be pleased to arrange LIS demonstrations for Senators.
Question. $5 million of fiscal year 1997 funds were provided for LIS to remain available until September 30, 2000. How much of those funds have been obligated to date?
Answer. $3,051,903. The total obligations for LIS to date are $4,104,000. In fiscal year 1997, however, $1,052,917 was obligated and expended for LIS from other appropriations to the Office of the Secretary, with the Committee's approval. The use of other available funds in fiscal year 1997 reflected an effort to minimize any possibility that we may have to request additional appropriations earmarked for LIS before the system is implemented.
Question. $7 million of fiscal year 1992 funds were provided for FMIS to remain available until September 30, 2000. How much of those funds have been obligated to date?
Answer. $204,574; however, new contract terms awaiting finalization will immediately obligate an additional $536,000.
Question. Last year this Committee questioned whether the Office of Reporters of Debate and Captioning Services would be consolidated. Have you taken any action in that regard?
Answer. Consolidation of the Official Reporters and the Captioners was considered by my predecessor, but no action was taken. It is my feeling that any possible consolidation of these two departments should be considered in conjunction with the new technologies that are appearing on the fairly short-term horizon. Technological change that allows for continuous speech recognition holds out the prospect of revolutionizing the way in which the Record is produced. For the present, it seems that the most appropriate course is to defer any permanent restructuring of the reporting function while we monitor progress in the technologies.
Question. Has the SAA completed an inventory of all information systems supporting the Senate, including the 161 Senate offices?
Answer. Yes, the SAA has a completed inventory of all information systems supporting the Senate. Attachment I contains the overall inventory as requested by GAO during their audit.
Question. Does the Office have a documented project plan for year 2000 compliance? If not, when will it be completed? If so, does this plan include schedules for renovating, validating, and implementing each mission critical system, including mainframe applications?
Answer. Yes, the SAA has a documented project plan for year 2000 compliance. We are providing a copy of it to the General Accounting Office and will submit it to the Committee. The plan does include schedules for renovating, validating, and implementing each mission critical system, including mainframe applications. As specified below, some areas of the plan are more detailed than others.
Utilizing the GAO five-phase approach, the Senate's status on each of those phases is listed below. Awareness
This phase began in August, 1996, when the initial Year 2000 compliance project was initiated. Letters were sent to each Senate office informing them of the Year 2000 project and requesting information on any non-standard products that might be in use in their office. Letters were sent to departmental directors requesting that each establish a Year 2000 program.
Since that time, a new user outreach program has been initiated with the Customer Relations Department. This program will include monthly columns in The Inkwell, a briefing of key Senate user groups such as the Senate Systems Administrators Association, periodic updates to the user community, a Y2K page on the SAA's Intranet site, Webster, and more. This program will be ongoing throughout the Y2K project. Assessment
Preliminary and follow-up inventories of PC hardware and mainframe applications have been conducted. Risk assessments are now an ongoing function at the individual project level to ensure that contingency plans are developed and implemented if needed. The project office continues to update all inventories to reflect current status.
The Senate's strategy is to replace the major or core business systems that reside on the mainframe. To this end, the Senate has established two major development projects–LIS and FMIS and is creating two additional, non-mission critical projects—HRIS and MIS. In addition, we have begun the upgrade of the Senate payroll system to a Year 2000 compliant version.
As the Senate has standardized on Compaq equipment, the majority of our desktop and LAN-based systems are Year 2000-ready and can be made fully compliant by applying a simple software upgrade currently available free-of-charge from Compaq. We currently have 1,480 pieces of fully compliant hardware in the Senate and that number increases daily. Based on our current rate of installation, all OA equipment should be fully compliant by August 1999.
Our contract with Mitretek Systems, to conduct an independent assessment of our inventories and Y2K strategies, will be expanded in scope to include assistance with development of Y2K testing and validation methodologies as well as compliancy definitions and a more formal framework in which to work. While they are still in a fact-finding mode, Mitretek has completed a preliminary assessment and we anticipate a final report on their findings and recommendations in April. Renovation
In preparation for supporting Year 2000 compliant applications, we are upgrading our mainframe. The installation of mainframe components for the new OS/390 year 2000 compliant upgrade to the operating system was completed in November, 1997. Customization and integration testing of system components are currently ongoing. A fully operational system will be available by the original March deadline.
Our core business systems applications (LIS and FMIS) are already undergoing renovation by doing a full-scale replacement of these mainframe legacy systems. The development phase of these replacement programs should be shortened by our use of Cots, or commercial off the shelf, software products. In addition to these major system replacements, our current payroll system is also undergoing renovation solely to make it Year 2000 compliant. The scheduled completion date is the fall of 1999. Validation
The Senate has not reached this stage for any of its core business software applications. However, the need for confirming test and validation plans is clear and will be addressed shortly under the auspices of the Year 2000 program. With regard to the OA equipment portion of Y2K compliancy, our Technical Review personnel have begun a project to validate and test the efficacy of the Compag-provided BIOS upgrades which are necessary to make some of our older Compaq hardware compliant. Implementation
Implementation plans are currently the responsibility of each application project. Guidelines for acceptance testing, data conversion and exchange issues, and contingency planning will be provided to project managers and system users by the Y2K project office.
Question. The budget states that the Operations Division will increase its staff by 3, primarily for year 2000 compliance. Please explain what functions those staff will perform.
Answer. The additional staff will support the Y2K project and the establishment of an information security (INFOSEC) initiative. The staff will consist of a director and professional staff. They will be responsible for implementing the information security plan recommended by a specialist from the National Security Agency. They will provide turn-key solutions, technical and policy advice to Senate offices.
Question. Last year the Sergeant at Arms indicated that he would look into eliminating areas of overlapping management between his office, the Secretary of the Senate, and the Architect of the Capitol. What has come of that inquiry?
Answer. The Sergeant at Arms remains committed to the efficient delivery of services to the Senate community. As the Committee correctly suggests, redundant and overlapping responsibilities lead to poor service and unnecessary costs to the taxpayer. -Internally, the Sergeant at Arm's has completed a reorganization and is in the
process of reengineering its operations. We have already identified and eliminated numerous redundancies between the various Sergeant at Arms departments. This includes the consolidation of technical, administrative and customer support units which have led to reduced costs, increased productivity and higher quality of service. - The Sergeant at Arms has also been an active participant in the Rules and Administration Committee's effort to “strategically align" the services and operations of the Senate's support offices. This has included a review of functional responsibilities of the Sergeant at Arms and the Secretary of the Senate.
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Por your information, we have incaded the data is a the Senate Handtunk:
TITLE 2–THE CONGRESS CHAPTER 4_OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEN OF SENATS AND HOUSE OF
REPRESENTATIVES $64. Disposal of used or surplus furniture and equipment
Effective October 1, 1981, the Sergeant at Arms and Deerseeper of the Senate is #utherived to dispose of used or surplus furniture and equipment by trade-in or by #ale directly or through the General Services Administration Receipts from the sale of euch furniture and equipment shall be deposited in the United States Treasury fur tradit to the appropriation for "Miscellaneous Items under the heading "Continmul Exprenner of the Senate”. (Oct. 1, 1981, Pub. L. 97–51, $ 118, 95 Stat. 964.) Yuration Please provide a copy of the charts used at the hearing. Anwar l'he information follows: