Editor's Desk | Smart use of new tools

Thomas R. Temin

The Huffington Post it ain't. So if you're looking for a titillating, gossipy blog, you won't see it from Dale Meyerrose, CIO of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

But the fact that you will find a blog at all, much less a multithreaded discussion open to the public, is remarkable, coming as it does from that most secretive and insular domain. As GCN's Wilson P. Dizard III reported [June 26, Page 7], Meyerrose is seeking input on streamlining the systems certification and accreditation process. The discussions will end July 9.

Meyerrose's own posts wouldn't exactly burn down Blogspot. There's not a lot of soul there. (Although, knowing the sort of inquisitive mind Meyerrose has, I would bet he's searched the computer security blogs at Blogspot.com.) On the other hand, the discussion threads at www.dni.gov/canda/
forums offer some real debate and haggling, if you are into discussions that contain statements such as this:

'Cross domain solutions (CDSs) warrant in-depth lab-based testing. But, it would be nice to get away from requiring multiple lab-based tests (CT&E, ITA, NIAP), and to not redo lab-based tests during on-site testing of the CDS in its environment (ST&E, Beta II).'

That might look dry to outsiders. But to domain insiders, that statement reflects an important C&A issue'how cumbersome and slow it is.

My point is that it's great to see a government agency use communications techniques appropriate to the community it is trying to serve. Not enough of that goes on.

Karen Evans, administrator for IT and e-government at the Office of Management and Budget, likes to point to MySpace.com as the medium appealing to future users of government services. If you are a person under, say, 25, the gestalt of MySpace fits into your life like oxygen. If you are over 50, you'll find MySpace somewhat ridiculous. But an estimated 40 million people have accounts there. (Just type 'myspace phenomenon' into Google to get an idea.)

Government agencies serious about interaction with an external community must use the tools with which the constituents have affinity. Too few actually do.

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