Federal stars shine at the 11th annual GCN banquet

Bedecked in black ties and flowing gowns, more than 1,000 federal information
technology executives and vendors toasted one another at GCN’s 11th annual Awards
Banquet late last month.


The event started with a meet-and-greet reception. Between dinner and the infamous
dessert bar, though, the main event took place—recognition of excellence in the
deployment of government IT.


Agriculture Department chief information officer Anne Thomson Reed and Vice Adm. Arthur
K. Cebrowski, president of the Naval War College and former director of space, information
warfare, command and control, were recognized as GCN’s government executives of the
year.


In addition, GCN publisher Frank Quigley inducted three people into the GCN Information
Resources Management Hall of Fame: Anthony M. Valletta, former deputy assistant secretary
of Defense and now a vice president with SRA International of Fairfax, Va.; Robert J.
Woods, former commissioner of the General Services Administration’s Federal
Technology Service and now president of Federal Sources Inc. of McLean, Va.; and the late
James H. Burrows, former director of the Computer Systems Laboratory at the National
Institute of Standards and Technology, who died in September.


As is the custom at the GCN annual awards banquet, 10 agency IT programs were
recognized for excellence.


GCN also recognized Arthur E. Johnson, president and chief operating officer of
Lockheed Martin’s information and services sector, as industry executive of the year.


Although there were wide-ranging and optimistic views about the future of government
IT, the year 2000 problem preoccupied attendees buttonholed during the evening.


“Nobody can say anything before the year 2000 issue” is addressed, said James
Flyzik, Treasury Department CIO and co-chairman of the CIO Council.


“This time next year, agencies will still be dealing with year 2000 issues,”
said Bruce McConnell, the Office of Management and Budget’s Information Policy and
Technical Bureau Chief and a banquet regular.


Environmental Protection Agency CIO Alvin Pesachowitz said he sees security becoming a
big issue, especially as it relates to electronic commerce. He predicted that such
security technologies as digital signatures will help spur the inevitable growth of EC in
government.


Another big topic for the future will be the maturing of the IT management reforms
instituted under the IT Management Reform Act, said Jerry Slaymaker, EPA’s senior
adviser to the CIO. “I think the big issue will be how agencies deal with
[ITMRA]” he said. Agencies are going to have to make IT decisions based on business
criteria, he said.


In her award acceptance remarks, Reed said she believes the need for data privacy and
protection is becoming acute.


“There are some very serious ethical issues that we need to acknowledge and we
need to address head on,” she said.  

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