CIO Council: The next stop is security

As personnel costs rise, agencies will become more dependent on information technology
to do their jobs, said G. Edward DeSeve, the outgoing chairman of the federal Chief
Information Officers Council.


Before a standing-room-only crowd of more than 400 people at a keynote session last
month at the FOSE trade show in Washington, the CIO Council’s executive leadership
painted a picture of the government IT landscape when the year 2000 problem no longer
monopolizes time and resources.


Agencies, admittedly, still have plenty of year 2000 work ahead of them, but the end of
the effort at least is in view, said Kathleen M. Adams, assistant deputy commissioner for
systems at the Social Security Administration and the co-chairwoman of the CIO
Council’s year 2000 committee.


The members of the CIO panel said they believe IT security will be the first big
post-2000 issue. IT security is an issue ideally suited for work by the CIO Council
because it needs to be addressed across government in a systematic and focused way, said
Energy Department CIO John Gilligan, co-chairman of the council’s Security Committee.


Although the year 2000 issue has absorbed resources, IT executives said they have found
some silver linings in the stormy clouds.


The date code problem will let agencies start the new year with a clean slate, having
done an inventory of systems, replaced many older systems, created clear business
continuity and contingency plans, and improved ties with state and local governments,
Adams said.


“The challenge is to keep the house clean,” she said.


Representatives from the council’s committees spoke about each panel’s focus:
year 2000, interoperability, capital planning, education and training, security and
outreach.


The IT Management and Reform Act created agency CIO positions and the CIO Council more
than two years ago in an effort to improve government IT management.


“IT decision-making is improving,” said General Services Administration CIO
Shereen G. Remez, co-chairwoman of the CIO Council’s Capital Planning Committee.


DeSeve, who will leave his post as acting deputy director for management at the Office
of Management and Budget this month, said the market is forcing government to change its
business strategy. Increasing human resources costs could open doors for technology.


But despite a federal budget surplus, there will not be more money for the
government’s administrative functions, DeSeve said. President Clinton has proposed a
4 percent pay hike for federal employees this year, which will cut into funds available
for technology, he said.  


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