Systems work is a risky endeavor, Langston says

Systems work is a risky endeavor, Langston says

By Bill Murray

GCN Staff

For Marvin Langston, working with information technology offers many opportunities but also substantial risk.

'Our next big challenge is to buy into the vulnerabilities that technology represents,'' said Langston, deputy assistant secretary of Defense for command, control, communications and intelligence, as he accepted the Defense Department executive of the year award at last month's GCN Awards Banquet.

The former Navy officer won the award in part because he understands that technology is critical to the military's mission and because he is not afraid to take risks.

'We are literally putting our lives on the line,'' the DOD deputy chief information officer said of the work done by the department's systems employees. 'It's literally a race against young hackers.''

Langston also won the award for helping lead DOD's year 2000 readiness effort, which has made progress in recent months after a slow start. The date code revisions and other systems initiatives undertaken at DOD are more than 'just good enough for the government,'' he said, mocking the oft-repeated one-liner about federal work.

Langston paid tribute to his colleagues in public service and also to the opportunities IT and procurement reform have given him. He called the IT Management Reform Act good legislation that has helped the government 'unleash the potential'' of technology.

'There's no more interesting thing that I can think of than shepherding information technology'' within the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Langston said.

'The future is so bright we've all gotta wear shades,'' he said.

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