Presidential advisory panel calls for governmentwide CIO

Presidential advisory panel calls for governmentwide CIO

MAY 19'A draft report from the Presidential Information Technology Advisory Committee calls for the appointment of a governmentwide chief information officer and says an IT czar would help promote cross-agency projects.

During a meeting yesterday, the panel discussed the draft report, and its authors said they felt it was important for the government to have a central IT leader who had the oversight and fiscal authority to move projects forward.

The draft recommended that the governmentwide CIO control a $100 million investment fund that could be used to pay for interagency projects. It also said the administration should mandate the CIO to "use IT and the Internet to rapidly improve the government's business operations, citizens' access to government data and their interactions with the government."

A governmentwide CIO could support projects such as WebGov, a government portal initiative currently being developed by the General Services Administration, said Robert H. Ewald, president and chief executive officer of E-Stamp Corp. of Redwood City, Calif. [see story at]. Ewald is a member of the committee and one of the authors of the report.

Control of the investment fund is critically important, said Vinton Cerf, senior vice president for IP architecture and technology for MCI WorldCom Inc. and a member of the committee.

Although the committee endorses the concept of a governmentwide CIO, the administration so far has been opposed to creating such a post. Office of Management and Budget officials have said the post would add another layer of bureaucracy, because OMB already is responsible for overseeing federal IT projects.

A committee team this month will finish the report; the full committee early next month will vote on the recommendations and then release a final version.

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