Bush takes early bead on major DOD app

Bush takes early bead on major DOD app<@VM>Ex-FSS chief offers transition tips


President-elect George W. Bush has at least one major systems project front and center on his agenda: the National Missile Defense System.

'To defend our forces and allies in our own country from the threat of missile attack or accidental launch, we must develop a missile defense system,' Bush said.

Underpinning the weapons system is an intensive data-gathering and processing subsystem, for which the Clinton administration recently approved a major contract extension.

The president-elect's Cabinet nominations appear to create a safety net for the program. Donald H. Rumsfeld, whom Bush has nominated to become Defense secretary, has voiced his support for the system, as have other administration nominees.

Rumsfeld, who was Defense Department chief during the Ford administration, was chairman of a commission that in 1998 declared that rogue nations could threaten the country with ballistic missiles topped with weapons of mass destruction.
It was the U.S. Ballistic Missile Threat Commission's conclusions that breathed life into the missile defense program.

Meanwhile, Bush also faces the need to protect the nation's critical systems infrastructures and reports suggest he is considering creating a post to oversee systems security.

During his campaign, Bush also said he supported the creation of a governmentwide chief information officer [GCN, June 19, 2000, Page 6]. In his platform, Bush said he would issue an executive order designating the deputy director for management of the Office of Management and Budget to oversee governmentwide technology issues.

The IT chieftain would control a $100 million budget Bush said he plans to create to support interagency electronic-government initiatives.

In announcing Rumsfeld's nomination, Bush lauded the former fed's expertise on the missile defense system.

'I was most impressed by the chairman of the national commission of ballistic missile threats' work,' Bush said.

Vice president-elect Dick Cheney, a former secretary of Defense, and State Department nominee Colin L. Powell, who previously headed the Joint Chiefs of Staff, also have publicly supported the missile defense program. Both men served in the administration of Bush's father.

DOD last month extended an existing contract for developing the National Missile Defense program, following a September announcement from President Clinton that he would continue to fund the study and testing of the system. Clinton said he would leave decisions about the future of the system to the next administration.

Bush said he is most impressed by the work Donald Rumsfeld, his choice to be Defense secretary, has done already on the missile defense system initiative.

The Boeing Co.'s space and communications group in Anaheim, Calif., will continue working on the program under a $6 billion, six-year contract. The contract has a potential value of $13 billion.

Can it cope?

Critics say the program is risky. In September, Lisbeth Gronlund of the Union of Concerned Scientists told the House Government Reform Subcommittee on National Security, Veterans Affairs and International Relations that the system cannot cope with measures designed to circumvent it.

But Air Force Lt. Gen. Ronald T. Kadish, director of the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization, said at the same hearing that more testing, including the use of realistic decoys, would be finished by 2004 and would solve that problem. The tests also would prove the system's viability, he said.

Besides Rumsfeld, Bush has leaned toward experienced candidates in his other Cabinet nominations. Former Colorado Attorney General Gale Norton, whom the president-elect tapped as Interior secretary, previously served in that department, and Anthony J. Principi, Bush's choice to head the Veterans Affairs Department, was formerly a VA deputy director.

The former Texas governor nominated two leaders of state governments to be in his administration.
Wisconsin Gov. Tommy G. Thompson would become the Health and Human Services secretary, and New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman would be the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Former Sen. Spencer Abraham (R.-Mich.), who narrowly lost his re-election bid in November, would take over the Energy Department. The past year has seen Energy officials continually on the defensive; the agency has been riddled with computer security woes since its inception [GCN, Feb. 21, 2000 Page 1].

Abraham has been on the record in his support of e-government efforts. He supported the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act, which became law last year.

'This legislation will eliminate the single most significant vulnerability of electronic commerce, which is the fear that everything it revolves around ... could be rendered invalid solely by virtue of their being in electronic form,' he said when the Senate passed the measure in June.

Norman Y. Mineta, who took over the Commerce Department in July after William Daley left to manage Vice President Gore's campaign, would move to the Transportation Department under the Bush Cabinet plan. For the past six months, Mineta has directed Commerce's $1.5 billion Digital Department project to move all operations to an electronic environment and most communications to the Web.

Mineta, a Democrat, from 1974 to 1995 represented California's 15th district in the House. That district includes Silicon Valley and its high-tech companies.

Frank J. Pugliese Jr.

Frank J. Pugliese Jr. until last year had spent nearly three decades at the General Services Administration. In August, he left his post as commissioner of GSA's Federal Supply Service to become president of Star Mountain Inc. of Alexandria, Va. Pugliese offered 10 things that longtime government officials should keep in mind when dealing with the incoming Bush administration:

' Timing: This really deals with understanding and relating to the fact that the new appointees have a compressed time frame to accomplish administration objectives. So your sense of timing and your sensitivity to how quickly the new folks would like to react are critical to a successful transition and your agency achieving its goals.

' First impressions: You only get one opportunity to make a good first impression and, if not done correctly, this could take much more time to turn around. Appointees, especially those that are new to government, can use the benefit of your counsel for very mundane things, such as hiring, firing, retention, recruitment and labor relations. Much of the way this is done in the government will be foreign to them.

' Data vs. information: There is certainly a lot to be said for executives who can cut to the bottom line and present useful data rather than huge amounts of information. Voluminous information could be viewed as merely a way of stonewalling or avoiding real issues.

' Plain talk: There is nothing more frustrating to someone new to the government than being subjected to endless acronyms, abbreviations and government-specific language that confounds the average person. Simple, concise explanations are always appreciated over wordy documents. The real art is to make complex subjects easy to grasp.

' Implementation: The primary focus should be to help implement the agenda of the new administration.

' Acclimation to your new boss: You need to help your new boss understand and work within the system and make sure he or she is aware of the government environment or legal restrictions that are a normal part of the system. Present options, not just reasons why something can't be done.

' Outsourcing education: You also should help your new boss understand the process of outsourcing and the value that can be gained from working with companies to make maximum use of the agency's budget.

' Value-added advice: Your new boss needs to see some value-added services in your organization and continually build on the foundation created by the civil servants that he or she now leads.

' Positive thinking: The decision's been made. Do not waste valuable time and energy being critical of either the new team or the previous administration.

' Golden rules: Be positive. Be flexible. Learn how to listen.

Nominees offer diversity, experience, conservatism, capitalism
Agriculture secretary Ann M. Veneman, former California agriculture director

Attorney general John Ashcroft, former Missouri senator

Commerce secretary Donald L. Evans, Bush campaign chairman

Defense secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, Ford administration DOD secretary

Education secretary Roderick R. Paige, Houston school superintendent

Energy secretary Spencer Abraham, former Michigan senator

Environmental Protection Agency administrator Christine Todd Whitman, New Jersey governor

Health and Human Services secretary Tommy G. Thompson, Wisconsin governor

Housing and Urban Development secretary Melquiades R. Martinez, Orange County, Fla., official

Interior secretary Gale Norton, former Colorado attorney general

Labor secretary Linda Chavez, commentator, former Senate candidate in Maryland

Office of Management and Budget director Mitchell E. Daniels Jr., Eli Lilly and Co. executive

State secretary Colin L. Powell, Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman under former President Bush

Transportation secretary Norman Y. Mineta, now Commerce secretary, former congressman

Treasury secretary Paul H. O'Neill, chairman, Alcoa Inc.

Veterans Affairs secretary Anthony J. Principi, VA's deputy chief, acting secretary under former President Bush


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