Federal job forms don't cut it

In the column 'Federal job seekers often get a bad impression' [GCN, July 16, Page 32], Walt Houser hit the nail right on the head. As a retiring member of the military soon to enter the civilian job market, I have dealt with both private-sector and government employment procedures, and the contrast is striking.

Government employment applications are, to say the least, daunting. To say the most, they can be downright frightening. The amount of documentation required up-front, such as college transcripts and training diplomas, is staggering, not to mention the infamous knowledge, skills and abilities statement. It seems to represent tremendous overkill.

Private-sector employment practices are almost benign by comparison.

With government agencies clamoring for information technology professionals, one would think that some way could be found to cut through the bureaucracy and streamline the hiring process. A shift to a resume-based process would allow employers to require further information only from a select few, qualified applicants. Surely this would cut down on a great deal of costly paperwork.

Tech. SGT. Larry L. Weathers Jr.

LAN administrator

Altus Air Force Base, Okla.

NARA offers PKI guidance

To follow up on the article 'Agencies leery of PKI storage without guidance' [GCN, July 30, Page 12], I wanted to let your readers know that the National Archives and Records Administration does have guidance on electronic signatures.

In October, NARA issued Records Management Guidance for Agencies Implementing Electronic Signature Technologies. You can find it on the NARA Web site at www.nara.gov/records/policy/gpea.html.

NARA is currently working on detailed electronic records management guidance within the framework of the Federal PKI SC Legal/Policy Working Group, which is arranging for contractor support. The target date for completion is October 2002.

Lori Lisowski

Director, Policy and Communications Staff


College Park, Md.

One RAD tool too few

I want to comment on the Buyers Guide, 'RAD tools extend their reach' [GCN, July 30, Page 34].

Mainly, I believe the article is very misleading and totally ignored a very powerful rapid application development tool, Microsoft Visual FoxPro 6.0.

The most misleading statement is that Microsoft Visual Studio.Net is a RAD tool when in truth .Net is going to be a precursor to a method of selling applications over the Internet, similar to the way people rent videos from Blockbuster.

Data modeling and building reusable frameworks are important in good object-oriented analysis and design, and they are in use in the government today. Notably, many of the Military Health System's applications have been products of data modeling and OOAD.

Stephen S. Wolfe

Data services manager, Medical Information Services

6th Medical Group

MacDill Air Force Base, Fla.

Editor's note: Microsoft describes Visual Basic 6.0, which we included, as a RAD tool, and it is arguably more comprehensive than Visual FoxPro 6.0. Microsoft does not describe FoxPro as a RAD tool although, as you note, it has the attributes of one. Yes, Visual Studio.Net will not be a RAD tool. Our story said that it would contain elements important to a RAD effort, such as modeling.


In the last issue, a consultant suggested that the government continues to stifle innovation by using overly tight specifications for systems buys [GCN, Aug. 20, Page 22].

Most systems chiefs and contracting officers contend that they write functional specs, not requirements that demand a specific system or end result.

What's the take at your agency?

To share your thoughts and read those of your colleagues, go to www.gcn.com and click on the Readers Speak button at the top, right side of the home page.

We'll also print the most intriguing responses in the next issue of GCN in the Logging Off section.

Readers whose comments appear in the publication will receive a GCN commuter mug and a coffee gift certificate.

So come on, tell us what you think.

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