Still counting

Thomas R. Temin

With this editorial, I mark 10 years as editor of Government Computer News, about half of the paper's existence. I hope to stick with it a while longer.

An editor has dual responsibilities'first to his readers but also to the publication's management and stockholders. GCN's owners and management have high standards for both the financials of the properties they operate as well as for the quality and integrity of those properties. Our company philosophy is that healthy financial returns are the result of doing things right for one's readers.

Covering IT and its application to government continues to be fascinating and challenging for me and for GCN's fine editorial staff. The past 10 years have been ones of constant change. Neither the technology nor the means of managing it'procurement, budgeting, operations'remotely resemble those of a decade ago. When I started here, the Brooks Act and delegations of procurement authority dominated the scene. Some 40 percent of government computers weren't networked.

Ten years ago, the country had just concluded the Gulf War. The military spent the subsequent decade trying to distill its lessons of interoperability and information-based warfare. Much secrecy surrounds the current war effort, but there is evidence that the armed services have at least partially fulfilled their goals of greater joint interoperability and better, electronically enhanced views of the battlespace.

Other efforts are yet to be realized. The earlier Bush administration adopted the term 'service to the citizen' as its goal for government systems. Today we have 'citizen-centric government,' yet the agencies are probably 25 percent of the way there.

In many ways, the new millennium really started on Sept. 11. The attacks hold more profound meaning for America and its government than other disasters, even Oklahoma City.

The war on terrorism at some level involves every agency and its IT systems. That means every GCN reader with systems or oversight responsibility has a role. I aim for GCN to keep helping you fulfill your mission. Please keep letting me know how we're doing.

Thomas R. Temin

Editorial director

E-mail: [email protected]


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