Awards mark changing priorities

Since the program's inception, the Office of Management and Budget has supported the Federal 100 awards' recognition of key individuals and outstanding work. During their 15-year history, the awards have reflected the changing priorities of government information technology.

When the first Federal 100 judges came together, Federal Computer Week chose OMB to lead the panel because of its broad, agencywide perspective on who was making a difference in government computing. Franklin Reeder, chief of OMB's information policy branch, stepped into the role with aplomb. His combination of relaxed good humor and insistence on sound process connected well with the vision of FCW leaders Edith Holmes and Anne Armstrong.

Under this leadership, the judges established standards that helped make the Federal 100 the premier individual awards in the government IT community.

Following in Reeder's footsteps, we each participated in an ever-expanding domain reflected in the winners' accomplishments. For example, McConnell's tour coincided with an increase in the visibility of IT to the operation of government and OMB's greater role in federal IT oversight.

Two contributing factors were former Vice President Al Gore's focus on IT and the 1994 departure of Rep. Jack Brooks (D-Texas), who had long ruled IT procurement with an iron hand.

The Internet and the Clinger-Cohen Act of 1996 defined a new environment for agency chief information officers and their management of IT investments. The act also facilitated OMB's current oversight role.

Winners of Federal 100 awards increasingly reflected the new era, contributing to the government's early Web presence. They also pioneered the tenets of Clinger-Cohen, principles that are now second nature to the community — including the CIO's major role, capital planning and investment control, and the use of architecture to deliver results.

When McConnell left to lead the international Year 2000 effort, OMB's Jasmeet Seehra led OMB's efforts with distinction as a Federal 100 judge until Chenok arrived. Many of the winners during this time were individuals whose tireless devotion was a critical element in the successful Year 2000 rollover.

Chenok's participation in the awards selection process came as the IT community was breaking through as a major contributor to presidential priorities. From the foundation created by President Clinton with the FirstGov Web portal, President Bush made the expanding e-government initiatives a key component of the influential President's Management Agenda.

Bush appointees ensured the passage of the E-Government Act of 2002. In this era, the Federal 100 winners have often been those most visible in these high-level administration initiatives, including Mark Forman and Karen Evans.

We are confident that the Federal 100 awards will continue to thrive and reflect the dynamic and important contributions of leaders from all parts of the government IT community.

Chenok and McConnell are former chiefs of the Office of Management and Budget's information policy and technology branch. Chenok is now vice president for policy and management strategies with SRA International Inc., and McConnell is president of McConnell International LLC.

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