Déjà vu all over again
When we created the first issue of Federal Computer Week in 1987, we worked on articles by passing files back and forth on floppy disks. Today, the technology has changed so dramatically that the early days seem like something out of “The Flintstones.”
But some things haven’t changed. As we went through 25 years of issues, we realized that although the concerns have morphed a bit, the government is still struggling to address the challenges we highlighted in our first issues: security, budgets, acquisition/procurement rules, ethics, the role of contractors, and how to attract and keep talented employees.
For instance, various attempts to grade how agencies were doing with their security efforts led to some interesting hearings on Capitol Hill but didn’t change much about how such efforts were funded and implemented. For years, every time we asked agency executives what their biggest concern was, they said security, but when we asked about spending priorities, security came in third or fourth. Only in the past few years has that ranking changed as cyberattacks have grown more sophisticated.
We find similar recurring patterns with ethics regulations, which are designed to protect the procurement process but often succeed in shutting down communications instead.
In this issue, we highlight some of the people, policies and technologies that have influenced federal IT in the past 25 years. Although it is not possible to include all the dynamic and dedicated people who have been or still are a part of this marketplace, we start with some who have left their mark.
We are proud to have shared the past 25 years with our readers and look forward to a vibrant future.
Anne Armstrong is president and chief content officer of 1105 Government Information Group.