Whatever happened to CIM?

The Pentagon's Corporate Information Management (CIM) initiative arrived with a bang in the early 1990s. The post-Cold War reduction in military spending meant that the Defense Department had to make do with less. CIM's answer was to trim costs and boost efficiency through business process re-engineering. Paul Strassmann, who joined DOD in 1990 and was named director of defense information in 1991, led the effort.

"CIM came about because Congress declared a peace dividend," said Strassmann, now an information technology consultant. The CIM objective was "don't cut troops, but streamline bureaucratic processes," he continued. "I was brought in to have seven good years to do it. Well, I didn't have seven good years. Everyone was counting on a second [George H.W.] Bush administration."

Instead, Bill Clinton won the 1992 election and CIM was forgotten. Or was it?

"There have been a variety of transformation-oriented programs over the past years, starting with CIM," said Michael Yoemans, who in the early 1990s was the Pentagon's deputy director for business process improvement. Yoemans is now director of strategic resource planning in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Networks and Information Integration.

CIM was succeeded by acquisition reform, the National Performance Review and, most recently, the Pentagon's transformation initiative, he said. "All have been on that same path, trying to deal with making government a modern place to work," Yoemans said.

"Everybody tells me CIM is alive and kicking," Strassmann added.

So, CIM never really died. It just got a new name.

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