Old and new thoughts on R&D

Since Arthur Cebrowski died last month, I have spent a lot of time re-reading his writings. They are so good that we decided to share them. You can read an excerpt of his last published thoughts on the following pages.

Cebrowski, a decorated Navy vice admiral who most recently served as director of the Defense Department's Office of Force Transformation, was skilled at conveying complex thoughts in ways that are easy to understand. I found myself returning to his ideas hours or days after I read them. He will be missed, and his shoes will be difficult to fill.

As you read the excerpt on the following pages, it will become clear that one of the issues close to Cebrowski's heart was research and development.

"R&D is really quite nuanced. There is a texture to it," he wrote. "As [DOD] moves into a period of uncertainty, discovery and invention are increasingly important."

We have used Federal Computer Week's editorial page several times this year to stress the importance of government funding for information technology R&D. Therefore, we were momentarily heartened last month when House Democrats published their Innovation Agenda, which includes additional government spending for R&D, among other priorities.

However, we were quickly reminded of how issues can get sidetracked in the partisan sniping that seems to define so much of politics these days.

But we give credit when credit is due. Our hopeful side says that Democrats included R&D spending in the Innovation Agenda as a way of raising the visibility of what they believe is an important issue. Our cynical side says the agenda is merely a way to appease IT executives and score political points.

If the former perception is accurate, kudos, and we look forward to progress on what we believe is a critical issue. If the latter motivation is true, however, we cringe at the prospect of R&D spending getting mired in the partisan bog.

-- Christopher J. Dorobek

About the Author

Christopher J. Dorobek is the co-anchor of Federal News Radio’s afternoon drive program, The Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris, and the founder, publisher and editor of the DorobekInsider.com, a leading blog for the Federal IT community.

Dorobek joined Federal News Radio in 2008 with 16 years of experience covering government issues with an emphasis on government information technology. Prior to joining Federal News Radio, Dorobek was editor-in-chief of Federal Computer Week, the leading news magazine for government IT decision-makers and the flagship of the 1105 Government Information Group portfolio of publications. As editor-in-chief, Dorobek served as a member of the senior leadership team at 1105 Government Information Group, providing daily editorial direction and management for FCW magazine, FCW.com, Government Health IT and its other editorial products.

Dorobek joined FCW in 2001 as a senior reporter and assumed increasing responsibilities, becoming managing editor and executive editor before being named editor-in-chief in 2006. Prior to joining FCW, Dorobek was a technology reporter at PlanetGov.com, one of the first online community centers for current and former government employees. He also spent five years at Government Computer News, another leading industry publication, covering a variety of federal IT-related issues.

Dorobek is a frequent speaker on issues involving the government IT industry, and has appeared as a frequent contributor to NewsChannel 8’s Federal News Today program. He began his career as a reporter at the Foster’s Daily Democrat, a daily newspaper in Dover, N.H. He is a graduate of the University of Southern California. He lives in Washington, DC.

The Fed 100

Read the profiles of all this year's winners.


  • Then-presidential candidate Donald Trump at a 2016 campaign event. Image: Shutterstock

    'Buy American' order puts procurement in the spotlight

    Some IT contractors are worried that the "buy American" executive order from President Trump could squeeze key innovators out of the market.

  • OMB chief Mick Mulvaney, shown here in as a member of Congress in 2013. (Photo credit Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

    White House taps old policies for new government makeover

    New guidance from OMB advises agencies to use shared services, GWACs and federal schedules for acquisition, and to leverage IT wherever possible in restructuring plans.

  • Shutterstock image (by Everett Historical): aerial of the Pentagon.

    What DOD's next CIO will have to deal with

    It could be months before the Defense Department has a new CIO, and he or she will face a host of organizational and operational challenges from Day One

  • USAF Gen. John Hyten

    General: Cyber Command needs new platform before NSA split

    U.S. Cyber Command should be elevated to a full combatant command as soon as possible, the head of Strategic Command told Congress, but it cannot be separated from the NSA until it has its own cyber platform.

  • Image from Shutterstock.

    DLA goes virtual

    The Defense Logistics Agency is in the midst of an ambitious campaign to eliminate its IT infrastructure and transition to using exclusively shared, hosted and virtual services.

  • Fed 100 logo

    The 2017 Federal 100

    The women and men who make up this year's Fed 100 are proof positive of what one person can make possibile in federal IT. Read on to learn more about each and every winner's accomplishments.

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group