The news that the District government has continually refused help from the federal government is surprising to those of us in the federal arena. It is unthinkable to reject help that can actually save money—particularly considering the money crunch facing the D.C. government.

However, to whatever extent the rejection goes beyond arrogance or incompetence at the local level, it is indicative of an attitude that is pervasive in the state and local community. Many executives believe they can deliver services to their citizens better, faster and less expensively than the federal government traditionally has done. They see devolution as the hot topic of the times. (For those still challenged by the local vocabulary, "devolution" is the passing of funds and authority from a central government to local government units.)

Many state CIOs are not interested in buying off federal schedules, saying they can get far better prices on their own.

I suspect that it is not that simple. The states have found at various times during this country's history that there are advantages to cooperation—and union. The challenge now is to find ways to work together. The Intergovernmental Enterprise Panel, chartered by the NPR's GITS, is one group looking for ways to cooperate and improve the service delivery.

It would be a mistake for states to reject federal know-how, any more than they would reject federal money.

FCW in Print

In the latest issue: Looking back on three decades of big stories in federal IT.


  • Anne Rung -- Commerce Department Photo

    Exit interview with Anne Rung

    The government's departing top acquisition official said she leaves behind a solid foundation on which to build more effective and efficient federal IT.

  • Charles Phalen

    Administration appoints first head of NBIB

    The National Background Investigations Bureau announced the appointment of its first director as the agency prepares to take over processing government background checks.

  • Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.)

    Senator: Rigid hiring process pushes millennials from federal work

    Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) said agencies are missing out on younger workers because of the government's rigidity, particularly its protracted hiring process.

  • FCW @ 30 GPS

    FCW @ 30

    Since 1987, FCW has covered it all -- the major contracts, the disruptive technologies, the picayune scandals and the many, many people who make federal IT function. Here's a look back at six of the most significant stories.

  • Shutterstock image.

    A 'minibus' appropriations package could be in the cards

    A short-term funding bill is expected by Sept. 30 to keep the federal government operating through early December, but after that the options get more complicated.

  • Defense Secretary Ash Carter speaks at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco

    DOD launches new tech hub in Austin

    The DOD is opening a new Defense Innovation Unit Experimental office in Austin, Texas, while Congress debates legislation that could defund DIUx.

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