Call for IT czar gets high-level boost

A presidential advisory committee's draft report on transforming government advocates a federal chief information officer who would be responsible for interagency information technology projects.

The final report of the President's Information Technology Advisory Committee's Subcommittee on Transforming Government is due in September. It is designed to develop a long-range strategy for using IT to transform government and simplify the public's transactions with government agencies.

Herbert Schorr, a subcommittee member and executive director of the University of Southern California's Information Sciences Institute, provided an overview of the draft report at the dg.o (DigitalGovernment.Org) 2000 conference Wednesday in Los Angeles. The conference highlighted National Science Foundation-funded research in digital government and aimed to partner government agencies, academic researchers and industry on future projects.

One of the draft report's recommendations is that the administration and Congress should support and expand on the federal CIO Council and create a federal CIO position with funding to coordinate interagency efforts, Schorr said.

"Multiagency projects need one federal CIO," Schorr said about the oft-debated topic of creating a federal IT czar. "Something needs to be done to handle the stovepipe situation."

Agencies tend to spend all of their IT money internally, but there needs to a balance similar to what the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has done to solicit research from outside organizations, Schorr said.

"A federal CIO could bring that balance" by requiring upfront investment in IT research, he said.

MORE INFO

"OMB: No call for IT czar" [Federal Computer Week, April 24, 2000]

"CIO czar concept gains momentum" [FCW.com, March 27, 2000]

"CIO Council details e-gov agenda" [FCW.com, Feb. 28, 2000]

President's Information Technology Advisory Committee

BY Paula Shaki Trimble
May 19, 2000

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