Gore, Bush answer IT questions

Presidential candidates Al Gore and George W. Bush would deal with information

technology policies in the federal government in vastly different ways — from how they spend money to the delivery of services.

In answering questions posed by Federal Computer Week, the candidates showed

major differences and some similarities in their views toward e-government.

The full text of their comments will be available Monday on FCW.com. Here

are some key topics on which the candidates differ:

IT czar

* Gore would not appoint an IT czar but would give a senior White House

economic official the responsibility of overseeing the IT agenda.

* Bush would issue an executive order designating a chief information officer

at the Office of Management and Budget to coordinate the government's digital

policies.

IT funding

* Gore said he would spend as much money as necessary to protect information

technology but did not specify how much.

* Bush didn't say how much he would spend either but said he would create

a $100 million fund for interagency e-government initiatives.

E-government

* Gore would give private citizens digital certificates or electronic signatures

to do business with the government.

* Bush would make it possible for citizens to tailor government information

to their interests and needs, much like a personalized newspaper or Web

site.

"I'm sure it matters who is the next president as far as IT, but I'm not

sure which candidate would be better," said Roger Baker, chief information

officer at the Commerce Department.

"The biggest internal issue the next president will need to deal with is

the dichotomy between our drive toward e-government and its focus on how

customers view government," Baker said.

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