DOD deputy CIO rips 'cultural logjam'

In a fiery speech Sept. 21, the Pentagon's deputy chief information officer

denounced those within the Defense Department and the federal government

who resist innovative programs such as the Navy/Marine Corps Intranet.

Paul Brubaker, who oversees the $16 billion N/MCI program, spoke at an

awards luncheon in Washington, D.C., on the same day industry sources found

out that the N/MCI contract announcement would once again be delayed. The

latest target date is today.

Navy officials promised members of Congress months ago that they would

not announce the winner until details of the Defense appropriations bill

have been hammered out, an ongoing process scheduled for completion no later

than Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year. The agreement is meant, in part,

to prevent the Navy from announcing the contract and then being surprised

by the outcome of the budget negotiation process.

Brubaker said N/MCI, and information technology in general, often fall

victim to those who prefer the status quo.

"We're really not fundamentally changing the way we do business in the

federal government. We haven't even begun to scratch the surface of potential

of the Information Age," Brubaker said during the luncheon for the Association

for Federal Information Resource Management. "My experience in government

so far is that the culture really kills innovation and change, and we've

got to find some way to really overcome the cultural obstacles that get

in our way."

When it comes to making fundamental changes to the way organizations

do business, Brubaker said, many don't back up their talk with action.

"We've run headlong into a cultural logjam that exists," he said. "There

are a lot of people out there who will talk a lot of really good talk about

changing and performing but who aren't really following that up with some

action. And I think, fundamentally, we've got to look at how the federal

government is structured...and whether we are really ready to enter the

Information Age."

He cited N/MCI as a specific example.

"The thing I absolutely love about N/MCI is that it sticks culture right

in the eye. If it were up to the culture, the culture would blow down N/MCI,"

Brubaker said. He said N/MCI lays the groundwork for a solid information

architecture, rather than building an architecture "from the ground up,

ad hoc," as so often happens.

He also spoke of the need for a federal CIO, saying that the original Clinger-

Cohen Act called for an office to be formed and made a good case for doing



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