- By Judi Hasson
- Oct 09, 2000
Ready for departure
As the presidential election nears, those chief information officers who
are political appointees are preparing their agencies for their departures.
For example, Agriculture Department CIO Joseph Leo is getting his deputy,
Ira Hobbs, in line for the job. At the Industry Advisory Council's Executive
Leadership Conference last week, Leo said that many political CIOs are giving
their career deputies the mantle to make sure someone with the know-how
is ready to step in when the administration changes. That should make it
easier to continue technology initiatives during the transition period following
Treasury CIO Jim Flyzik is one of those people who comes to mind when considering
a list of candidates for an governmentwide CIO. When asked recently what
would be the first thing he would do as "IT czar," Flyzik replied: "Start
an innovation fund, push smart cards and outsource everything."
Web Site Rocks
Rep. Asa Hutchinson, (R-Ark.) found out just how pervasive the Internet
has become during a recent visit to a rural area in his Arkansas district.
A constituent approached him, intent on having a word with the congressman,
Hutchinson recounted before an audience attending a Capitol Hill e-government
conference. Noting the man's overalls and chewing tobacco, Hutchinson figured,
"Here comes the gun control question." The man paused to spit, then looked
Hutchinson in the eye and said, "You've got a great Web site, congressman."
Although the FBI's plan for reinventing its communications system via the
World Wide Web remains in effect, the program's name has been changed, according
to Mark Tanner of the FBI's Office of Information Resources Management.
Several versions of the program and its name have been tried out in the
past year, with some changes forced by technological advances and others
by political pressure. The program originally was called the Information
Sharing Initiative. ISI was a half-billion-dollar plan to connect FBI agents
and offices nationwide using existing phone lines. Congress balked at the
cost and froze funding. The FBI revised the plan after determining it would
be much less costly to make it Web-based. The bureau called it "eFBI." But
an FBI spokesman said some members of Congress apparently weren't comfortable
with that name. Finally, the FBI has come up with the Technology Upgrade
Plan. It doesn't have the same ring to it as "eFBI," the FBI spokesman said,
but it's a more accurate description of the system.
The United States took a couple of hits at the Information Security Solutions
Europe conference in Barcelona, Spain, last month. The Commerce Department's
undersecretary of export administration, William Reinsch, stood up against
many disgruntled European security officials. He defended the administration's
new encryption export policy, which is finally allowing encryption products
and technology to be sent to European Union governments. As the sole official
representative of the U.S. government, he also fielded questions about the
FBI's Carnivore system from people who seemed even more nervous about the
e-mail bugging system than the privacy advocates in the United States.
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