Students graduate with a mission

The National Defense University's Information Resources Management College

handed out graduation certificates to 125 students on Dec. 8, the college's

largest-ever graduating class of information technology professionals.

Graduates came from all the military services, the Pentagon, other federal

agencies and industry. They included 84 completing the Chief Information

Officer Certification Program, 36 completing the Advanced Management Program

and five finishing the National Security Telecommunications and Information

Systems Security Instruction.

The growing number of graduates indicates the increasing dependence

on IT professionals within the federal government, according to Robert Childs,

the college's director. Childs said the federal CIO community is becoming

"a powerful force" within the government, and he challenged the students

to become leaders in their organizations.

Bill Piatt, a past graduate of the CIO program who is now the e-government

director for Booz-Allen & Hamilton Inc., told the graduates that the

role of IT is not just mission support anymore.

"It is the mission," he

said. "The mission is materially affected by what is and is not possible

with [IT]. The mission cannot be developed without a clear understanding

of those possibilities and the trade-offs inherent in them."

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