E-commerce vendor nets Pentagon's deputy CIO

During the past five years, Paul Brubaker has gone from helping draft legislation that defined the role of federal chief information officers to implementing the law as a deputy CIO. Now he's leaving public service to work for a company he thinks can help CIOs and other government officials measure up to the requirements of the Clinger-Cohen Act, the legislation he helped enact.

Brubaker will leave his job as the Defense Department's deputy CIO March 19 to work for Commerce One Inc. in Pleasanton, Calif. He will be president of public-sector e-government services. Among his reasons for leaving is a possible Bush administration reorganization of the DOD chief information office and getting "an offer I couldn't refuse" from Commerce One.

Art Money, DOD's CIO and assistant secretary of Defense for command, control, communications and intelligence, has not named an acting replacement for Brubaker, said Susan Hansen, a Pentagon spokeswoman. She also said Money has no plans to leave his post.

A possible candidate for Brubaker's job is Margaret Myers, his principal deputy. "She's very talented. She likes to work behind the scenes," Brubaker said. "She's not just competent, she's exceptional—very well-organized and dedicated."

Brubaker's predecessor and former boss, Marv Langston, a retired Navy officer, may have had more technical know-how, but that didn't stop Brubaker from pushing to change the way DOD used information technology. Change management is "my hobby," Brubaker said.

Known for being outspoken, Brubaker repeatedly complained about the Pentagon's lengthy budget cycles and resistance to change. "I don't think I was able to get accomplished what I did without being outspoken," he said. "I was not content with doing business as usual. There's still a lot to do" in the armed services.

Brubaker worked from 1991 to 1996 on Capitol Hill, first on a General Accounting Office assignment at the Senate Appropriations Committee and then as a staffer for Sen. William Cohen (R-Maine), who later became Defense secretary. Brubaker began his government service in 1989 with GAO.

In 1996, President Clinton signed the Information Technology Management Reform Act, which was later combined with the Federal Acquisition Reform Act to become the Clinger-Cohen Act. The law helped define the role of federal CIOs and requires that program managers and CIOs consider best business practices before implementing systems, including:

Calculating the return on investment. Considering whether the program should be outsourced or run in-house. Using commercial products when possible. Determining how the program fits with the agency's mission. In his new position at Commerce One, Brubaker said he will help agencies implement the requirements of Clinger-Cohen by reducing their acquisition time and streamlining procurements through managed buying exchanges, which help match multiple organizations that purchase similar products and services with multiple sellers.

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