Bill aims to form TechCorps

Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.) introduced legislation July 31 that would create a public/private exchange program for information technology and acquisition managers in government and industry.

The bill would create the Digital TechCorps program, which would allow federal IT managers and their industry counterparts to learn new skills and exchange best practices.

The program would "allow for greater knowledge and understanding between the public and private sectors" and "foster greater innovation and partnership for government and industry," Davis said at a House Technology and Procurement Policy Subcommittee hearing, where he detailed the bill.

Highlights include the following:

* The program is geared toward mid-level managers at the GS-12 through GS-15 levels and initially will consist of at least 25 to 30 people.

* Federal employees would be able to work in industry for one to two years, and industry employees would be allowed to work in government for one to two years.

* The home agency or company would continue to provide pay and benefits to employees participating in the program.

* Exchange assignments would be coordinated through the CIO Council and the Office of Management and Budget.

* Participants are expected to work on e-government projects in particular.

Industry and government officials announced support for the program. Consulting and services firm Accenture said it would provide five managers for each of the first two years of the program. Steve Rohleder, managing partner of Accenture's U.S. government division, said he hoped that other companies would follow suit. "We hope that it will go a long way in restoring esteem to public service," Rohleder said at the hearing.

Kay Coles James, director of the Office of Personnel Management, said the program appears "interesting and attractive." An exchange program could "facilitate the flow of fresh approaches to technical problem-solving between the two sectors," James said at the hearing.

James recommended that the Office of Government Ethics and the Justice Department review the TechCorp proposal to review any ethics implications.

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