Letter to the editor

Here we go again. This time it's Mitchell Daniels Jr., director of the Office of Management and Budget, who wants to shift responsibility from himself and his agency to information technology professionals ["Daniels: Fed IT workers not the best"].

The fundamental issue is not the technical competence of IT professionals. For the most part they know and do their jobs well in spite of administrative failures.

It's political appointees and members of the Senior Executive Service who continually ignore the beneficial relationship between IT investments and government processes. And why not? There is no penalty for failing to invest wisely in information technology.

Money redirected from IT can be redistributed to pet projects or constituents. No one measures where this money goes anyway. The Government Performance and Results Act is a shame, a budgeting game.

Yet, much of this waste could, indeed, be invested in the technology. These investments could reduce governmental costs and improve citizen services. Yet, this must be done in methodological ways, such as those outlined by Clinger-Cohen and GPRA.

No, the problem is not with IT professionals. The problem lies with Daniels, OMB and Congress for allowing this to happen.

OMB and members of the Finance and Governmental Affairs committees must take their responsibilities seriously. Stop talking and start doing.

Fire one or two general officers or SESers for nonfeasance with Clinger-Cohen and GPRA. That will improve things. There is nothing like discipline to get the attention of others.

It's easy to find someone. Throw a dart at a map of the Defense Department and other government agencies. You will hit a general or administrator who is not complying with laws, rules and regulations. It's a wide-open town,without a marshal to enforce the laws.

Until then, Mr. Daniels, don't blame IT professionals. This is your problem, not theirs. Suck it up, man. Do your job: Enforce the laws and stop trying to pass the buck.

Name withheld by request


We welcome your comments. To send a letter to the editor, use this form.

Please check out the archive of Letters to the Editor for fellow readers' comments.


  • innovation (Sergey Nivens/Shutterstock.com)

    VA embraces procurement challenges at scale

    Steve Kelman applauds the Department of Veterans Affairs' ambitious attempt to move beyond one-off prize-based contests to combat veteran suicides more effectively.

  • big data AI health data

    Where did the ideas for shutdowns and social distancing come from?

    Steve Kelman offers another story about hero civil servants (and a good president).

Stay Connected


Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.