CIO Council gets new look, new direction

CIO Council gets new look, new direction

President Bush’s Office of Management and Budget has radically overhauled the CIO Council, abolishing committees, changing members’ assignments and giving the group new priorities.

Following months of what council co-chairman James Flyzik called “a lot of brainstorming” with Mark Forman, OMB associate director for IT and electronic government, the group’s standing committees have been reduced to three—work force, best practices and architecture. Gone are the security and e-government subcommittees.

More important, the council will now have four portfolio teams, each corresponding to a segment of the president’s citizen-centric government initiative. The segments are government to citizen, government to business, intergovernmental transactions, and government process improvement.

Each team will oversee specific improvement projects Forman has identified in the four areas. OMB has not officially identified the 23 projects publicly, but Flyzik said each will be headed by what he called a manager and managing partner. GCN last week obtained a copy of the list (see chart).

Security matters

The managers might be CIOs, chief financial officers, program managers or other senior officials. Flyzik, the acting assistant secretary for administration and CIO of the Treasury Department, outlined the changes during a press briefing at the Industry Advisory Council’s Executive Leadership Conference in Hershey, Pa., last week. Some 200 federal managers and 500 vendor representatives attended the conference.

Although there is no longer a separate security committee, Flyzik said, the CIO Council would be taking a larger role in security policy, retooling its efforts so they directly support the new Office of Homeland Security.

The 23 e-government initiatives together comprise one of five items on Bush’s President’s Management Agenda, which also includes increased emphasis on outsourcing and integration of budget and program performance data.

The council’s overhaul seems to represent the final step in its transition from how the group was organized under President Clinton.

Then, it was closely associated with the now-defunct National Performance Review. Although OMB has always overseen the council, OMB itself has a bigger role in government reform under Bush. The CIO council is one of three reform groups overseen by Forman [GCN, June 25, Page 1].
One CIO attending the Hershey conference said council members aren’t sure whether to be pleased or upset with the changes.

“Most of us are taking a wait-and-see attitude,” he said.

Best practices

Separately, Marilyn Holland, chief of the Program and Management Division of the Agriculture Department, said CIO Council members would be interviewing executives in industry and government to create a collection of best practices in IT deployment. They will work with Robert Guerra of Robert J. Guerra and Associates of Oak Hill, Va.

Guerra said the purpose of the project will be to learn “how we redirect investments year-to-year to optimize return on investment. The profit motive drives industry to concepts usable by government.” He said a document describing the best practices would be completed by the end of the year.

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