EDS sends intergovernmental signal

Anne Reed, former chief information officer at the U.S. Agriculture Department,

recently was named to the lead Electronic Data Systems Corp.'s state and

local government sector. Reed joined EDS' Government Global Industry Group

last year.

The appointment of the former high-ranking federal official to oversee

state and local efforts may indicate a shift in how industry is viewing

the public-sector landscape, as officials from all levels of government

are interacting and cooperating to a greater degree than before.

"We did see a real synergy in what's happening in the federal sector

and what's happening in the state and local communities," said Reed, who

worked with thousands of county governments while she was with the USDA.

"I think it was a natural evolution. Interestingly, the federal CIOs began

working closely with the state CIOs during the Y2K problem."

Historically, there's been a reluctance of the federal and state governments

to interact, she said. But the Year 2000 problem demonstrated a "recognition

of the real value of collaboration" that has continued, she added.

"There's much more willingness to respect what each brings to the table,"

said Reed, who helped guide USDA's Year 2000 conversion.

She said recent examples of improved collaboration are New Jersey CIO

Wendy Rayner serving as the National Association of State Chief Information

Officers liaison to the federal CIO Council and former Pennsylvania Gov.

Tom Ridge directing the White House Office of Homeland Security.

Following the Sept. 11 attacks, public-sector officials have been calling

for greater information sharing among federal, state and local governments,

particularly in the security and public safety areas. Although Sept. 11

underscored the importance of better governmental interoperability, Reed

said it did not spur EDS' decision to select her to lead the state and local

sector.

In her new position, Reed expects that state and local governments will

focus on homeland security, public safety and law enforcement, noting "that's

where the public's attention is, that's where the governors' attentions

are."

She also said EDS is focused on enterprise solutions as several states

are examining how to restructure their communications infrastructure to

support e-government.

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