Lorentz: OMB will give tech support to e-gov programs

Lorentz: OMB will give tech support to e-gov programs

As the Office of Management and Budget’s first chief technology officer, Norman Lorentz will provide technical support for OMB’s chosen 24 e-government initiatives—up from 23, counting a newly planned governmentwide payroll system—plus the Office of Homeland Security.

Lorentz will have the authority to stop a project that seems “unsuccessful and ineffective,” he said today. But he ruled out altering any modernization effort undertaken by Homeland Security. “Gov. Tom Ridge and his lieutenants will own that,” he said. “He’s in charge of all the initiatives there.”

The new CTO, who took the post three weeks ago, said he is leading several teams to identify and develop emerging technologies for IT and e-government projects. “I support the projects from the technology viewpoint,” he said. “[Mark Forman and I] look at their needs and ensure that they have the right technology.”

Each project, even though interagency in nature, has a lead agency, also called a managing partner. “As CTO, I own none of the technology,” Lorentz said. “The technology is owned by the managing partners. I make sure the components brought to the table are robust and reliable.”

Each e-government project also will have a technical team of contractors and government employees, Lorentz said, and one person may work on more than one team. He said he has no plans to research new technology to implement the 24 initiatives.

“Most technology is readily available, but we will identify technology if we need to make some changes,” he said. The managing partners will be “my customers. My job is to make them successful. They will be accountable for their initiatives. Outcome is what matters, and that’s faster service to the citizenry.”

Lorentz, who has a $45 billion budget for fiscal 2002, said OMB is considering hiring four portfolio managers to work out an enterprisewide architecture. He said the biggest challenge is figuring out “who’s doing what, who’s in charge, and how it will be done.”

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