Letter to the editor

This is in regard to allowing federal information managers to swap jobs with private-sector counterparts ["Digital Tech Corps bill revived," FCW.com, Feb. 11, 2002].

Without doubt, it would be beneficial. I had the reverse experience. As a Computer Sciences Corp. vice president a number of years ago, I was "loaned" for a year to the United Kingdom's Department of Inland Revenue (like the Internal Revenue Service) to be the department's director of information technology. They called the arrangement a secondment. I was a British civil servant, responsible for 2,000 of their employees and another 200 contractor personnel.

I brought an industry perspective to the position (e.g., results-oriented focus) from which they benefited (I hope) and at the same time I learned about the broader, complex responsibilities inherent in a senior government position.

Note: Conflicts of interests can be avoided. You sign agreements to respect confidentiality and, simply put, if your break the law, you go to jail.

Bill Woodard
Managing director
Fraunhofer Center for Experimental Software Engineering
College Park, Md.

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