Letters to the Editor

The following letters are in response to an FCW.com poll question that asked: "Are bureaucrats in your agency holding back e-government?"

You can read the State Department chief information officer's words in a CIO magazine article, "A Sorry State," and see that the CIO admits that the department's bureaucracy has held back needed improvements.

The good news is that people who we see as part of the problem can become part of the solution. He is an example of this. At one time, this CIO worked at the Peace Corps. There, he received considerable criticism for NOT modernizing and for committing significant funds to the purchase and relocation of mainframe data processing equipment. Shortly afterward, he failed to receive a renewal for an additional hitch. Today, Peace Corps data processing is increasingly outsourced.

The fact that he missed the boat then did not prevent him for seeing the need for improvements now. Hopefully, he will find a way to enlist the help of those he now criticizes, likewise, in creating a new and better future.

One step in the process might be to recognize those who have taken career risks to bring about changes. Many important people in government seem to take credit for the work others do without sharing. Those who criticize bureaucracies do not have lasting careers, and this also needs to be changed.

***

The problem is that so many of the bureaucrats don't know what e-business is or how it works or how it might work within their "kingdoms."

In the Defense Department, one agency says it is implementing e-business and thinks that its implementation exhibits leadership because it is the first one to implement an e-business project. With the state of DOD's financial affairs, it should be devoting time and those millions toward fixing DOD's financial systems.

Names withheld by request

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