National Defense University creates an e-gov discipline

With the administration focusing on e-government, federal managers are going back to school.

This fall, the National Defense University will offer for the first time an E-Government Leadership Certificate Program for non-CIO senior executives.

“We are offering courses that are fundamental to transforming government in the near and distant future,” said Elizabeth McDaniel, the university’s dean of faculty and academic programs for the IRM College. “As we look at the calls to transform, there is a lot involved. These courses provide an understanding of what this means.”

The university is announcing the new program at the E-Gov conference in Washington this week.

The program evolved from the CIO certificate program, McDaniel said. The school updated some of the CIO classes and added new ones. Employees must take eight required courses and one elective course from the program catalog, which includes classes in information management planning, enterprise architectures, security, privacy and access issues. The program is presented over a one-week period or can be taken online over 14 weeks.

McDaniel said the university developed the program with help from federal systems leaders, such as Mark Forman, the Office of Management and Budget’s associate director for IT and e-government, and staff members for Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.), chairman of the House Government Reform Subcommittee on Technology and Procurement Policy.

“It just seemed like a natural response to what was going on in the work force,” McDaniel said.

Management and people

The university, which enrolled 2,400 federal and industry workers last year, offers 150 courses to military officers in grades O-5 and O-6 and civilian managers in grades GS-13 to GS-15. Most of the students are Defense Department employees, with about 24 percent from civilian agencies and 2 percent from industry. Courses are free for DOD personnel and cost $900 for others.

“We expect the e-government program to be popular,” McDaniel said. “This is not a technology program at all, but a managerial program. It is about management and people issues.”

McDaniel said the university, which has its main campus at Fort McNair in Washington, has expanded its IT course offerings over the last few years. Besides the e-government program, the school this fall will offer classes in security, privacy and access for the first time. The university also began offering a homeland security course this month.

Later this summer, it will offer a course on buying commercial applications, such as customer relationship management systems and enterprise resource planning software. The course will combine IT, acquisition and change management curricula, said Mary Polydys, chairwoman of the Systems Acquisition Department.

The one-week course will cover what the applications do, how to select the right system for an agency and how to implement it. The course also will provide information on new acquisition techniques and project management, Polydys said.

“When we talk about acquiring IT, it is the change management that has to occur too,” she said. “DOD and civilian agencies are looking into buying these commercial applications for business-oriented functions. Acquisition and technical personnel need to know what happens as a result of buying these systems.”

For more information about the courses, visit www.ndu.edu.

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