OMB, Unisys recruit in Silicon Valley

The chief technology officer of the United States shared a podium May 28 with a major contractor to speak to California technology businesses about the federal market.

Norman Lorentz, CTO at the Office of Management and Budget, played up the President's Management Agenda, the e-government initiatives, enterprise architecture and the creation of new federal agencies.

Greg Baroni, president of Unisys Corp.'s global public sector division, spoke of opportunities for subcontractors, while James Kane, president and chief executive officer of Federal Sources Inc., shared information about the value of the federal market.

Lorentz and Baroni planned closed-door meetings with Silicon Valley companies for today. The purpose of the trip, which follows similar excursions by Dan Chenok, OMB's branch chief for information policy and technology, and Mark Forman, administrator of the Office of E-Government and Information Technology, is to recruit new viewpoints and talent for the federal contracting world, Lorentz said.

"The one outcome is to create a bridge between Silicon Valley and inside the Beltway," he said in answer to a question. "Mark Forman's been out here, Dan Chenok's been out here, we plan to come out here on a regular basis. We do not believe the solution to all the problems are inside the Beltway."

To the audience assembled at the American Electronics Association's headquarters in Santa Clara, Calif., Lorentz said that President Bush, with his Management Agenda, has "thrown down the gauntlet" and challenged agencies to make sweeping improvements.

Agencies are rife with redundant systems and outdated technologies, he said. "We're hugely wasteful. We lack economies of scale. We have to have interoperability."

Although its rate of growth has slowed, the federal information technology budget continues to increase from year to year, Kane said. In 2002 it was $49.8 billion, and it is expected to be $59.3 billion in the 2004 fiscal year, he said.

OMB deserves credit for opening the doors to industry, he added. "They have brought a completely different personality to this marketplace over the past two years. The Office of Management and Budget is looking at technology as an investment. A corporate mindset has been brought to Washington."

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