Editorial: 7 post-election to-do's

For the winner of the presidential election in November, here is Federal Computer Week's to-do list for the next four years, in no particular order.

Keep turning the battleship. Regardless of one's opinion of the war in Iraq, the fact is network-centric warfare worked. Defense Department officials must continue to reshape the services into a more agile force to fight groups that employ nontraditional tactics, such as terrorism. DOD officials can do that only if they keep pushing ahead with transformation.

Keep the "C" in CIO. As Office of Management and Budget officials have taken a more active approach to information technology issues, the roles of chief information officers and the CIO Council have become murky. If agencies are to effectively use technology, CIOs must have a clear and essential role in organizations.

Take the muzzle off feds. During the past four years, federal employees have been concerned about sharing their opinions, and today, many feel stifled. If they are muted, leaders lose an important resource. An open environment for sharing ideas encourages creativity.

Re-engineer Capitol Hill. Congress needs to change the Byzantine budget and oversight process. Agency officials rarely get their budgets on time, yet they receive flak for not meeting deadlines. And most agencies have multiple oversight committees. If lawmakers expect agencies to streamline their organizations, they should start on the Hill.

Think local. Homeland security requires the involvement of federal, state and local governments. Federal and state agencies have been working together reasonably well, but local governments still seem to be out of the loop. It's time to close that loop.

Hire at will. The amount of red tape involved in government hiring makes no sense. Office of Personnel Management officials have moved toward fixing this problem, and they should quickly progress along that path.

Don't look back. The past 18 months have not been good for procurement reform. Besieged by scandal after scandal, it seems that there is a growing call to roll back the changes from the 1990s that allowed agencies to buy more quickly and more efficiently. Let's not go back to the Brooks Act. There may be a need for greater oversight, but do not impose Draconian measures to fix isolated problems.

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