Editorial: The next four years

From the beginning, the Bush administration's technology agenda was too ambitious to be achieved in four years. Of course, the time constraint is no longer an issue. So as the president and his team prepare for a second term, we offer the following recommendations on current and perennial policy issues that are certain to carry over into the next four years.

Protect procurement reform. By most accounts, lawmakers have had their fill of procurement scandals, such as the misuse of the General Services Administration's schedule contracts. With Get It Right and other initiatives, GSA and Defense Department officials have been taking steps to fix some of the problems without rolling back reform efforts. Missing, though, is the administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy. Confirmation of President Bush's nominee, David Safavian, remains stalled in the Senate. It is important to have that post filled and for that person to be a voice for sensible procurement reform.

Appoint — and empower — a governmentwide cybersecurity chief. We hear rumblings from across government that top administration officials still do not understand the threat posed by hackers and malicious software code flooding the Internet. It's not enough to bury someone several layers down in the Homeland Security Department and hope for the best. The Office of Management and Budget must appoint a cybersecurity champion and give that person the authority he or she needs to bring about real change.

Refocus e-government efforts. The Bush administration made a big splash in 2001 with the unveiling of 24 e-government initiatives. But given the complexity of funding and managing programs across agency boundaries, some observers have said OMB officials would have been better off focusing their attention on six or fewer projects first. Having been granted a four-year extension, they have a great opportunity to try another tack.

Sell enterprise architecture to rank-and-file employees. Enterprise architectures have a steep learning curve, and they cannot succeed without the support of employees responsible for buying and managing major systems. OMB officials seem to have convinced agency leaders that they must have architectures in place. Now they must convince their employees to put the plans into practice. Otherwise, the last four years will have been a waste.

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