Davis: Government needs to share

Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.) said today that the federal government is weak in sharing information, meeting challenges and investing in federal employees.

Davis spoke at an Industry Advisory Council and American Council for Technology luncheon in Washington, D.C.

Inefficient government operations hinder information sharing, he said. Davis referred to the Treasury Department’s Treasury Communications Enterprise (TCE) and a stinging February report from the inspector general about the program.

“At the end of the day, we’ll stop it in the appropriations process,” Davis said. He hopes the action will get his point across: “Work together.”

The IG's report states that Treasury officials’ poor planning and execution delayed the TCE contract and increased its costs. The IG recommended that the department consider all available options before awarding contracts. The investigation found little consideration for many other General Services Administration contract vehicles, and it reported that the department's documenting of business cases is deficient.

Globalization and the international economy have turned a need-to-know culture into a need-to-share culture. If agencies had shared the information they knew about the terrorists who hijacked planes Sept. 11, 2001, they might have been able to prevent the disaster, Davis said.

During last year’s hurricane relief efforts, the government did not act until the Coast Guard and military arrived in the Gulf Coast area. The military is mission-oriented, Davis said, while agencies live by regulations and fear congressional oversight committees such as the House Government Reform Committee, which he leads. “And finding that balance can be very, very difficult,” he said.

Davis said spending money on good procurement and contracting officers is another way to save money. Although the government seeks to cut costs by offering early-outs and buyouts, it ultimately loses money because it loses people with experience and expertise.

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