Federal IT execs share approaches to working with industry

Senior federal officials discuss federal .gov programs

Agencies and the companies they hire aren’t always on the same page, specifically when it comes to being open with their information.

During an event May 20 hosted by the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association’s Bethesda (Md.) Chapter, federal information technology executives were asked about bridging the gap between government and industry. In response, two senior officials shared some of their perspectives for working with industry.

Linda Cureton, NASA’s chief information officer, said government officials need to understand how industry works and its profit motives. Cureton gave different lengths for contacts as an example.

“If I need you to invest more or risk more then maybe I need a longer contract in order to do that,” Cureton said. “If I’m not sure whether or not you’re going to do something and I want you to…get a nice start from scratch, maybe a short little engagement might give you a chance to get a quick win or do something.”

“So understanding how you guys make money and what costs you money helps me make decisions on the other side," she added.

John Teeter, deputy chief information officer at the Health and Human Services Department, said the government needs to be willing to repurpose things that have already been done.

“We have too much not-invented-here type of attitude across the federal space and you all have a wealth of information and knowledge about what has been done across a much broader spectrum, and so we have to be more open to reusing things that have already been done and then we have to ask you to bring those things to the table,” Teeter said.

1105 Media, the parent company of Federal Computer Week, was a media partner for the event.

 

About the Author

Ben Bain is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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