Déjà vu all over again

When we created the first issue of Federal Computer Week in 1987, we worked on articles by passing files back and forth on floppy disks. Today, the technology has changed so dramatically that the early days seem like something out of “The Flintstones.”

But some things haven’t changed. As we went through 25 years of issues, we realized that although the concerns have morphed a bit, the government is still struggling to address the challenges we highlighted in our first issues: security, budgets, acquisition/procurement rules, ethics, the role of contractors, and how to attract and keep talented employees.

For instance, various attempts to grade how agencies were doing with their security efforts led to some interesting hearings on Capitol Hill but didn’t change much about how such efforts were funded and implemented. For years, every time we asked agency executives what their biggest concern was, they said security, but when we asked about spending priorities, security came in third or fourth. Only in the past few years has that ranking changed as cyberattacks have grown more sophisticated.

We find similar recurring patterns with ethics regulations, which are designed to protect the procurement process but often succeed in shutting down communications instead.

In this issue, we highlight some of the people, policies and technologies that have influenced federal IT in the past 25 years. Although it is not possible to include all the dynamic and dedicated people who have been or still are a part of this marketplace, we start with some who have left their mark.

We are proud to have shared the past 25 years with our readers and look forward to a vibrant future.

About the Author

Anne Armstrong is Co-President & Chief Content Officer of 1105 Public Sector Media Group.



FCW in Print

In the latest issue: Looking back on three decades of big stories in federal IT.


  • Anne Rung -- Commerce Department Photo

    Exit interview with Anne Rung

    The government's departing top acquisition official said she leaves behind a solid foundation on which to build more effective and efficient federal IT.

  • Charles Phalen

    Administration appoints first head of NBIB

    The National Background Investigations Bureau announced the appointment of its first director as the agency prepares to take over processing government background checks.

  • Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.)

    Senator: Rigid hiring process pushes millennials from federal work

    Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) said agencies are missing out on younger workers because of the government's rigidity, particularly its protracted hiring process.

  • FCW @ 30 GPS

    FCW @ 30

    Since 1987, FCW has covered it all -- the major contracts, the disruptive technologies, the picayune scandals and the many, many people who make federal IT function. Here's a look back at six of the most significant stories.

  • Shutterstock image.

    A 'minibus' appropriations package could be in the cards

    A short-term funding bill is expected by Sept. 30 to keep the federal government operating through early December, but after that the options get more complicated.

  • Defense Secretary Ash Carter speaks at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco

    DOD launches new tech hub in Austin

    The DOD is opening a new Defense Innovation Unit Experimental office in Austin, Texas, while Congress debates legislation that could defund DIUx.

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