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Pivotal policies of the past 25 years: What say you?

Think back over the past 25 years and figure out what policies have been pivotal in the shaping of federal IT.

We’re asking because Federal Computer Week is 25 years old this year. As part of an upcoming special issue, we’re going to examine the people, policies and technologies that have shaped the landscaped during that time. We’re looking for people and ideas that still hold sway today, not yesterday’s passing fads.

We’ve identified a few policies we think have been among the most significant, but we’d like your help. Look over the list below and then, in the comments, tell us what ones you think we’re missing, which ones we’ve named but should not have, and any other thoughts you have about what makes a policy pivotal.

Our ideas so far:

Procurement reform: Although it’s not a single policy, a number of procurement reform measures have changed the system in ways that still affect the ways in which the government buys products and services.

The President’s Management Agenda: The George W. Bush administration instituted this effort to apply metrics to government performance in ways that led to running agencies more as businesses are run. The Barack Obama administration has continued using the concept, as shown by the TechStat and PortfolioStat programs.

The Clinger-Cohen Act of 1996: Perhaps best known for creating the office of the agency CIO, the Clinger-Cohen Act of 1996 actually contained a full set of IT management reforms, including the creation of a capital planning and investment control process linked to budget formulation and a mandate for agencies to rethink their business processes and improving them when possible before investing in information systems.

Homeland security: In the wake of the Sept. 2001 terrorist attacks, the Bush administration not only established the Homeland Security Department but also kick-started numerous initiatives to improve information sharing across the federal government and with state and local agencies and the private sector. The work goes.

The Federal Information Security Management Act: Part of the E-Government Act of 2002, this effort to apply standards and best practices consistently across government put a new framework around agencies’ approach to security that has been refined over time. But what about the E-Government Act itself? Should it be on our list? If so, why?

Cloud-First Policy: This is a new one, but it could shape federal IT buying for years to come, shifting the preference away from agency-based dedicated systems to shared services, consolidation and remotely hosted applications.

So, let us know. Do we have the right list? Tell us why or why not, and what you’d add or remove.

Posted by Michael Hardy on Apr 10, 2012 at 12:18 PM


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Reader comments

Thu, Apr 19, 2012

I believe that the National Performance Review and the Hammer Awards not only affected the use of IT, it affected who the players are. IT became too important to be left to the IT guys. Also during this time we opened up the federal government to the Internet. That had a lot more impact than OMB type policy.

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