As chief information officer and director of command, control, communications and computers for the Marine Corps, Brig. Gen. George Allen moved aggressively to bring advanced networking capabilities to all ranks in the Marine Corps.
Allen reorganized a chaotic procurement environment and was a leader in closing the digital divide that existed in the Marines’ lowest ranks.
With their new connectivity gains, service members at every level benefit from cost-effective, lightweight, flexible equipment and better-trained personnel, said Linton Wells, a distinguished research fellow who holds the Force Transformation Chair at the National Defense University.
Allen “leverages any opportunity that comes his way,” Wells said. “ ‘Not invented here’ is not in his vocabulary.”
To understand the impact of Perryn Ashmore, deputy chief information officer of the General Services Administration’s Federal Acquisition Service, just check the math.
GSA expected to pay $8 million for the development of an online contract management module, but Ashmore got the job done for $800,000, said Casey Coleman, GSA’s CIO.
GSA clients use the module to submit and view the status of invoices for the Alliant contract.
The module provides real-time access to information.
Ashmore can hold in-depth discussions with information technology employees about their projects and explain them to business program executives, Coleman said. “It’s a rare skill.”
Jason R. Baron, director of litigation at the National Archives and Records Administration since 2000, brought a healthy skepticism to the discipline known as e-discovery.
Electronic records can play an important role in developing a legal case, but Baron understands that technology has limits. In 2007, Baron led an international research project to demonstrate the limitations of keyword searching and evaluate alternative search methods.
“I’ve heard him speak on several occasions to both legal and layperson audiences on e-recordkeeping and e-discovery matters,” said Barbara Simball, assistant general counsel for legal services at the Government Accountability Office. “He is both entertaining and highly informative.”
Paul Bartock, the National Security Agency’s technical director for network operational vulnerabilities, brought an important perspective to the Federal Desktop Core Configuration (FDCC) initiative.
FDCC, an effort to secure systems governmentwide, was an important policy, but it required more than good policy-writing chops.
“Paul understands what constitutes a good security baseline and what is usable in an operational environment,” said Tony Sager, chief of the Vulnerability Analysis and Operations Group at NSA’s Information Assurance Directorate. “He has worked both sides of this and spends time in real environments.”
Bartock would go to Defense Department bases and find out what applications the standard baseline broke. He used that knowledge to steer the Office of Management and Budget, the National Institute of Standards and Technology and others toward a usable core configuration for federal agencies.
Gary Bass, founder and executive director of OMB Watch, took the unusual step of collaborating with the Office of Management and Budget, the focus of the group’s watchdog activities. The partnership contributed to the creation of USAspending.gov, a searchable database of government contracts mandated by the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006.
OMB had expected to spend $60 million to create the site from scratch. Instead, Bass persuaded his board of directors to share the software that runs OMB Watch’s FedSpending.org Web site. That partnership arrangement cost the government about $600,000.
“OMB Watch could have said, ‘Figure it out on your own,’” said Karen Evans, OMB’s administrator for e-government and information technology.
Instead, it helped the government save taxpayer dollars.
As contract officer for the General Services Administration’s Alliant programs, Cathy Beasley pulled together a team of contracting professionals who managed two multibillion-dollar procurements.
GSA awarded a $50 billion Alliant contract in July and a $15 billion companion contract, Alliant Small Business, in December.
David Drabkin, GSA’s deputy chief acquisition officer and senior procurement executive, credits Beasley for creating the agency’s first virtual contracting team. Team members in Kansas City, Mo.; Fort Worth, Texas; and San Diego used videoconferencing, e-mail and the Web to collaborate.
Beasley’s virtual team approach enabled GSA “to keep the amount of travel down and still produce an excellent work product,” Drabkin said.
Shelly Bird, Microsoft Consulting Services’ chief architect, did more than provide technical leadership for a governmentwide Federal Desktop Core Configuration for Windows XP and Vista. Bird provided a reality check for federal and industry officials involved in that security project.
“Shelly provided some rationality on the ground,” said Tim Grance, manager of the systems and network security group at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. “She was able to take policy concepts and settings and tell us what the operational impact on the system would be,” Grance said. Bird sorted out the necessary from the “nice to do.”
Mark Blevins, senior vice president at Perot Systems, did what vendors are supposed to do but often don’t accomplish: He took time to understand and meet his federal customer’s needs.
He led the development of a strategy for EDUCATE — the Education Department Utility for Communications, Application and Technology Environment — in which the department’s technology infrastructure is fully owned and operated by contractors.
“He’s been able to build some connections where sometimes federal agencies, when left to their own devices, just take what’s already running and keep it going,” said Ross Santy, deputy assistant secretary of the office of planning and evaluation at Education.
As contracting officer for Networx Universal, Jack Braun handled one of the General Services Administration’s most complex procurement programs in recent memory.
Networx Universal, successor to FTS 2001, is the primary contract vehicle for agencies seeking to purchase telecommunications and network services. In shepherding the contract, Braun took on requirements “every bit as complex as the most high-tech weapons system that DOD buys,” said David Drabkin, GSA’s deputy chief acquisition officer and senior procurement executive.
During the procurement process, Braun worked with the requirements community, contract program managers and legal staff members to clear obstacles and keep the contract moving, Drabkin said. He also ensured that GSA created a contract that can adapt to an evolving market.
Gregory Brewer, a senior security consultant for SecureInfo, made life easier for defense security experts needing to certify their systems.
He set out to streamline the process of certifying and accrediting the U.S. Pacific Air Forces’ information systems to comply with cybersecurity standards. Then he turned PACAF’s methodology into a model for all the military services.
“We are receiving calls from all the major commands to cross-feed information,” said Clyde Cummings, PACAF’s deputy chief of information assurance.
The amount of time needed to certify PACAF systems decreased by 40 percent. Cummings credits Brewer for succeeding where previous attempts had failed. “It’s his personal drive and initiative more than anything,” Cummings said.
Last year’s postal-rate increase was more of an issue for Frances Byrd than for most people.
Byrd, a sales and marketing program manager at the U.S. Postal Service, had to ensure that the agency’s systems could support the change.
But that was only one milestone project in a very busy year. She also oversaw a mail verification program designed to reduce fraud and mail reclassifications for PostalOne, a Web-based service for business mailers.
Byrd managed scores of in-house and contract information technology professionals who “rewrote a ton of code” that could be installed only after midnight and on weekends, said Robert Chen, a program manager at Nortel Government Solutions. “She’s always there with the IT folks,” Chen said. “People can manage a program technically, but to do that and get along with everybody and motivate everybody and to make sure they do a good job, that is something else.”
Joseph Campbell, acting director of the Office of Personnel Management’s Human Resources Line of Business (HR LOB) initiative, brought just the right mix of leadership and subject-matter expertise to rally support for OMB’s vision of modernized human resources operations.
Campbell, a 30-year veteran of federal service, established a collaborative approach to the governmentwide HR LOB initiative by forming a multiagency executive strategy committee and an HR LOB group comprising senior-level officials from 24 agencies.
Campbell’s leadership on HR LOB fostered “a true sense of cooperation,” said Robert Baratta, director of the human resources information service at the Veterans Affairs Department’s Office of Human Resources Management. He brought “a rare combination of knowledge, experience and common sense to what could easily [have been] a runaway activity with no clear picture of the final or end state,” Baratta said.
Kevin Campbell, a radio telecommunications specialist for Pennsylvania’s Emergency Management Agency (PEMA), was a driving force behind the transformation of an outdated satellite warning system and rapid notification network.
The initial modernization plan simply called for installing new satellite terminals, but Campbell saw an opportunity to create a unified emergency communications network.
His ability to communicate his message to a variety of stakeholders helped make it happen, said Frank Weges, information technology liaison to PEMA for the Governor’s Office of Administration.
“When you include a diverse spectrum of users, a person has to be able to communicate in technical and nontechnical terms,” he said.
Robert Carey, chief information officer at the Navy Department, has been a pioneer in moving the service to the Web 2.0 world and a governmentwide leader as co-chairman of the CIO Council’s Best Practices Committee.
Carey has the unique ability to anticipate what the large issues will be well before they develop, said David Wennergren, the Defense Department’s deputy CIO.
A tour in Iraq gave Carey real-world experience on the battlefield and positioned him to drive technology innovations, Wennergren said.
Carey “brings an incredible range of experience to the job, having formerly been an acquisition person, an e-leader and a champion for smart card work,” Wennergren said. “That experience in theater has given him a perspective of what really works and what doesn’t.”
Cecilia Coates, the State Department’s acting director of program management and policy, brought a level of efficiency and reliability to the department’s global supply operations that it previously lacked.
Coates had to overcome significant cultural and budgetary restraints to replace the department’s paper-based logistics practices.
“There were enormous challenges in development, deployment and change management, but Ceci persevered,” said Frank Coulter, executive assistant to the undersecretary for management, who worked closely with Coates for five years.
“Thanks to her vision and leadership, what was once opaque is now clear,” Coulter said. “We can track actions and the movement of materials throughout our global supply chain, and we now have information and tools to effect even greater improvements.”
Paul Cofoni’s name is not synonymous with CACI the way Jack London’s was. But since being named chief executive officer in July 2007 after London stepped down, Cofoni ensured a smooth transition for CACI’s customers and a continued growth path for the company.
That’s no small feat considering the government market’s budget challenges. CACI’s revenue climbed 19.8 percent to a record $1.13 billion in the first half of the company’s 2008 fiscal year, which ends June 30.
Cofoni joined CACI in 2005 as president of U.S. operations.
“He’s been very effective with CACI,” said Stan Soloway, president and CEO of the Professional Services Council. “He’s been a very thoughtful and committed leader.”
Colleen Coggins understands the value of enterprise architecture and enjoys helping others understand its value. As chief architect at the Interior Department, she developed Interior’s information technology architecture plan, which is recognized as one of the best in the federal government.
Coggins’ secret is a methodology for business transformation, a set of guidelines that she created and followed to manage Interior’s transition to an architecture-based infrastructure. Others agencies, including the Treasury Department, now use those guidelines.
“The methodology is recognized throughout the federal government and by other countries’ governments as a best practice,” said Richard Burk, former chief architect at the Office of Management and Budget. “She was always one of the architects I looked to for ideas and leadership.”
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), ranking member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, sponsored the Accountability in Government Contracting Act of 2007, which would increase competition in federal contracting, make the process more transparent and reduce waste, fraud and abuse.
Its provisions would impose further restrictions to curb the unnecessary use of no-bid contracts, make procurement information publicly available, encourage more rigorous competition for federal contracts and promote accountability by more closely linking payments to performance.
Stuart Bowen Jr., special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, testified before the committee that “Senator Collins’ bill will save taxpayer dollars…and address very directly the problems that [we] have been experiencing [with] contracting in Iraq.”
Frank Constantino, a senior computer scientist at the FBI, put three decades of experience to good use this past year.
Constantino, who is responsible for developing the FBI’s enterprise architecture, helped the bureau overcome numerous technical and institutional obstacles that were making it difficult to develop a state-of-the-art case management system known as Sentinel. He was able to get Sentinel back on track partly because of his in-depth knowledge of the agency and its systems.
Constantino’s dedication to the FBI and his knowledge of the agency’s information systems makes him invaluable, said Carlo Lucchesi, acting program management executive in the bureau’s Office of IT Policy and Planning.
Guy Copeland, vice president of information infrastructure advisory programs at Computer Sciences Corp., had an urgent message about cybersecurity to deliver in 2007.
Working with the Partnership for Critical Infrastructure Security, a public/private organization dedicated to securing infrastructure, Copeland helped establish and lead a cross-industry cybersecurity working group to hammer home the importance of securing information systems.
Copeland is a leader in “sensitizing industry sectors to the need to pay attention to this and put resources to fixing the problem, because we’re all at risk and we’re only as secure as the weakest link,” said Gregory Garcia, the Homeland Security Department’s assistant secretary for cybersecurity and communications.
Lt. Gen. Charles Croom, director of the Defense Information Systems Agency, has led the agency through the first steps of a business transformation by championing an ABC philosophy of acquisition: Adopt, Build, Create.
Croom’s adopt-first strategy can be seen in the Net-Enabled Command Capability (NECC) program to acquire a net-centric command-and-control system. Rather than build a new system from scratch, DISA issued a call for existing solutions and received more than 130 responses, from which officials selected components for NECC.
“Just think about that,” said John Garing, DISA’s chief information officer and director of strategic planning and information. “There was no [research and development] for us in that program because somebody [had] already done it.”
The Industry Advisory Council likes to help cultivate the next generation of federal information technology sector leaders through its Voyagers Program, which is why Patrice D’Eramo was such a good fit.
D’Eramo, industry vice chairwoman of Voyagers, takes the idea of mentoring very seriously.
The program was already considered successful, but she made it even better in 2007.
“Our challenge each year is to make the program even better,” said Darren Ash, chief information officer at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission who served as government chairman of Voyagers.
D’Eramo, director of U.S. federal marketing at Cisco Systems, was instrumental in strengthening Voyagers’ mentor/protégé activity.
Many people in government and industry are glad that Robert Dix left his job as a congressional staffer three years ago to become vice president of governmental affairs at Juniper Networks.
Congress may have lost a well-respected staffer, but Dix has emerged as a liaison of sorts between Congress and industry when it comes to security issues.
In 2007, Dix was instrumental in getting the private-sector critical infrastructure community involved in a large, congressionally mandated national counterterrorism exercise named TopOff 4, which tested the ability of key government agencies to respond to a critical infrastructure attack.
“Bob Dix is a patriot who believes deeply in the critical role that our critical infrastructure plays,” said Guy Copeland, vice president of information infrastructure advisory programs and special assistant to the chief executive officer at Computer Sciences Corp.
Martha Dorris, deputy associate administrator of the General Services Administration’s Office of Citizen Services and Communications, shows no sign of resting on her laurels when it comes to championing USA.gov, the government’s Web portal, even as its audience continues to grow.
Since January 2007, when GSA dropped the hard-to-remember name FirstGov.gov and renamed it USA.gov, the number of visitors to the site has increased 66 percent, and traffic volume on the site increased from 133 million in 2006 to 220 million in 2007.
However, that success hasn’t slowed Dorris, said Ed Blakely, associate administrator for the Office of Citizen Services and Communications.
“She always carries a stack of USA.gov bumper stickers,” Blakely said. “There’s not a car parked at GSA that’s safe.”
Col. Monte Dunard, director of the Marine Corps’ Center for Lessons Learned, led an effort that officials say is changing the way the Defense Department shares critical information via DOD’s Global Information Grid.
The Joint Lessons Learned Information System resembles a structured blog that allows warfighters worldwide to look up critical lessons-learned information from DOD and other government agencies and coalition partners.
Dunard “had a definite vision for this and pushed the tool out there,” said Robert Carey, the Navy’s chief information officer. “He persisted and led the charge at a time when many were asking why we were bothering to spend money on something like this.”
Dunard’s system is quickly replacing older lessons- learned information systems that are less comprehensive.
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