Fed CIO Part of Bush's Picture for Government

WASHINGTON (06/13/2000) - Gov. George W. Bush has promised to appoint a chief information officer for the federal government if he is elected president.

In a position paper on how he would make government work better, the Republican front-runner said he would issue an executive order designating the Office of Management and Budget's deputy director for management as the federal CIO.

"The federal CIO will be responsible for providing the leadership and coordination needed to realize the vision of a truly digital and citizen-centric government," according to a paper distributed by the Bush campaign.

The federal IT chief would also be responsible for heading the federal CIO Council, coordinating state and federal information technology efforts and leading the development of standards, protocols and privacy protections, the Bush campaign says.

Bush would also create a US$100 million fund to support electronic government initiatives, and the federal CIO would control the fund.

Al Gore, the presumed Democratic nominee for president, has made electronic government a trademark during his tenure as vice president. In a June 5 campaign speech, Gore said he would make government more responsive by putting more government services online. He promised better access through a central government electronic portal and called for better information security online.

Gore has not called for a federal CIO.

Bush's proposal comes amid growing interest in Congress in creating a federal CIO. Rep. Jim Turner, a Democrat from Texas, plans to introduce Legislation in the House of Representatives this week to create a federal CIO. Senate legislation is expected later this year.

In a speech in Philadelphia on June 9, Bush declared that, "In my administration, government will be an ally of the new economy." He pledged to expand Internet use to empower citizens, allowing them to request customized information from Washington when they need it, not just when Washington wants to give it to them.

Bush also promised to cut government costs by buying items through online auctions and through other business-to-business transactions online.

The federal government has been buying items online for several years and recently began to buy items such as military parts via online auctions.

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