E-Gov Push Spotlights CIOs Strategy

The federal CIO Council is drafting a strategic plan for the next fiscal year that calls for its committees to move e-government projects forward on a brisk timetable.

The draft plan cuts across government information technology priorities, including federal interaction with the public, system interoperability, computer security and the federal IT work force. Each of the council's committees would be assigned specific tasks and deadlines, sources said.

The plan presents a blueprint for moving forward, in one case calling on the council's E-Government Committee to help link citizens with government. And the plan calls for meeting goals on deadline: One committee objective would involve making government transactions seamless by 2003, with a near-term goal of integrating state and federal information and services within a year.

In another area, the council's Security, Privacy and Critical Infrastructure Committee would be charged with promoting a secure and trusted government IT infrastructure. To do this, the committee would help agencies comply with Web site privacy policies by the end of the year.

Other action items include expanding IT education and training for federal workers by April 2002, holding an intergovernmental conference by the end of 2001, and creating a process to collect and disseminate security information and warnings to agencies.

The council expects to use its goals to create a transition plan for the next administration, sources said. The plan will provide information about the council and its priorities.

Although the draft strategic plan includes some wide-ranging goals, it is considered more specific than the one for fiscal 2000. "It's a natural evolution," said Susan Hinden, a council staffer. "The council is looking at more real goals, real actions - things it can get done."

The council has been tweaking the draft over the summer as it sorts out each committee's role. In some cases, committee responsibilities will overlap. "A lot of these things cross over, so it gets a little complicated with who is responsible for what," Hinden said. There have been no objections to the plan, she said, adding that it has been more a matter of making sure nothing gets left out and that all the initiatives are in the right place.

Marion A. Royal, an agency expert at the U.S. General Services Administration's Office of Governmentwide Policy, said the plan should motivate people to get things done. He is responsible for drafting a business case for the Extensible Markup Language working group under the Enterprise Interoperability and Emerging IT Committee. "Each initiative has to be followed up with an action plan: how to achieve goals and when," Royal said. "It makes project officers and program managers do their homework before they go to a committee with a request."

The CIO Council is conducting a threaded discussion on its secured Web site, and each committee is collecting comments until today on the most recent draft of the plan. The entire council expects to vote on the final product at the group's Sept. 21 meeting. "I think the council is well-postured to drive forth" new uses for IT in government and lay out "what we need to do in the next four years," said Rich Kellett, director of the Emerging IT Policies Division at GSA's Office of Governmentwide Policy.

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