Commentary: Bush's IT policies in the air

Without technology policy leadership, the Bush administration will likely respond with only half-measures to economic issues affecting the IT industry.

2 min read
By French Caldwell, Gartner Analyst

The announcement Wednesday that venture capitalist Floyd Kvamme will lead a presidential technology advisory group signals that a single individual in the new administration will likely not ascend to the role of tech czar in the near future.

Absent technology policy leadership,

See news story:
Bush taps VC player for tech post
the new administration of President George W. Bush will likely respond with only half-measures to economic issues affecting the IT industry.

The list of technology issues facing the federal government is growing rapidly. Today, it includes areas such as real-time economic indicators, voting procedures and equipment, international cyberterrorism, individual online privacy rights, international commerce, government technology transformation, public health and safety, consumer privacy, and broadband development and legislation. (Gartner recently unveiled technology policy recommendations for President Bush, copies of which may be downloaded at The Project for Technology and Public Policy on Gartner.com.)

A federal CIO would deal with the internal governmental IT issues of interoperability and a work force crisis that inhibit effective e-government. The creation of the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology and the appointment of Kvamme as co-chairman will likely not fill that function. Pitched as a liaison to the IT industry, the Council will not have the powers that a federal CIO would need to vigorously tackle internal governmental tech issues or external tech-related regulatory issues.

Other factors have also made for a slow start in addressing IT issues. Several technology posts remain unfilled such as the Director of the Office of Science and Technology. Without those appointments, the Bush administration will have a difficult time formulating tech policies for business and government.

In addition, President Bush's proposed budget for fiscal 2002 includes substantial cuts in IT R&D (whereas biomedical research received a big boost in funding). Unless the final budget replaces the money that was cut, the government will have a more difficult time stimulating the technology sector, where a decline in capital spending has led the broader economic slowdown.

(For related commentary on how government agencies are using CRM, see TechRepublic.com--free registration required.)

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