Sept. 11 Changes Focus for Federal IT Managers

The Information Technology Association of America (ITAA) latest annual survey of federal chief information officers finds that government CIOs are less focused this year on the single issue of electronic government and more focused on a confluence of issues surrounding information security and infrastructure.

The Arlington, Va.-based ITAA survey found that the overriding issue facing the CIO community is its efforts to address the broad security concerns raised by the war on terrorism. These efforts fall into four categories: securing the Internet against terrorist acts; providing integration of appropriate data to better fight terrorism; ensuring that Internet information content does not aid the enemy; and ensuring a robust infrastructure with particular emphasis on telecommunications

Beyond security, the federal CIOs said they viewed the priority of e-government with “continued enthusiasm” given the new administrations emphasis on its “quicksilver” initiatives to jump start e-government. The survey identified several enablers critical to e-government, in addition to security and infrastructure, which are information technology workforce; strategic sourcing; CIO leadership and management; and enterprise information technology leadership. CIOs point to these enablers as key to creating e-government programs to serve citizens.

“Our survey interviews this year were heavily influenced by two major catalyst events, the tragic attacks on the U.S. of Sept. 11 and the transition to a new administration in Washington, DC,” said CIO Survey Task Group leader Alvin Pesachowitz, Grant Thornton LLP. “Federal CIOs have focused their priorities on information security, which they view as both critical to defense against terrorism and as a critical foundation-building step in the process to develop viable e-government solutions to serve U.S. citizens.”

The ITAA annual survey, the twelfth in a series designed to focus on key issues faced by the senior information managers in the federal government, was based on candid, in-person interviews with 29 CIOs and information resource managers from civilian and defense agencies, as well as oversight organizations. ITAA members conducted the interviews between September and December using an interview guide.

The ITAA consists of over 500 corporate members throughout the U.S., and a global network of 41 countries’ IT associations.

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