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FCW : October 15, 2012
20 October 15, 2012 FCW.COM Identity crisis It s not all optimism, of course. The GAO report spurred discussions about whether today s CIOs are actu- ally doing what the law requires and what authorities they need to most effectively support agency missions amid tougher demands. "If you go line by line, the act has been pretty effective," VanRoekel said. But he acknowledged that there is room for improvement when it comes to ensuring that CIOs have a seat at the table with top of cials. In 2011, the Of ce of Management and Budget issued revised guidance on the role of the agency CIO. Paul Brubaker, who helped write the Clinger- Cohen Act as an aide to then-Sen. William Cohen in 1996, was less than thrilled. The OMB memo amounted to expecting the CIO to be "the chief geek rather than the government modern- ization guru," Brubaker and Mark For- man, the rst administrator of OMB s Of ce of E-Government and IT, wrote in a commentary for FCW in Septem- ber 2011. Brubaker, who is now president of technology rm Silver Lining, was also unimpressed with how some agency CIOs ful ll their roles and said many still struggle to be included in the top management team. "With very few exceptions, the CIO has never been regarded as the departmental or agency key strategic adviser focused on the nexus of tech- nology and agency mission and busi- ness processes as envisioned by the Cohen division of the Clinger-Cohen Act," he said. Bob Woods, president of Topside Consulting Group and a former fed- eral IT of cial, said that implemen- tation hasn t been smooth sailing. Clinger-Cohen gave CIOs legitimacy and relevance but far from enough of either. "You just can t legislate importance into a job," Woods said. "Some of the CIOs are quite effec- tive, but on the whole, it s a bit of a disappointment." "I don t think Clinger-Cohen pro- duced the change we hoped it would," he added. "It might still happen, but the change is still incumbent on the individual. The act meant to give the CIO more clout, but in its worst case, it turned CIOs into bureaucrats, gate- keepers for the paperwork." Many CIOs have abandoned opera- tions and direct mission support and are now content with enterprise archi- tecture documents and the like, he said. "I just don t think that s enough," Woods said. "You don t really get the license to speak in policy terms if you can t run a basic operation. If I can t get a laptop delivered in less than two months, I don t care how good your strategic plan is." But VanRoekel said CIOs possess business acumen and recognize IT as "Part of my job is to help move the needle... from discretionary to strategic." U.S. CIO Steven VanRoekel STATE OF THE CIO ZAID HAMID
October 30, 2012