For your reading pleasure

Steve LeSueur

Readers have a lot to choose from in this issue. For our annual e-gov report, Staff Writer Gail Repsher Emery takes a close look at the Integrated Acquisition Environment, an amalgam of 17 programs and systems that will streamline the acquisition process. Savvy contractors will quickly understand how some of these new tools can give them a competitive edge.

On the front page, Staff Writer William Welsh takes us through the rise and fall of the MyFlorida Alliance outsourcing deal -- so far. This story isn't over yet. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement has opened an investigation into possible illegal communications between the state's IT department and BearingPoint Inc., one of the winning contractors.

Our other front-page story describes an industry effort to build compatible systems, largely the result of a Defense Department push. Pentagon officials delivered essentially this message to its contractors: Agree to standards, or we won't hire you.

Still, it took companies such as Boeing Co., Lockheed Martin Corp. and General Dynamics Corp. a year of negotiating to establish a consortium that can begin working on standards for how military systems communicate. Staff Writer Brad Grimes explores how this consortium came together and what it means. One thing is clear: Cooperation doesn't mean an end to fierce competition.

Although we like to think every issue is jammed with news and information, we realize this one is special. Enjoy.

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