Tech Champions of 1994
Our Annual Who's Who in Government and Industry
n the year 1994, Michael Jackson married Elvis' daughter, O.J. Simpson fell forever from grace, and technology policy became public domain. Fortunately, Washington Technology's Who's Who in Technology only cares about, well, technology. And so, our cover models this year are three well-established tech personalities, enjoying the spotlight in a nation where pizza can now be ordered digitally.
We're not being flippant. What we're trying to say is that the award, if you will, is worth a little bit more these days, apres Gore. Until now, few outside industry or Washington political circles really cared or even knew about technology, at least publicly.
But new satellite-direct broadcast networks, continuing improvements in personal computers and the astounding growth of the Internet and related online services have changed the landscape. Who would have imagined the "information superhighway" could become such a well-worn mass media clich??
Consummate insider Norman Augustine leads a charmed life as chairman and CEO of Martin Marietta -- to become Lockheed Martin if antitrust regulators bless the union. He's got a knack for being close by to offer advice on technology policy to the government and sits on two influential advisory panels. John Gibbons, President Clinton's science adviser, is pushing the frontiers of technology and industrial policy making. Sen. Ernest "Fritz" Hollings, D-S.C., fought a tough battle to deliver the National Competitiveness bill, also known as S-4. He's also been deeply involved with telecommunications reform legislation designed to foster renewed competition in the construction and delivery of goods on the info highway.
The death of the Communications Act of 1934 energized Congress around a pure technology issue as never before. At stake: the convergence of telephone and cable services and the release of the Baby Bell telephone companies from their regional lockups. Depending on the success of the final communications reform package, telecom customers will hopefully see lower prices and a wider variety of services, including video dialtone, in the near future.
Before Clinton, technology policy was the poor cousin of defense research and development. Now tech is a mantra -- the centerpiece of Clinton's economic development strategy.
Under Jack Gibbons, the Office of Science and Technology Policy has hit stride, after a slow start and plenty of doubt from industry. The last year has seen a raft of new tech initiatives in flat-panel manufacturing, semiconductor research and environmental technologies. Gibbons is clearly making up for lost time in the years tech policy making was verboten.
"We're drinking from a firehose --our space for opportunity is enormous," said Gibbons in a recent interview. Many say he needs a few more drinking buddies, because the office is understaffed and stretched thin. OSTP helped churn out major policy decisions in space transportation, basic research and won another year's lease on the International Space Station. The President's Committee of Advisers on Science and Technology was finally named, with Gibbons and John Young as co-chairs, and will soon start work.
So far, industry's response to White House tech policy is generally favorable, but many are waiting to see if there is real meat on the bones of lofty goals.
"I'm waiting to see if dollars follow," said Jack Gansler, senior vice president of TASC.
Clinton's tech policy is by no means limited to the OSTP. The Department of Commerce and the National Economic Council led the charge to remove controls on high-end computer exports, creating a much sought-after bonanza for U.S. manufacturers.
Procurement reform is moving ahead at the Department of Defense under the tutelage of Secretary William Perry, who continues to push the use of commercial-off-the-shelf products.
Policy-making on the National Information Infrastructure is spread out among almost every federal agency under an umbrella called the Information Infrastructure Task Force, led by Commerce. That gives everyone a say, but creates a confusing melee of views. Which view will make it into a definitive policy statement is still far from clear.
Who's Who on the Hill
Even With No Program, You'll Spot the Hollingses, Glenns, Markeys
IN THE SENATE
It's been a busy year for Sen. Fritz Hollings, D-S.C. As Chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, his main achievement is the Communications Act of 1994, the ambitious overhaul of the nation's telecommunications laws and industry. With a final heave, Hollings should be able to get it through a joint Senate-House conference by the end of the year.
Hollings also found time to win Senate approval of The National Competitiveness Act of 1993, a cornucopia of tech authorizations (including the ATP), as well as legislation allowing the sale of parts of the radio spectrum and legislation intended to foster development of next-generation rail transport.
Sen. John Glenn, D-Ohio, the powerful chairman of the Governmental Affairs Committee, successfully midwifed the Senate's version of the Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act of 1994, intended to completely revamp how the government buys technology and services.
Glenn also found time to craft a legislative compromise that will help the FBI eavesdrop on criminal communications, push for improvements to the FTS-2000 telephone system and modernize the Internal Revenue Service's computer systems.
Sen. John Breaux, D-La., rescued the Baby Bells from being locked up in a local-market prison by fire-breathing lobbyists from the long-distance firms. After a battle with Hollings and others, Breaux won some concessions that will ease the Baby Bells' entry into new markets.
In his last year before retiring, Sen. John Danforth, R-Mo., was the Republican standard-bearer in a rearguard battle to slow President Clinton's multiplying industrial policy initiatives. But he will likely win only limited success as congressional negotiators complete the final round of debate over the almost-complete National Competitiveness Act of 1993. Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., ushered legislation designed to protect defense-related technology spending and to foster transfer of defense technology to commercial applications. But Bingaman can also claim a crucial role in getting Glenn's procurement reform bill off the starting blocks.
It wouldn't be a true Who's Who without stalwart tech firebrand Sen. Barbara "Babs" Mikulski, D-Md. She once again delivered $2 billion in space-station funding from the Senate, effectively ending any real challenges to the troubled program for the year. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash. and Rep. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., were an effective team in forcing concessions from the administration in a dispute over the controversial Clipper chip and laws restricting export of encryption software. In case you didn't know, they represent Microsoft's neck of the planet.
At the House
Rep. Jack Brooks, D-Texas., chairman of the judiciary committee, played a prominent role in the cat fight over the telecommunications reform bill. Brooks also won approval for a bill to ease satellite rebroadcast of television programs, and is working with subcommittee chair Rep. Don Edwards, D-Calif., to win full committee approval for the Edwards digital telephony bills.
Also in the telecom huddle is Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., probably the most knowledgeable lawmaker on the issue. Markey's telecom bill, H.R. 3636, passed the House in June and, once melded with Senate legislation, will give telephone and cable companies the ability to enter each other's businesses. Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., the chairman of the House Government Operations Committee, had a wild ride this year, failing to get a health reform bill out of his committee, but playing a major role in procurement reform. In his role as Chairman of the House Government Operations Committee, he oversees the entire government infrastructure for federal purchases -- including some $30 billion in information technology acquisitions. It takes a lot of hot air to get a rocket off the ground. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., spends much of his efforts supporting single-stage-to-orbit programs, especially McDonnell Douglas' DC-X futuristic rocket. This year he took up a new cause: small inventors. For the past few months Rep. Helen Delich Bentley, R-Md., and Rohrabacher have inveighed against administration efforts to change U.S. patent term limits..
Rep. George Brown, D-Calif., the rumpled chairman of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, gave space-station supporters a scare this year by holding out his support for the project until the last minute. With his long-awaited yea and help from Reps. Bud Cramer, D-Ala., and James Sensenbrenner, R.-Wisc., the station lives on. But his other major public effort, to control the legislative earmarking of research-and-development funds to particular universities and research centers precipitated a still-unresolved crisis when the House voted to halve the Pentagon's university research budgett.
Who's Who in Industry
The Captains of Industry, With St. Augustine in Command
"Influence" should be Norm Augustine's middle name. The Martin Marietta Chairman and CEO has perfected the art of being both corporate leader and high-tech statesman to the government.
He was recently named to the new President's Committee of Advisers on Science and Technology -- a posting that puts him in an excellent position to help steer federal policy. That doubles his clout, since Augustine is also the chairman of the hush-hush President's National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee. Add to that his pending leadership of the new mega-defense company Lockheed Martin, and Augustine's power base appears secure for years to come.
TCI President and CEO John Malone is the baron of the boob tube, and he's probably looking for another mega-merger since the Bell Atlantic deal went bad, or to shoot FCC chairman Reed Hundt -- which ever comes first. Not that he cares much about the D.C. power elite; Malone has the clout and reach to set the business pace on the information highway all by himself.
Failed merger partner Bell Atlantic may be considered a "Baby Bell," but chairman and CEO Raymond Smith certainly flexed more than child-like muscle during the crafting of Senate telecom bill 1822. Under the measure, Baby Bells must wait several years to get into cable television - except those that have already won the right in court to offer video. That provision covers - surprise! - Bell Atlantic, which successfully challenged the Cable Act of 1984 in federal court, and thus alone among the seven Baby Bells enjoys the right to offer a video dial tone in its local loop. And by virtue of its geographic presence, what does every member of the federal government hear when they dial 411? James Earl Jones intoning: "Welcome to Bell Atlantic."
Silicon Graphics Inc. CEO and Chairman Ed McCracken is an avid Clinton supporter and works as co-chair of the President's National Information Infrastructure Advisory Council. Not all of this, of course, is done out of a sense of patriotic duty: McCracken has placed heavy bets on Silicon Graphics hardware as the video server and player technology for the information whatever-you-want-to-call-it.
Bill Gates is...well, Bill Gates, master of the software universe and would-be monopolist. At least that's the position many thought the rejuvenated Department of Justice antitrust division would take against the Microsoft chairman and CEO. But a recent settlement between the two ended a potentially momentous investigation that could have split up Microsoft's business. Instead, Gates gets to continue producing both the operating systems software for the PC industry and the applications that work with them.
Sun Microsystems Inc., the company that singlehandedly created the computer workstation, is beginning to show signs of slower growth. Sun CEO and President Scott McNealy has his work cut out for him since Sun's near-monopoly in supplying the federal spy community with most of its computers -- worth a major chunk of Sun's annual revenues -- is under attack. That challenge comes from Sun's competitors, chiefly Hewlett-Packard and Digital Equipment Corp., which have put pressure on the spy agencies to open up their procurement process to more competition. That has prompted McNealy, who also advises the government on info-tech policy, to step up his visits to the nation's capital.
Oracle Systems Corp. CEO Larry Ellison loves media attention -- and boy, has the Fourth Estate delivered. His claim to the coverage is that he's building a company with the resources and customer base to challenge Microsoft. He's done it by creating the standard database -- the digital plumbing --for managing data in large computer systems. Now Ellison is pitching Oracle's products as the ideal traffic cop for directing data -- videos, telemedicine and the like -- on that information roadway thing. And that means he likes to talk info-tech policy -- and probably deserves his informal role as consultant to the Washington high-tech policy community.
As chairman and CEO of AT&T, the $67 billion titan of the American telecommunications industry, Robert Allen wields considerable power that promises to grow. The nation's largest long-distance company recently received court approval to acquire McCaw Cellular Communications, the nation's largest cellular carrier.
With Justice Department permission in his pocket, Allen needs only the nod from the FCC to finalize the $12 billion deal. AT&T has also pushed hard in Congress to ensure the local telephone exchange becomes as open and competitive as the long-distance exchange before unleashing its former offspring into long distance.
Bert Roberts, the pugnacious chairman and CEO of MCI, runs the nation's second-largest long distance company from its Washington D.C. offices - the only major telco headquartered in the District of Columbia. The home-field advantage may have helped MCI win approval from the Justice Department and FCC to sell a 20 percent stake in the company to British Telecom for $4.3 billion. Regulatory approval also gave MCI the green light to launch Concert, its global telecommunications alliance with BT. MCI, which has ambitious plans to provide local telephone service, lobbied hard in Congress to ease the Bell's monopolistic grip on their markets before allowing them into long distance.
Loral Chairman and CEO Bernard Schwartz is no stranger to Power Town. He sits on the Defense Policy Advisory Committee on Trade, which advises the Secretary of Defense, and also serves on the Defense Science Board Antitrust Task Force -- a group that will set guidelines for DoD evaluations of proposed mergers. Further, Loral's buy of IBM Federal Systems brings Schwartz even more into the local tech scene.
That means some new headaches, including testifying before Congress on the division's troubled contract to provide an automated air traffic control system to the Federal Aviation Administration.
Since Net poster child Tony Rutkowski became executive director of the Internet Society in March, he has been busy trying to deal with the new-found popularity of his business. Formerly with long-distance giant Sprint, Rutkowski's organization provides global coordination and standards for the Internet. Fellow Net nerd and Internet Society President Vinton Cerf is also high profile these days on the rubber-chicken circuit.
At the associations
As ever, the balance of power in D.C. is tipped in favor of those who can get their message across the best. It's been a big lobbying year so far and here are some of the shakers, plus a few of the most prolific senders of press releases!
The Electronics Industries Association, led by glad-handing president Peter McCloskey, used his industry's $340 billion clout to press successfully for acquisition reform, to push, pull and tug the NII in its favored directions and to achieve major progress in dismantling export restrictions.
On the agenda for next year: lower export-control barriers and an assault on taxes and regulations that hinder the industry.
The Business Software Alliance staged a victorious attack on the Clinton administration's Clipper chip policy, forcing the government to accept software-based encryption alternatives.
The Alliance, which includes 14 large software companies, ceded much of the public credit to Rep. Maria Cantwell, who faces an election this November in her home district, also the headquarters of Alliance member Microsoft Corp.
With the sunset of the Export Administration Act and the opening of former Eastern-bloc countries, export reforms are high on the agenda for many lobbying groups. The National Association of Manufacturers' draft export promotion bill was picked up by Rep. Sam Gejdensen.
Who's Who in the Administration
Clinton's Tech Team Gladiators Are Becoming Familiar
To avid tech buffs, many of the Clinton administration's technology gladiators are by now familiar faces. The tech team has held up surprisingly well over the last year, with mainstays like science adviser Jack Gibbons and his deputy Skip Johns busily overseeing a smooth-running, if understaffed, Office of Science and Technology Policy.
In year two, key OSTP staffers are showing their influence. National Information Infrastructure policy wunderkind Mike Nelson has the vice president's ear and easy access to the levers of power. As the debate over the infobahn-to-be picks up steam, Nelson's stature and importance will continue to grow. His often sought-out lieutenant is David Lytel.
Assistant Director for Science M.R.C. Greenwood thrilled academic types by making sure basic science still has a place in the new tech order.
The Space Council may be long gone, but one hearty survivor remains: Rich Dalbello. He's the institutional memory and primary space staffer to Jack Gibbons.
At the National Economic Council, Dorothy Robyn is still the primary point guard for defense reinvestment issues at the White House. From there, she helps oversee the Technology Reinvestment Project. Fellow NEC staffer Tom Kalil is Mr. Fixit for a number of issues, including computer export reforms.
As administrator of the President's Office of Federal Procurement Policy, Steve Kelman played Moses for the government's procurement bureaucrats, working with Congress and the Pentagon to reach the promised land of procurement reform. Unlike Moses, Kelman survived the ordeal, but we'll see over the next few years just how much fruit the reform bears.
The National Performance Review is getting mixed reviews, but Bob Stone is working to keep the NPR bandwagon rolling from his reinventing headquarters at the Old Executive Office Building.
At the Agencies
Commerce Secretary Ron Brown has kept technology issues high-profile, mainly through appearances at NII events and his chairmanship of the Information Infrastructure Task Force -- an organization of committees working on the nuts and bolts of the future info highway. His agency has also crafted pivotal new policies in remote sensing and computer exports.
Undersecretary for Technology Mary Good wins the Who's Who stealth award. She's been behind the scenes working on the National Science and Technology Council and other cross-cutting endeavors. Conversely, National Institute of Standards and Technology chief Arati Prabhakar is ubiquitous -- everywhere the Advanced Technology Program and the NII are discussed.
Assistant Secretary of Defense John Deutch is no longer in the background since moving up the ranks behind Defense Secretary Bill Perry. Lately, though, feeding troops appears to be a higher priority than high-tech weapons -- as evidenced in Deutch's recent memo slating the F-22 fighter and Comanche helicopter for possible cutbacks.
Meanwhile, Larry Lynn, deputy undersecretary of defense for advanced technology, is the man to know if you want your promising widget to get into production at the DoD.
At the semi-secret National Security Agency, Clinton Brooks is the point man for key-escrow encryption technology and the Clipper chip. Working with administration officials to promote the technology, Brooks has repeatedly taken it on the chin from Clipper critics, including David Sobel of the Washington-based Electronic Privacy Information Center.
As reigning chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Reed Hundt was vilified by the cable industry for imposing rate cuts that Bell Atlantic and TCI disingenuously blamed for the collapse of their mega-merger.
But Hundt has won kudos from the telecommunications industry for streamlining rules governing the radio spectrum auctions for personal communications services.
Youthful Larry Irving is a telecom guru to watch. Irving sits comfortably at the top of the administration's information policy-making body -- the National Telecommunications and Information Agency. He's knee-deep in the NII policy debate and chairs the Information Infrastructure Task Force Legislative Drafting Task Force.
Ever-unpopular NASA administrator Dan Goldin has defied all odds with his longevity. In year three of his stewardship at the space agency, the hard-boiled kid from New York engineered the survival of the new International Space Station in Congress and continues to push for "better, cheaper, faster" small space missions.
In the Administration
Department of Energy Secretary Hazel O'Leary is grabbing headlines as she moves to air the agency's dark nuclear secrets. She's also revamping Energy's tech transfer program, dealing with the uncertainty of her labs' missions post-Cold War, and demanding clearer results.
At the Transportation Department, Secretary Federico Pe?a and Rodney Slater, head of the department's Federal Highway Administration, are traveling coast-to-coast stressing the prominent role new technologies will play in improving efficiency on America's roads. Look to Christine Johnson, recently appointed to head a new office for Intelligent Vehicle Highway Systems, to encourage private industry to invest.