More than meets the eye

Steve LeSueur

At first glance, you wouldn't think the Bush administration cares much about e-government. After all, it requested only $20 million in 2002 for its 24 e-gov initiatives, and then it didn't complain much when Congress gave it a paltry $5 million. "We'll make do," has been the White House mantra.

But IT executives want to know: Is that all there is?

The answer, we discovered, is no.

Staff Writer Gail Repsher Emery led Washington Technology's effort to look beyond the 24 initiatives to find the real business opportunities. There's a lot of e-gov work going on, though, as one industry executive pointed out, it's not always called by that name. Many projects, such as the Customs Modernization program, are not exclusively e-government but contain significant portions that improve government's interaction with citizens and business.

And, by the way, the Customs contract awarded to IBM Corp. still includes additional opportunities for other contractors to climb aboard.

Our list of the top 20 projects isn't exhaustive, but it gives an idea of the breadth of e-gov work now in the planning stages, from the Justice Department's $380 million Entry-Exit system to the Postal Service's $400 million Contract Center Contract.

E-Gov czar Mark Forman and the White House still have a long way to go as they push federal agencies toward their goal of seamless government services and efficient back-office operations. More money would help. In the meantime, check out our special package to find out where e-gov money is being spent today.

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