Doing Business With Treasury Department

General info: Treasury Department<@VM>The CIO file: Ira Hobbs

Evamarie's notebook

Treasury must really want you to approach it with your business ideas and solutions, because it offers a comprehensive, step-by-step guide that begins with a simple click on "Doing Business With the Treasury" on its home page. Here you will find an online guide that takes you through the whole process. Although it's listed under the heading of the Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization, the information and advice applies to all companies, large and small, wanting to work with Treasury. If you've never worked with this agency before, start your research here. There is a list of forecasted opportunities for 2005
(, and Treasury also lists contracting deals on

This is a tough agency to wrap your mind around. That's not a criticism, just an observation. Given the huge mission of the Treasury, it's not an easy agency to explain in a paragraph. If you want to know more about Treasury, by all means visit its Web site ( I found it tremendously helpful in understanding this multifaceted agency.

What I did learn: Treasury itself comprises two components: departmental offices and operating bureaus. The eight departmental offices oversee policy and agency management, while the operating bureaus perform specific operations assigned to the agency. The bureaus make up about 98 percent of the Treasury work force. The departmental offices are divisions led by assistant secretaries who generally report to the Treasury secretary and deputy secretary. Several of them also report to the Under Secretary for International Affairs, the Under Secretary for Domestic Finance, or the Under Secretary for Enforcement. Most of these divisions are in Washington.

Now some quick trivia: Pull out any bill in your wallet and check the two signatures. Those people are the Treasurer and Treasury Secretary of the year that bill was printed.

Treasury Department

1500 Pennsylvania Ave. NW

Washington, D.C., 20220


Founded: 1789

Secretary: John Snow


What it does: The Treasury is the primary federal agency responsible for U.S. economic and financial prosperity and security. It is an adviser to the president on economic and financial issues and promotes his growth agenda.

Among the Treasury Department's basic duties are managing federal finances, collecting taxes and monies due to the United States, paying the country's bills, managing government accounts and debt, and producing postage stamps, currency and coinage.

Internationally, the Treasury Department works with other federal agencies, other nation's governments and international financial institutions on economic growth, standards of living and forecasting economic and financial crises.

Major subagencies: Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau; Bureau of Engraving and Printing; Bureau of Public Debt; Financial Crimes Enforcement Network; Financial Management Service; Internal Revenue Service; Office of the Comptroller of the Currency; Office of Thrift Supervision; and U.S. Mint

Number crunching:

2005 Senate-approved budget:

$11.3 billion

2004 budget:

$11.4 billion

Ira Hobbs

Henrik G. de Gyor

Full title: Chief information officer

Took the job: June 14

Hometown: Tallahassee, Fla.

Home now: Mitchellville, Md.

Family: Wife, Deborah; son, Ira Lynn Hobbs II

Hobbies: Golf

Last book read: "The Price of Loyalty: George W. Bush, the White House and the Education of Paul O'Neill," by Ron Suskind

Alma mater: Bachelor of arts degree in political science and economics from Florida A&M University, master's degree in public administration and information technology from Florida State University

WT: What do you look forward to as the new Treasury CIO?

Hobbs: The opportunity to build something myself. Up to now, I believe I have demonstrated a capacity to assist others in crafting the vision. Now, can I become the visionary?

WT: What is different here than at Agriculture?

Hobbs: The jobs are very consistent in terms of the types of functions and the kinds of issues you are dealing with. Both organizations have a great deal of history. They are very essential and woven into the fabric of America; the Treasury Department being one of the first original cabinet positions, the Agriculture Department being the people's department. They both have rich history and heritage.

WT: After seven years as the acting CIO at Agriculture and now this job, what have you learned about being a CIO?

Hobbs: It's changing and evolving. It was originally about technology for technology's sake. For so long, we were just the people beneath the stairs, in the back room. Now, because of the infusion and pervasiveness of information technology, it's driving the direction of change and transformation in terms of how business is delivered. We now exist as a very formidable weapon of choice in the arsenal of management.

WT: What is your biggest challenge in this new job? What are your biggest technology concerns?

Hobbs: My biggest challenges don't necessarily deal with technology. It's hard to buy a bad computer. Ten years ago, anyone going to buy a computer took a friend along, because the technology itself was so scary and risky, you wanted to be sure you didn't make a mistake. Today you can send your children to the store to buy a computer, because the technology is so consistent, so repeatable, so accurate in its delivery. The technology isn't the challenge.

What I find is the challenge is the age-old thing we deal with across management: How do you get a group of people aligned in such a way that they can buy into a direction, a vision of where you're trying to go, and then you move that group. That is the business we're in today. Technology is becoming a smaller and smaller piece of that, simply because the technology is so good.

As far as technological directions, it really is about how do we make sure information gets to where it needs to be, when it needs to be there. That involves our telecommunications infrastructure, its protection and security to make sure that whoever gets the information is the person that it was intended for [and] that we reduce the things that lead to nefarious activities across our network.

Those are the technological things at the top of my list. So what I've given you are cybersecurity, telecommunications and enterprise management.

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