2006: The year of using your head

Nick Wakeman

I've spent most of my career in journalism writing about one part of the government or another. My first job was covering local police and courts in Virginia. From there, I moved on to the county board of supervisors and the city council. Before landing at Washington Technology, I also wrote about the Food and Drug Administration and a couple other federal regulatory agencies.

After nearly 20 years of writing about government activities, I've come to believe that despite the jokes, stereotypes and occasional scandals, the vast majority of career government workers are honest, hardworking and talented. They believe that their service to the taxpayer and our country is a sacred trust. I believe them when they say this.

That's why it's frustrating and disappointing to read a story like Alice Lipowicz's article on the Homeland Security Department's troubles with their various information-sharing initiatives.

Battles over turf, culture and who shares what with whom have sapped the energy from information-sharing initiatives. Some groups are walking away in frustration.

Surely, the folks involved with these efforts know that lives potentially are at stake. The right thing to do seems so obvious, but as Lipowicz illuminates in her story, the right thing isn't always the easy thing.

Also in this issue, we look at the growing opportunity for financial and administrative systems in the state and local market. Staff Writer Ethan Butterfield explores the efforts states are making to get the most out of their systems and how integrators are helping them.

2006 should be a busy year for these multimillion-dollar projects that give decision-makers powerful tools for drawing business intelligence from their IT systems. Let's hope the intelligence spreads.

About the Author

Nick Wakeman is the editor-in-chief of Washington Technology. Follow him on Twitter: @nick_wakeman.

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