Following up on our post from yesterday about the decisions of two British retailers to eliminate CIO positions at their companies, we ran across an item on Government Executive.com that relates the U.S. Department of Agriculture's appointment of its CFO to serve double duty as the agency's CIO.
This is a break from tradition for the USDA, which has had a dedicated CIO since at least 2000, notes the blog post. Part of the issue is that there are just 18 months remaining in President Bush's term, which makes it difficult to fill any executive slots at federal agencies.
But the post strikes a pessimistic tone, noting that the message conveyed by the USDA appointment is: "We don't need a full-time CIO because IT doesn't matter."
Such moves mean that government agencies won't employ IT as a strategic tool to improve services, opines blogger Allan Holmes. Making the problem worse: predicted slow growth in federal IT spending over the next two years.
The government's tech track record is spotty, which led the Bush administration to require federal agencies to make a better effort to justify their IT spending.