Bush says he would appoint governmentwide CIO

Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush Friday laid out his plan for improving the government through the use of the Internet and announced he would appoint a federal chief information officer to accelerate the development of an "e-government."

Just days after Democratic rival Vice President Al Gore unveiled his digital government plan, Bush vowed to make the government more accessible to citizens through the Internet and to get all government services online. Congress already has passed legislation requiring the entire government get online by 2003.

"Credit must go to this administration for applying Internet technology to government departments and agencies," Bush said in a speech on Friday. "But on this front, they lag far behind their counterparts in the private sector. I will expand the use of the Internet to empower citizens, allowing them to request customized information from Washington when they need it, not just when Washington wants to give it to them."

Bush set a goal of moving all significant government procurement online within three years and proposed a $100 million fund to support interagency e-government initiatives that a chief information officer would coordinate. Currently individual agency and department CIOs meet regularly to discuss issues, but there is no one federal coordinator.

Bush spokesman Ray Sullivan said that a governmentwide CIO would accelerate the creation of an efficient e-government.

"Most people would agree the current system needs leadership and coordination and that is what the person would provide," said Sullivan.

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