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Now You’ve Done It

Now You’ve Done ItBoy, those guys responsible for the federal data center project have really done it now. Okay, they did fall behind on their schedule to close 40% of the government’s data centers by 2015—things like this happen when two years into your project someone finds 3,000 facilities that nobody knew about. Isn’t this really the type of thing that can happen to anyone? Some bureaucrat checks “missile silo” instead of “data center” on an inventory form, no one cares for a decade or so, and suddenly it’s a big deal. Anyway, as if schedule blips and mislabeled government facilities weren’t making this job tough enough, it looks like there is going to be a new sheriff in town. That’s right boys and girls, what started as just a government initiative is now squarely in the crosshairs of Congress.

I for one applaud the prospect of Congressional oversight since no one has our best interest at heart like these hard working public servants. Now for all of you out there making oblique references to “one man parades…”, isn’t it time to set that cynicism aside and show our support for the finest legislative body that money can buy? Frankly, I’m amazed that they are even willing to take this project on with everything else that they have on their plate. I guess they figure that since the country appears to be on a glide path of 7%+ unemployment, 2.0% GDP growth, and international humiliation that it’s time to turn their attention to more important matters. And not a moment too soon, I might add.

Fortunately, this senate initiated legislation appears to be—can you believe it—bi-partisan. Apparently, the need for this new law (that specifies the target dates for the completion of inventories, drawing and executing consolidation plans, and regularly reporting to oversight bodies for the 24 agencies covered by the now three-year old Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative (FDDCI, pronounced “F-Dixie”) ), was that even though everyone believed this to be a money-saver, no one could determine how much, if any, money has been saved. Personally, I think the fact that both parties found that a money saving program that couldn’t report how much money it saved might be suffering from a bit of mismanagement is a real validation of the reason that we send individuals of this caliber to Washington in the first place. A Mr. Smith goes to Washington moment if there ever was one.

Stricter management and reporting guidelines to 24 different oversight bodies are obviously what this critical effort needs. Originally, the gentleman that the president installed in the newly created position of federal CIO was the only guy in charge of the project, but it must have been too much for him since he left to go to work for Salesforce.com. Wimp. But now under the watchful eye of 24 groups of government technical experts the lackadaisical folks that have besmirched the good name of the F-Dixie initiative will be brought to heel. In earlier days, those responsible for this disgraceful lack of progress on this initiative would have been cashiered immediately. Unfortunately, now they will just have to endure the extended humiliation of lifetime employment and a healthy retirement package. I tell you, these Senate folks are experts in the subtle art of prolonged psychological torture.

I don’t think that I’m alone when I say that my confidence level regarding the successful completion of this project has increased geometrically. When our leaders in Congress put their mind to something there is no telling just what might happen. From data center consolidation to health care, can we really do anything but stand back and marvel?