I received the February 2005 issue of SC Magazine last week. It features a cover story on the Air Force's Chief Information Officer, John Gilligan, and the $500 million contract consolidation effort that will save the AF $100 million over six years. I commented on this last year and earlier this week.
Now I see that Mr. Gilligan has won the SC Magazine US Editors Award. Ostensibly Mr. Gilligan was given this award because he is working to standardize Microsoft software deployed across the Air Force. I would rather have seen him win the award for making a bold, and more correct, decision to implement a phase-out of Microsoft software. Unfortunately, it seems "no one is fired for buying Microsoft."
Incidentally, prior to becoming AF CIO in 2001, Mr. Gilligan served as CIO of the US Department of Energy -- the same DoE that has scored an F for computer security every year grades have been assessed, including 2000.
Contrast Mr. Gilligan's position with that of Richard Clarke, who is reported (also on Slashdot) to have said this about Microsoft at the RSA conference: "Given their record in the security area, I don't know why anybody would buy from them." I reported on a talk Mr. Clarke gave at RAID 2003, where he made very interesting and candid comments.
We have the Air Force barking up the wrong tree with new Microsoft purchases. The Navy and Marine Corps are stuck with a disfunctional NMCI. I guess this leaves the Army to embark on a bold strategy that leaves the broken enterprise desktop computing model behind? Stay tuned.