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DoD and TSA Discuss the Importance of Leadership in a Time of Increased Change - December 12, 2008

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(PRNewsChannel) / Harrisburg, Pa. / TSA and DoD executives discussed Monday the importance of managing change and how it impacts the success of an organization during the opening Keynote address at the Government Technology Research Alliance (GTRA) Symposium.  Kevin Lawson, Branch Chief, Application Development Branch, Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and Susan Alexander, Chief Technology Officer, Information Assurance, Department of Defense discussed new initiatives and best practices among an audience of executive-level government and industry peers.  

With new technologies, a younger workforce, and a major turnover in our country’s administration, the undeniable change affects government IT executives, the difference between successful and unsuccessful leaders, according to Kevin Lawson, rests in how change is dealt with.  Lawson, who oversees all change management initiatives at TSA and is responsible for driving the integration of web 2.0 and other new technologies into TSA’s intranet, told the audience to “keep it simple, get the right people involved, communicate to get the word out and stay focused.  The biggest barrier is taking the risk; you must take the first step.”

Thought leaders in both government and industry are embracing new technologies like Web 2.0 as business enablers, and are using next generation technologies to transform the government. TSA has been running a wiki for employee input since last April, and getting plenty of participation. In a recent interview, Kip Hawley, the Administrator of TSA noted that there are 6,000 people on the wiki at any one time out of a workforce of 43,000.

Susan D. Alexander shared insights on organizational change and how changes in our self-perceptions and the perceptions of the outside world are also powerful forces.  “We must change how we see ourselves within our organizations,” Alexander explained, “Asking the right questions to get the right people to give you the answers you are looking for is key.”

“With the national cyber leap year, we must be innovative thinkers” said Alexander, as she discussed the National Cyber Leap Year Initiative, which calls for “leap-ahead research and technologies to reduce vulnerabilities to attacks in cyberspace”.  The initiative focuses on changing the cyber landscape to take the advantage away from cyber-terrorists and give it back to the citizen- yet another example of how change can impact our world.

About GTRA: GTRA brings together executive-level government technology Security, Enterprise Architecture, Green IT and Health IT leaders to collaborate, strategize and create innovative solutions.  The semi-annual GTRA Symposiums address the topics identified through research with the government Council members and industry experts. By sharing best practices and lessons learned, knowledge is exchanged in a peer-to-peer forum, resulting in actionable government-wide strategic plans and cutting-edge solutions.  Through a unique collaborative methodology, GTRA is revolutionizing the way government does business.

Amanda Vlastas, GTRA

Phone: (415) 819 3828

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