Space Exploration Can Stoke Economy

Austin, Texas - Former NASA Mission Operations Director Gene Kranz told audience members at Government Technology's GTC Southwest that space exploration should be a priority in the struggling economic climate.

Kranz, who led the ground team that guided the crew of the troubled Apollo 13 home safely in 1970, said he hopes President Barack Obama's administration places as much emphasis on the space program as the U.S. has in the past, and that such programs are necessary to keep America competitive.

"It needs to have something that inspires young people to aspire to engineering and science and mathematics, to pick up the hard subjects and carry them forward, because I think our country needs these kinds of people to remain competitive in the future," he said.

If man is ever going to endeavor farther out into space than the moon, we will have to learn to assemble equipment in space. That, however, isn't likely with the throwaway mentality and lack of a national space plan that currently exists in America, Kranz said.

"We build things and then we don't extract the maximum benefit from each one of these systems." - Emily Montandon

Video: Former NASA Mission Operations Director Gene Kranz discusses the future of space exploration.

Utah CIO Backs California IT Consolidation

Sacramento, Calif. - Utah CIO Steve Fletcher testified in February to a bipartisan oversight agency that's examining a proposed California IT consolidation. Fletcher shared outcomes of Utah's IT consolidation of 38 data centers and 900 IT workers.

"Utah's experience with IT consolidation can be scaled to fit in California," Fletcher said in written testimony. "However, the CIO must be enabled to make important business decisions. One size does not fit all, and the CIO must be able to make decisions for the entire IT enterprise." - Matt Williams

Schwarzenegger's Chief of Staff Wins IT Award

Sacramento, Calif. - Susan Kennedy, chief of staff for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, won the Technology Champion Award at Government Technology's California CIO Academy in February. California CIO Teri Takai said Kennedy was instrumental in making technology a major agenda item for Schwarzenegger. Kennedy played a key role in recruiting Takai from Michigan in 2007. At the award ceremony, Kennedy said she insisting that the state hire Takai after hearing from nearly everyone in the industry that Takai is the best in the business.

Kennedy said she discovered a love for IT while serving on the California Public Utilities Commission (PUC), where she revised antiquated telecommunications regulations. She was named to the PUC in 2003 by recalled California Gov. Gray Davis. Kennedy joined the Schwarzenegger administration in 2005. - Andy Opsahl

Govtech.com Hot List

Here are the 10 most popular stories on Govtech.com from Feb. 3 to March 3, 2009.

1. Macs Appear on More Government Desktops

Macs gain foothold in San Antonio and Washington, D.C.

2. Gartner's Top 10 Information Technology Predictions for 2009

Poor economy will drive growth of server virtualization and cloud computing.

3. Site Reveals Salaries of New York State Employees

Conservative think tank launches Web site with comprehensive state financial data.

4. BearingPoint Declares Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

Operator of TexasOnline state Web portal says operations won't be interrupted.

5.