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Many of the consultants, integrators, and vendors that serve the federal government have strong roots in the military. EDS founder Ross Perot, though no longer involved with the company, is a U.S. Naval Academy graduate who once hired a retired Army colonel to rescue employees trapped in Iran. Retired Army Maj. Gen. Robert Nabors heads EDS's homeland-security practice, and Brig. Gen. John Weber and Rear Adm. Mack Gaston, both retired from the military, are key executives.
CACI International Inc.'s CEO Jack London is an Annapolis graduate who spent more than 20 years in the Navy and Naval Reserve as a pilot and commanding officer. He also earned a master's of science degree in operations research at the Naval Postgraduate School.
Booz Allen Hamilton, the management and IT consultancy, boasts some 1,000 former military and intelligence officers on its payroll. Chief among them is VP Michael McConnell, a retired three-star admiral who headed defense intelligence during the Persian Gulf War and directed the super-secret National Security Agency during the Clinton administration. As agency director, McConnell identified information assurance and defense as major strategic issues for an increasingly networked society. Other VPs helping guide the firm's strategic security and homeland defense business are former Naval intelligence officer Rich Wilhelm, who served as former Vice President Al Gore's senior policy adviser on terrorism and intelligence, and Tom Moorman, an ex-vice chief of staff of the U.S. Air Force.
Nabors, a retired U.S. Army general, is the head of EDS's homeland-security practice.
Bringing together government and business executives is good for the nation's welfare, McConnell says. "All of the critical infrastructures we're dependent on are owned and operated by the private sector," he says. "Our moral responsibility is to understand the change and have firms engaged in a public-private partnership to protect their businesses and the citizens of this country."
The credentials of top executives at IT consulting firms aren't limited to the military. For instance, Roger Baker, executive VP of network and telecommunications at CACI International, served as CIO of the Commerce Department during the Clinton administration. Kay Goss, who heads emergency-management initiatives at EDS, is the former associate director at Federal Emergency Management Administration.
The movement of retired military and intelligence officers and government executives to the private sector isn't a one-way street. Office of Management and Budget associate director Mark Forman, named last June to head the administration's E-government initiative, was VP of E-business for Unisys Corp.'s government and global public-sector groups. He also worked at IBM Global Services' public-sector business, and helped create its North American E-government consulting practice. Norman Lorentz, OMB's chief technology officer served two years as senior VP and CTO at the online employment portal Dice Inc., formerly EarthWeb, prior to taking the OMB job in December.