BoingBoing, the self-proclaimed â€œdirectory of wonderful things,â€ points out an interesting exchange in a State Department town hall meeting Sec. Hillary Clinton and Undersecretary for Management Patrick Kennedy held Friday. Here is what BoingBoing quoted from the meetingâ€™s transcript:
MS. GREENBERG: Okay. Our next question comes from Jim Finkle:
Can you please let the staff use an alternative web browser called Firefox? I just – (applause) – I just moved to the State Department from the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency and was surprised that State doesn’t use this browser. It was approved for the entire intelligence community, so I don’t understand why State can’t use it. It’s a much safer program. Thank you. (Applause.)
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, apparently, there’s a lot of support for this suggestion. (Laughter.) I don’t know the answer. Pat, do you know the answer? (Laughter.)
UNDER SECRETARY KENNEDY: The answer is at the moment, it’s an expense question. We can –
QUESTION: It’s free. (Laughter.)
While today’s BoingBoing post ends there, we here at FedLine wanted to bring you the next line in the conversation– Kennedyâ€™s explanation of what he meant by â€œitâ€™s an expense question.â€
From the transcript posted on the State Departmentâ€™s Web site:
UNDER SECRETARY KENNEDY: Nothing is free. (Laughter.) Itâ€™s a question of the resources to manage multiple systems. It is something weâ€™re looking at. And thanks to the Secretary, there is a significant increase in the 2010 budget request thatâ€™s pending for what is called the Capital Investment Fund, by which we fund our information technology operations. With the Secretaryâ€™s continuing pushing, weâ€™re hoping to get that increase in the Capital Investment Fund. And with those additional resources, we will be able to add multiple programs to it.
Yes, youâ€™re correct; itâ€™s free, but it has to be administered, the patches have to be loaded. It may seem small, but when youâ€™re running a worldwide operation and trying to push, as the Secretary rightly said, out FOBs and other devices, youâ€™re caught in the terrible bind of triage of trying to get the most out that you can, but knowing you canâ€™t do everything at once.
What say you, dear readers, of Kennedy’s points about cost, budget and management?