HISTORY OF ACT
The federal government’s investment in information technology began when the first general purpose computer was delivered to the Bureau of the Census in 1951. By 1960, there were exactly 524 computers in the government’s inventory – only 70 of which were in the Washington, DC area. In 1965, Congress enacted P.L. 89-306 (the Brooks Act) to govern the acquisition and management of this new technology. By 1975, the government had 8,600 computers, employed 100,000 workers and spent $3 billion annually on IT. The government owned 5 percent of all the computers in the entire country.
Most of the computers were at regional offices and on military bases outside the Washington, DC area. The responsibility for acquiring and managing these computers fell primarily on the shoulders of government executives in the field. Although the Brooks Act put in place a regulatory regime to control government IT investments (e.g. agencies had to get permission from the General Services Administration before buying a piece of computer equipment), there was little in the way of best practices or policy guidance to help government IT managers.
The regional managers who had most of the government’s computers formed local ADP (automated data processing) councils where they could share information and collaborate. In 1978, 8 of the 13 ADP councils in the US met in Atlanta and signed an agreement to create the Federation of Government Information Processing Councils (FGIPC). FGIPC was created as a 501(c)3 non-profit educational organization to provide a national forum where government executives could exchange information and collaborate on IT issues. The creation of this national organization was supported by officials from the Office of Management and Budget and General Services Administration.
Until 2007, ACT represented the United States to the International Council for Information Technology in Government Administration (ICA) -- an organization composed of the national governments from over twenty-five democratic nations.
- In 1981 the first annual Management of Change conference was held in Gaithersburg, Maryland.
In 1989 the FGIPC Board of Directors created the Industry Advisory Council (IAC) to bring the private sector IT industry into the collaborative forum.
In 1991 the first Executive Leadership Conference was held in Charlottesville, Virginia.
In 1997 the FGIPC Board of Directors created the Intergovernmental Advisory Board to provide intergovernmental advice and assistance.
In 2004 FGIPC changed its name to the American Council for Technology.
In 2007 the General Services Administration assumed the role of U.S. delegate to ICA.
In 2009 ACT celebrated its 30th anniversary while IAC celebrated its 20th.
In 2011, the Federal government spent over $79 billion annually on general purpose information technology while state and local governments spend almost $50 billion annually. More importantly, almost every government program at every level of government depends upon the effective and efficient use of IT resources. Today, more than ever, government and industry need to collaborate to ensure that citizens are getting the best possible public services. ACT-IAC provides a unique forum where that collaboration takes place.