Information Technology in the U.S. Forest Service

An Assessment of Late-Stage Implementation

by Cathy Stasz, Tora K. Bikson, John D. Eveland, Brian Mittman

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A distributed information system implemented by the U.S. Forest Service in 1983 has improved the agency's ability to perform its missions. The system has fundamentally reshaped and conditioned almost all aspects of its work in an atmosphere generally characterized by a high degree of efficiency and goodwill. The agency remains at the leading edge of government and communication and information processing technologies. Both skeptics and enthusiasts now share the same vision of the technology. The Forest Service has internalized computing, not just computers. Late-stage implementation issues have replaced earlier ones. Although the communications system allows a much closer degree of interaction between central management and the field, the essential decentralized nature of the Forest Service has been preserved.

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