Our 2011 list of the leading technology executives in federal, state, and local government.
Government agencies are a step behind the private sector in their technology adoption -- federal CIO Vivek Kundra calls it the "tech gap" in government -- and they have a habit of taking on big, complex IT projects that too often fail. But that's changing, as IT leaders in federal, state, and local government take advantage of new technologies such as cloud computing and seek efficiencies and improved performance through more rigorous project oversight.
InformationWeek's Government CIO 50 are leading this trend. Some manage vast IT resources, while others have far-reaching policy influence or are behind-the-scenes players. The common thread is that they're driving innovation and giving their agencies the tools they need to better serve the public.
New York City
New York City's CIO got a quick start when she came on board in January 2010. Carole Post immediately conducted a review of the city's IT operations, followed by aggressive plans to consolidate its data centers, lower costs by $100 million over five years, reduce energy consumption, and improve IT service quality.
By mid-2010, Post's project list had grown to include upgrading the city's network and establishing a mobile application platform. In October, Post and Mayor Michael Bloomberg laid out the city's IT strategy more broadly, giving the CIO increased power and signing a deal with Microsoft that will gradually move New York to cloud services. In support of open government, Post has advocated for making city data sets public and for the NYC BigApps 2.0 development competition, which encourages people to create Web and mobile apps using the city's data.
Before becoming CIO, Post was director of agency services in the mayor's office, where she oversaw the performance of city agencies and led the development of a performance-reporting system and a stimulus-tracking tool.
Office Of Management And Budget
Federal CIO Vivek Kundra's focus this year is on execution. He's eliminating hundreds of federal data centers, taking major steps to increase federal IT performance and accountability, and has launched a 25-point plan to reform federal IT.
The White House
Federal CTO Aneesh Chopra has had a keen focus on the open government initiative, federal healthcare IT efforts, and driving development of ExpertNet, a wiki that will let private sector experts weigh in on public policy.
Office Of Management And Budget
Jeffrey Zients, OMB's deputy director for management, has brought increased focus to IT project management, urging agencies to "crowdsource" for new ideas and pausing financial system modernizations to review them.
Defense Intelligence Agency
As CIO and deputy director for information management at the Defense Intelligence Agency, Grant Schneider oversees operational IT and IT policy for the military intelligence agency.
DIA recently ordered 12,000 new computers as part of a multiyear client virtualization effort that will let computers access multiple classified networks, rather than requiring users to have one computer per network. Along the way, Schneider has improved security and manageability and cut costs. The agency is moving forward with a Web-based working environment that will let intelligence analysts choose which applications they use, much like Apple's App Store. DIA also plays a role in the intelligence community's identity and access management effort and in its Intelligence Community Data Layer, a project designed to make intelligence databases more interoperable.
DIA's IT organization, previously decentralized, has reorganized around a global model in anticipation of offering enterprise-wide services like email, virtualized clients, and search. Before becoming CIO, Schneider was chief of the agency's enterprise IT operations group, where he helped centralize IT management.
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Adrian Gardner has been the top IT executive at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center for about a year, but he's no stranger to federal IT. Gardner was formerly CIO at the National Weather Service, and served in senior IT positions at the Department of Energy.
That background helped Gardner quickly get involved at Goddard, with initiatives in cloud computing, high-performance computing, and government transparency. One of Gardner's most visible projects is the deployment of cloud computing in a containeran instance of NASA's Nebula cloud platform, originally developed at Ames Research Center, that's being rolled into Goddard in a shipping container.
Gardner has been focused on managing the risk of the IT aspects of the space shuttle program, but that role will diminish as the shuttle program winds down. He's also working on cybersecurity projects like single sign-on and developing a 1,000-day IT strategic plan.
Stephen Fletcher has demonstrated a commitment to innovation as CIO of Utah, where he's tapped into cloud computing, consolidated infrastructure, and pursued shared services even across state lines.
Utah has virtualized more than 80% of its servers and consolidated 35 data centers into two, along the way improving the performance of many regular IT functions and saving the state millions in operational and capital costs. Private cloud computing has been a key part of the consolidation strategy.
Fletcher has been a proponent of social media and open government, including a new public notice website. The state also deployed a VoIP upgrade and a redundant gigabit Internet connection. Plans for 2011 include a new desktop strategy, deployment of unified communications, and hosted email.
In 2010, Fletcher completed his terms as president of the National Association of State CIOs and as a liaison to the Federal CIO Council. Before becoming Utah's CIO, he was CIO of the U.S. Department of Education.