When federal CIO Steven VanRoekel was called to testify on Capitol Hill in January about cutting wasteful government IT spending, it was clear that Congressman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., was looking to shake up more than spending practices.
Issa, who chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, was pursuing broader legislation aimed at centralizing how IT is managed and procured within federal agencies. "As much as $20 billion of taxpayer money is wasted each year," Issa said, citing the example of a now-killed Air Force logistics system that hit a brick wall because of onerous design requirements and a complex procurement process, after swallowing up $1 billion in IT spending.
Issa took aim at redundancies in Uncle Sam's IT systems and support, reflected in part by the fact that, by his count, 243 individuals have the title of CIO across the federal government. He calculated that the government could save 10 times what it wastes -- $200 billion a year -- if the money were better spent.
In the face of such intense pressure, examples of cost efficiency and innovation still abound in government IT, at the federal, state and local levels. They're qualities that define the Government CIO 25, our choices for the most influential and accomplished IT leaders in the U.S.
They range from Washington, D.C., where fed CIO VanRoekel and fed CTO Todd Park set the direction for government-wide IT strategy and investment, to Boston, Chicago and New York, where municipal CIOs are confronting similar challenges with aggressive policies of their own.
Two of the CIOs on our list -- Teri Takai at the Department of Defense and Al Tarasiuk at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence -- have introduced far-reaching enterprise IT strategies at the Pentagon and U.S. Intelligence Community, respectively. Robert Brese, who took over last year as CIO at the Department of Energy, oversees IT policy and planning for approximately two dozen national laboratories and technology centers.
Jerome Pender, CIO of the FBI, and Richard Holgate, CIO of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, play a behind-the-scenes role in the performance of the White House's national gun control initiative. Their agencies operate the computer systems and networks used by law enforcement for background checks and firearms tracing.
Our movers and shakers list is only half as long as it was the last time we did such research, in 2011. We scaled the list down from 50 CIOs in 2011 to 25 this year to make it more exclusive, though that made the selection process twice as onerous. Nine of the Government CIO 25 -- including Air Force CIO Lt. Gen. Michael Basla, Justice CIO Luke McCormack and CIA CIO Jeanne Tisinger -- appear on our list for the first time.