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5/31/2011
01:51 PM
InformationWeek
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50 Most Influential Government CIOs

Check out InformationWeek's Government CIO 50, our power list of top government CIOs--ranging from the NSA's technology chief to innovators at the state and city government level. They've got vision, clout, and sometimes, billion-dollar IT budgets. But most of all, these CIOs are known for delivering tangible, measurable results. Here's an inside look at the government technology leaders and their approaches to unique IT leadership challenges.




There's no one-size-fits-all answer to what makes a top CIO in government, but technology vision, clout among peers in other agencies, and an ability to show tangible, measurable results are qualities common to the Government CIO 50, InformationWeek's second recognition of leading CIOs in federal, state, and local government.

Some of those on the list manage vast IT resources, while others have far-reaching policy influence or are behind-the-scenes players. Government agencies are often a step behind the private sector in their technology adoption but some CIOs have stepped up to the challenge of increasingly stagnant budgets to fight back the bureaucracy, and those among InformationWeek's Government CIO 50 are leading the way.

The past year brought significant changes to the U.S. military's cybersecurity command structure. Gen. Keith Alexander, who's also director of the National Security Agency, came out on top of the pyramid as commander of U.S. Cyber Command, a new organization tasked with defending the Department of Defense's networks from cyber attack.

Alexander took command of Cyber Command in May 2010, and its responsibilities are still being defined. Alexander envisions Cyber Command having both defensive and offensive roles, and he's working with the White House and Homeland Security in tailoring Cyber Command's efforts to the military's needs. At the same time, Alexander advocates an increased DOD role in protecting privately owned critical infrastructure, such as that used by power plants. During 2010, the new command opened its operational center, which is collocated with NSA, and expanded its workforce. DOD and Homeland Security also signed a pact to collaborate on cybersecurity.

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Rosio Alvarez has helped Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory become one of the government's leading adopters of cloud computing. The lab is one of the first government organizations to adopt Google Apps, deploying Gmail, Google Docs, and Google Sites for 5,000 users with anticipated savings of up to $2 million over five years.

Lawrence Berkeley is also tapping into Amazon Web Services' virtualized servers and storage and into software as a service (for human resources), and it's building a private computing cloud, called Magellan, in conjunction with Argonne National Lab. Plans for 2011 include cloud-based desktop backups and service desk management. For much of the past year, only about 25% of Alvarez's time has been spent at Lawrence Berkeley in California. Alvarez has been on a 12-month assignment as special IT advisor to the Department of Energy, where she has helped align DOE's IT efforts with central policy coming from the White House and OMB.

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Lonny Anderson, CTO and CIO of the secretive National Security Agency, supports the agency's IT-intensive Signals Intelligence mission to gather foreign intelligence from communications, weapons, and radar systems, and he has a hand in NSA's work on the front lines of cybersecurity.

The agency is building three cryptologic centers that will employ more than 1,000 employees at each location, outfitted with new technology, including thin clients, wireless, and virtualized servers. NSA also is heavily invested in cloud computing. It operates a utility cloud analogous to Amazon's EC2, where its applications run; a data cloud powered by MapReduce and Hadoop; and a distributed storage cloud. Anderson is pushing for cloud adoption across the U.S. Intelligence Community.

One of NSA's biggest projects is a $1.2 billion data center that will be operated by Anderson's team and support federal cybersecurity efforts. NSA broke ground on the Utah facility in January.

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The Social Security Administration is known more for its mainframes and aging COBOL programs than its computing prowess. However, the agency has a new tech champion in CIO Frank Baitman, who's pushing development of Web services, healthcare IT, and more.

Social Security processes 39% of its retirement applications online. Baitman, a former IBMer, is looking to raise that percentage by overhauling the agency's website and adding Web services that, from the user's perspective, are more like the experience of online banking. He's also created new organizations focused on innovation and strategy, and is working to integrate electronic medical record data into Social Security's systems to expedite benefits decisions.

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Roger Baker's performance-based approach to IT management is catching on in Washington. The VA's Project Management Accountability System (Baker himself devised it) has saved the agency millions of dollars. Federal CIO Vivek Kundra regularly points to the VA's IT management and funding processes as examples of how technology projects should be managed across government.

The VA's CIO also uses transparency into the operations of his department as a management tool. In February 2010, the VA launched a Web dashboard that provides views into the performance of dozens of its IT projects. And the agency releases cybersecurity statistics monthly, including summaries of data breaches. Not one to shy away from the facts, Baker briefs the media and answers questions in regular conference calls.

The VA's "Blue Button" initiative, developed in collaboration with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, has been lauded as an example of how open government can lead to better public services. Blue Button lets veterans download their personal health records with a simple "download my data" button. Baker's team has also increased use of agile software development.

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Dave Bowen has a hand in one of the biggest IT projects in federal government: the multi-billion dollar upgrade to the nation's aging air traffic control systems. The FAA's NextGen project aims to transform the country's old analog air traffic system to a satellite-based, highly automated system. NextGen will enable real-time GPS maps of air and ground traffic, employ computerized weather monitoring for route planning, and let planes fly closer together safely, among other benefits. However, with such a long-term project come challenges, and keeping NextGen on budget and schedule is no simple task.

A pilot himself, Bowen spent 25 years in the healthcare industry, most recently as CIO at Blue Shield of California.

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After 10 years as Navy CIO, Rob Carey last year stepped into a new assignment as deputy CIO for the Department of Defense. Carey will put his knowledge of the inner workings of the military to use in helping CIO Teri Takai reorganize DOD's IT structure.

During Carey's tenure, the Navy got a much-needed network upgrade in the form of its Next Generation Enterprise Network. Carey also focused on cybersecurity, developing new training rules to ensure a well-prepared workforce. He supported the use of social media by the Navy and was an active blogger who used the Web to share his vision outside the walls of the Pentagon.

By contrast, Carey's replacement, Terry Halvorsen, pulled the plug on the Navy CIO blog shortly after taking over. "The new CIO's first blog is his last," Halvorsen wrote on December 1, just two weeks into the job. Halvorsen encouraged Navy employees and contractors to carry on their exchanges inside the firewall, in "a secure Web environment."

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Department of Health and Human Services CIO and deputy assistant secretary for IT Michael Carleton plays a central role in the development and implementation of healthcare IT as part of the Obama administration's healthcare strategy. HHS is an early adopter of healthcare IT itself, investing in electronic prescription and personal health records programs. Carleton, along with HHS CTO Todd Park, has also been involved in the agency's open government efforts, among the most progressive in federal government. Increased transparency and accountability are strategic goals at HHS.

Before joining the agency in 2006, Carleton was CIO of the General Services Administration, where he worked on implementing e-government initiatives, infrastructure consolidation, investment control, and enterprise architecture.

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Federal CTO Aneesh Chopra leads the technology arm of the White House's Office of Science and Technology, where he manages the federal IT research and development budget and develops policy.

Chopra is one of the primary spokespeople for the Obama administration's open government initiative, and he's been directly involved in the government's work in the area of healthcare IT. He co-chairs a federal health IT task force, helped establish a public-private partnership to promote infant health via a mobile app, and had a hand in the launch of California's Telehealth Network. Chopra led a call for increased federal spending on technology R&D, and he's been driving development of ExpertNet, a wiki that will let subject matter experts in the private sector weigh in on public policy. Chopra was previously Virginia's secretary of technology, advising the governor on technology, chairing the state's healthcare IT council, and encouraging development of the state's technology industry.

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Brook Colangelo has the tough task of keeping the White House's users online and their systems secure. Colangelo is responsible not only for the desktops and servers at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., but also for making sure that President Obama's BlackBerry isn't hacked.

Colangelo's team remedied a problem the previous administration had with lost email by implementing an EMC archiving system that prevents unauthorized access to the backups. He's also developing a strategy for how the White House can leverage cloud computing.

Colangelo was previously CIO of the Democratic National Convention, and he assisted Obama's transition team on tech issues. Before that, he managed IT for the American Red Cross.

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In April 2010, GSA administrator Martha Johnson challenged CIO Casey Coleman to complete five high-priority IT projects over the next 18 months, including boosting network capacity and deploying a VPN for teleworkers. The IT department finished the work within 10 weeks. GSA last year also became one of the first federal agencies to move its email to the public cloud when it migrated to Gmail and Google Apps, with an expected savings of 50% on email over the next four years. The agency is also investing in VoIP, single-sign on, and business intelligence. And, in an effort to reach a zero environmental footprint, the agency is investing in videoconferencing and increasing its use of shared printers.

Coleman is an active CIO as a public speaker and blogger. She was previously CIO of the agency's Federal Acquisition Service and, before that, GSA's Federal Technology Service CIO, head of the Office of Citizen Services, and a software and systems engineer at Lockheed Martin.

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The agency credited with inventing the Internet, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, continues to pursue leading-edge technology innovations under director Regina Dugan.

DARPA is developing stealth Internet communications technology, military mobile networks, autonomous robots, a translation system that works under noisy conditions, "extreme-scale" computing prototypes, and technology for preventing insider threats. In an effort to understand online networks, DARPA also carried out a competition to find 10 red balloons that were scattered across around the country. Before becoming DARPA's director, Dugan co-founded investment firm Dugan Ventures, served as president and CEO of defense company RedXDefense, and participated in numerous government advisory boards on science. She earlier served as a special advisor to the Army's vice chief of staff and as a DARPA program manager. Dugan has a PhD in mechanical engineering from California Institute of Technology and holds several patents.

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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 from 35 data centers to two, along the way improving 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. Last year also saw a continued commitment to open government (including a new public notice website) and social media, 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 term 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.

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After reorganizing the FBI's IT department in his first year on the job, CIO Chad Fulgham used 2010 to modernize the bureau's technology infrastructure. The FBI finished replacing an ATM/frame relay network with a new Cisco-based IP network and, under its Next Generation Workstation program, replaced outdated PCs with modern desktop systems featuring 24-inch flat screen monitors, video capabilities, and Microsoft's latest collaboration tools. The agency deployed an identity management system, upgraded systems management software, and created an internal social networking environment.

A Naval Academy graduate, Fulgham came to the FBI from Wall Street, having worked in technology at Lehman Brothers and JPMorgan Chase. Fulgham took the bold step of wresting control of the FBI's delayed, over-budget Sentinel case-management project from prime contractor Lockheed Martin for a more hands-on approach. Fulgham decided to employ agile development--rare in federal IT--as a way of putting Sentinel on a faster track for completion.

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Adrian Gardner has been the top IT executive at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center for slightly more than a year, but he's no stranger in federal IT circles. Gardner was formerly CIO for the National Weather Service, and before that he served in senior IT positions with the Department of Energy. That background has helped Gartner get off to a quick start at Goddard, with initiatives in cloud computing, high-performance computing, and government transparency. One of Gardner's most high-profile projects is the deployment of cloud computing in a container--an instance of NASA's Nebula cloud platform, originally developed at Ames Research Center, that's being rolled into Goddard in a shipping container.

Gardner also is focused on risk management for the IT aspects of the space shuttle program and cybersecurity projects like single sign-on, and developing a 1,000-day IT strategic plan. He's involved in OMB's open government initiative, chairing a working group for Data.gov.

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It didn't take long for Terry Halvorsen to make his mark when he stepped in as CIO of the Navy last November. Less than two weeks into the job, Halvorsen pulled the plug on a popular blog that had been established by his predecessor, Robert Carey.

Halvorsen explained there was "much work to be done" in his new job, and blogging would have to be a lower priority. There's no question that Halvorsen has taken on a big assignment. He is the Navy's senior exec for IT and information management, with responsibility for IT strategy, policies and architectures. He also serves as the Navy's cyber/IT workforce community leader, critical infrastructure assurance officer, and the senior official for privacy and civil liberties.

Halvorsen was previously deputy commander of Navy Cyber Forces, with responsibility for supporting 300 ships and 800,000 computer network users.

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The CIO in federal government with the longest tenure in one job is Van Hitch, who has been the Justice Department's CIO since April 2002. During that time, Hitch has overhauled the department's IT organization and IT business processes, and established an IT investment review board.

One of Hitch's foremost initiatives has been around information sharing. Justice's Law Enforcement Information Sharing Program aims to improve collaboration among federal, state, and local law enforcement. Hitch is also one of the foremost supporters of the National Information Exchange Model, which was born at the agency and is now used across several agencies. Other initiatives include wireless radio upgrades and financial system modernization. Hitch was formerly a senior partner with Accenture, where he helped develop Maryland's IT strategic plan and automate Philadelphia's Records Department.

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As the first-ever CIO of the New York State Senate, Andrew Hoppin demonstrated a commitment to open government and citizen services.

Shortly after taking the job in February 2009, Hoppin established Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr pages for the state senate, and his team created websites to solicit public input for closing New York's deficit and the transportation agency's budget gap. He gave Webmail to senators and the state senate website lets the public search for and comment on bills that have been introduced. Hoppin previously built online communities for the 2004 presidential campaign of John Kerry, supported development of the Drupal Web platform, and co-created CoLab, a NASA group that fosters collaboration among the space agency, the private sector, and the public.

Hoppin left the New York State Senate position in January to form open government consultancy New Amsterdam Ideas, where he's worked with clients like New York City and the state of New York.

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With 32 years at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Jerry Johnson may be the federal CIO with the longest tenure in one place, with the last six as the lab's CIO. Located in Washington State and with a staff of 4,900, PNNL is one of 10 national labs operated under the auspices of the DOE. The lab conducts research in science, energy, the environment, and national security, much of it dependent on robust IT systems and networking. Johnson oversees a computing and network infrastructure comprised of supercomputers, sophisticated custom software and collaboration tools.

The lab has a research role in counter terrorism, which entails information analysis and cybersecurity. Key projects include developing enterprise architecture and building role-based portals to support project management and line management.

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Chris Kemp has been one of the most vocal advocates for cloud computing in government. As CIO at NASA's Ames Research Center in 2009, Kemp was instrumental in creating NASA's Nebula private cloud environment, which is now being expanded to other NASA centers. Last year, Kemp was promoted to CTO of IT across the space agency, both for his technical acumen and his vision for how technology can drive innovation at NASA.

Users quickly lined up for NASA Cloud Services, based on the Nebula platform, which went into pre-release last fall. The services include on-demand storage and servers, and give scientists an alternative to investing in standalone platforms. Next, NASA will deploy a private cloud for enterprise services. In the meantime, the agency put a $1.5 billion data center construction project on hold as it evaluates how far cloud computing can go in satisfying its IT requirements. Kemp also worked to bring metrics-based management, faster project completion, and improved collaboration and information sharing to the agency.

Kemp left NASA in March to become the CEO of a stealth nanotechnology start-up.

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When the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico a year ago, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration lent its assistance with a new mapping website that eventually served up millions of page views. CIO Joe Klimavicz has an affinity for geospatial applications, having joined NOAA in 2007 from the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, where he was deputy CIO.

NOAA has increased its investment in supercomputers during Klimavicz's tenure. The agency replaced its operational supercomputers in the fall of 2009, and plans a new machine that will be among the most powerful in the world, and will improve hurricane models, weather forecasts, climate change analysis.

Klimavicz also is focused on cloud computing. The agency has cloud email plans and uses hosted VoIP and emergency notification. Klimavicz also is working to get a handle on the NOAA's data life-cycle management strategy, as the agency stores and manages all of its climate data.

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During a time of IT leadership transition in the Army, deputy CIO Michael Krieger has kept critically important technology initiatives moving in the right direction.

With 1.4 million users and an IT budget of about $10 billion, the Army is one of the largest IT organizations in the world. Last May, in an effort to halt server sprawl as it began consolidating and relocating some of its 200 data centers, the military branch took the unusual step of imposing a moratorium on server purchases. The Army is also consolidating applications, virtualizing servers, and expanding its use of cloud computing.

A senior executive in federal government and Army veteran, Krieger has held key IT positions in the Department of Defense's Office of the CIO and elsewhere at the Pentagon. He holds degrees from the U.S. Military Academy, Georgia Institute of Technology, and National Defense University.

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After two years of outlining strategy and introducing government-wide IT initiatives, federal CIO Vivek Kundra is now focused on making them work. Data center consolidation, cloud computing, open government, project management, IT reform--it's all about execution now. In February 2010, Kundra announced a five-year data center consolidation effort, which he kicked off with a survey of the federal data center landscape. That study revealed more than 2,000 federal data centers, a number Kundra plans to reduce by 40% over the next five years.

How will he meet that aggressive goal? OMB's "cloud first" policy is intended to help agencies fill the requirements gap. Another major focus has been driving increased performance and accountability within federal IT, especially for long-term, big-ticket projects. Kundra paused dozens of major federal systems modernization projects and other IT programs, to the consternation of the tech contractors. He called CIOs into project review sessions, called TechStat, and is directing agency CIOs to conduct similar reviews. He also launched a 25-point plan for reforming federal IT.

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It's been a busy spring for Susan Lawrence. In early March, the 38-year veteran was named CIO of the U.S. Army, filling the position vacated by Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Sorenson, who retired in November. A few weeks later, Lawrence was promoted to three-star general, becoming only the fourth woman ever to achieve that rank in the Army and one of only two on active duty.

Modernizing the military branch's enterprise network is a top priority. Other areas of focus include IT consolidation and standardization, data management, and organizational culture. As part of its consolidation effort, the Army last year issued a moratorium on server purchases and issued an RFP for private compute clouds.

Lawrence was formerly the commanding general for the U.S. Army Network Enterprise Technology Command, which operates and defends the Army's computer networks. She has served as director of command, control, communications, and computer systems for U.S. Central Command and chief of staff for the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon.

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Cybersecurity is among Air Force CIO William Lord's top priorities. Lt. Gen. Lord is plotting a "layered defense" to improve the military branch's information security using technologies such as real-time deep packet inspection and network mapping.

Lord also seeks to improve IT efficiency through data center and application consolidation and IT acquisition reform. And the Air Force is deploying new technologies in many areas, including an enterprise-wide Windows 7 upgrade and development of "mid-air" networking. It's also testing an IBM-developed private cloud environment and consumer devices like iPhones and Androids.

Before being named the Air Force's CIO in 2009, Lord was commander of the provisional Air Force Cyber Command and director of cyberspace transformation and strategy.

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The CIO of the Department of Interior traditionally hasn't had much clout. That's changing under Bernie Mazer, who's exercising new-found authority in the agency's push to modernize and consolidate its IT operations. Interior is taking a step in the direction of centralization by mandating that there be only one CIO across the department, abolishing bureau CIOs and giving Mazer control of all infrastructure spending and IT procurement. In the process, Interior is streamlining administration and cutting back on office space and IT staff.

In December, Interior announced a five-year IT consolidation plan aimed at saving the agency $500 million over the next five years. Mazer's office is developing policies for capital planning, enterprise architecture and more. The agency plans to cut the number of data centers it operates in half. Mazer was formerly CIO of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, an IT manager at USAID and the Department of Defense, and a teacher.

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Boston CIO Bill Oates is notable among big city CIOs for his focus on innovation and improving municipal performance. Oates has been a tireless advocate of making broadband more accessible in Beantown, through an application to be part of the Google Fiber municipal broadband project and continued expansion of the city's own fiber network, as well as the opening of 48 computing centers. Boston has become a leader in sustainability, investing in green efforts like virtualization, power management, an online map of citywide solar energy installations, e-waste recycling, and paperless services.

Under the umbrella of open government, Boston has made service request data available online and developed a mobile app called Citizens Connect. The city's list of other IT projects includes new library systems, a citywide student ID card, a new police lab system to track forensic evidence, citywide asset management, a PeopleSoft upgrade, and a transition to VoIP. Oates worked for years in the private sector, including as CIO for Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide.

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The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, long maligned for its dependence on paper-based processes, has launched an IT upgrade that will hasten the patent process. CIO John Owens' strategy, called Patents End-to-End, aims to cut the time from patent application to final determination by 42%. The upgraded systems will accept and publish XML-based patent applications, employing analytics and search. PTO has also entered into an agreement with Google to put its collection of 7 million patent applications, grants, and related information on the Web at no cost; that information was previously available only for a fee.

Owens has championed PTO's telework policy. Employees are encouraged to work from home using their own computers, made possible by a secure VPN connection and collaboration tools, at a cost of only about $105 per employee. Before joining USPTO in 2008, Owens was an IT manager at AOL.

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Todd Park has become the voice of open government. Park not only drives the open government strategy for the Department of Health and Human Services, where he is CTO, but his enthusiasm for the benefits of open government and his advice on how to do it are helping other agencies make it happen.

Park has been involved in the creation of the HealthCare.gov insurance comparison site, development of the "Blue Button" online tool for downloading veterans' health records, and the release of APIs for application developers. Also under his watch, an online community dedicated to healthcare data was introduced on Data.gov, a Data Council was formed at HHS, and the agency made open data its "default" policy.

Before joining HHS, Park was co-founder, chief development officer, and executive VP at health IT company Athenahealth, a management consultant for Booz Allen Hamilton, and a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress.

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New York City's CIO got a quick start when she came on-board in January 2010. Carole Post 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 an upgrade to the city's network and establishment of 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 the public release of data sets and the NYC BigApps 2.0 development competition. 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.

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Nitin Pradhan oversees a $3 billion-plus IT portfolio at the Department of Transportation. His team's projects include a crowdsourcing platform called Idea Hub, a new service catalog, wider deployment of geospatial information systems, and a cloud computing environment called Agility.

Transportation has adopted a content strategy that allows for collaborative authoring and multimedia documents. And the department is a leader in open government. When the White House gave awards for going "above and beyond" the Open Government Directive, DOT was recognized for Leadership, Governance, and Culture Change, and its flagship transparency initiative--a way for the public to help develop new agency regulations--was likewise acknowledged. Pradhan was previously CTO of Fairfax County Public Schools in Virginia. He also has experience with tech startups, both as managing director of Virginia's Center for Innovative Technology and as co-founder of TechContinuum, a wireless startup.

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National Institute of Standards and Technology senior computer scientist Ron Ross has been called Mr. FISMA. As the project lead for the Federal Information Security Management Act implementation project, he plays a central role in setting cybersecurity requirements for federal agencies and providing guidance on how to meet those requirements.

Last year was a busy one for Ross, who helped establish guidelines that emphasize risk management and "continuous monitoring" over basic compliance. NIST has revamped the security authorization process, updated a guide to recommended security controls, and is finalizing a new risk management framework. Ross leads a partnership that's working to develop a more unified security framework across defense, civilian, and intelligence agencies--the new FISMA authorization process will be used by all federal organizations. Before joining NIST, Ross had a 20-year military career, during which he held various technical and leadership positions. He also worked on assignment for the National Security Agency.

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Colorado's new tech exec, Kristin Russell, appears to have taken on two jobs. As CIO, she oversees a long list of IT projects, while, as secretary of technology, she's drives economic development of IT industry within the state.

Russell was appointed to the job, or jobs, in February. She was previously VP of global IT service operations at Oracle, with responsibility for data center operations and infrastructure services. Before that, she served in a similar capacity for Sun Microsystems, which was acquired by Oracle.

As state CIO, Russell's projects include healthcare IT, broadband deployment, and IT consolidation. In addition, she's promoting Colorado as a high-tech hub and looking to attract IT investment.

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Howard Schmidt has maintained a low profile compared to other White House techies like federal CTO Aneesh Chopra and federal CIO Vivek Kundra, but he's an active and influential figure behind the scenes.

While DOD and DHS have operational control over much of federal cybersecurity, Schmidt, the federal cybersecurity coordinator, and his office have focused on a number of projects to bolster cybersecurity in both the public and private sectors, including the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education and the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace. Schmidt's office also helped develop policy around cybersecurity compliance in government, is playing an active role in communicating with Congress about cybersecurity legislation, and has a say in federal R&D spending on cybersecurity. Before joining the Obama administration, Schmidt was president and CEO of the Information Security Forum, CISO at eBay, and chief security officer for Microsoft.

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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. 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.

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Henry Sienkiewicz has the ideal background to lead the Defense Information Systems Agency's expanding portfolio of cloud computing services. Prior to being named DISA's CIO last May, Sienkiewicz was a key leader of DISA's Rapid Access Computing Environment (RACE) and Forge.mil, its software hosting service for Defense agencies and contractors.

DISA already offers infrastructure as a service via RACE, and it plans to offer platform as a service this summer. DISA is a leading provider of IT services to Defense agencies, which means Sienkiewicz will be on the hot seat in supporting DOD's growing use of cloud services. The Army, for example, has signed on to have DISA host its enterprise-wide email. Sienkiewicz was formerly technical program manager for DISA's Computing Service. He retired as an Army Reserve officer in 2008.

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The CIO position at the Department of Agriculture is gaining clout, and that's a good thing for Chris Smith. The agency's CIO needs all the leverage he can get in managing several IT projects that represent big changes for the agency. Agriculture is midway through consolidating more than 100 data centers to five. It's also emerging as an early adopter of software as a service on a broad scale. In December, USDA disclosed plans, via a contract with Dell, to tap into Microsoft's Exchange, SharePoint, Office Communications, and Live Meeting online services for 100,000 employees and 20,000 contractors. Smith tied the move to a broader initiative to modernize and streamline Agriculture's IT infrastructure, including 21 separate email systems, and make the latest generation of communications and collaboration tools available to its workers.

Before becoming CIO, Smith held a number of IT leadership positions at USDA, including deputy CIO, associate CIO for integration and operations, and CIO for rural development.

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The Department of Homeland Security was built from two dozen "component" organizations--the Coast Guard, the Secret Service, and others--and IT silos were an inevitable result. CIO Richard Spires is looking to consolidate and simplify the IT infrastructure that serves them all.

Job No. 1 is to consolidate 24 data centers down to two, a project that is under way. That hands-on experience makes Spires somewhat of an expert at data center consolidation, which explains why he was selected to lead the government-wide Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative, which aims to eliminate 800 data centers by 2015. Spires also plans to build an enterprise operations center that will give network administrators a more complete and real-time view of IT operations across the agency. And he's looking to provide enterprise-wide services, such as email, to DHS components.

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Bobbie Stempfley isn't exactly a federal CIO, but she does have one of the most important IT jobs in the federal government--heading up cybersecurity for all civilian agencies. Stempfley gave up a CIO job with the Defense Information Systems Agency to move into the new role.

Stempfley heads up a broad cross-section of the government's cybersecurity efforts, including public-private partnerships to secure critical infrastructure, a national cyber risk management program, and a system to alert government and industry of threats and respond to them. She's spearheading deployment of the government's Einstein intrusion protection and prevention systems, and in 2010 helped manage Cyber Storm III, the largest yet of a series of simulated cyberattack exercises. Before being CIO at DISA, Stempfley was the agency's vice director for strategic planning and information and, before that, its CTO.

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Jeff Stovall is leading Charlotte's government into the digital age. That's reflected in the city's high ranking (it placed fourth) among major metro areas in the Center for Digital Government's 2010 Digital Cities survey.

In October, the city launched an iPhone application, My Charlotte, that puts city services into the hands of on-the-go residents. Plans call for Android and BlackBerry versions next. The city is also automating its 311 information service via an avatar that answers basic questions at a fraction of the cost of those handled by live call center representatives. In support of internal operations, Charlotte has adopted SOA standards, and it has ERP and Microsoft BizTalk projects under way. Going forward, planned projects include business intelligence, tests of Microsoft Exchange Online and SharePoint Online, a security metrics dashboard, and single sign-on.

Before taking the job in 2008, Stovall worked for Sprint, Corning, and DuPont.

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Tech industry veteran William Strecker is CTO at In-Q-Tel, a federally funded venture capital firm, incubator, and idea lab that invests in companies with technology of interest to the U.S. intelligence community. In 2010, In-Q-Tel invested in Cleversafe, a data storage specialist that splits up data for storage in multiple locations. Another investment, Silver Tail Systems, provides fraud-prevention technology for websites by using Web behavioral analytics to identify threats. Other areas of investment last year include a next-generation, miniature radar motion detection system, high-resolution mobile imaging, and collaborative translation software.

Strecker joined In-Q-Tel after a distinguished career in the tech industry. He served as CTO at Digital Equipment Corp. and Compaq and was a general partner at VC firm Flagship Ventures. Strecker also holds 16 patents.

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As deputy CIO of information assurance for the Department of State, John Streufert oversees the security of the State Department's IT infrastructure. His forward-thinking approaches have been emulated across government as cybersecurity best practices.

Streufert is an advocate of what the feds call continuous monitoring, the "near real-time" monitoring of security risks, and he gets credit for helping to promote the concept across federal agencies. He has employed a metric that he helped create called the Risk Scoring Program, which assigns grades to different types of security threats like missing software patches. The program goes beyond the requirements mandated by the Federal Information Security Management Act and influenced changes made to FISMA compliance guidelines. Streufert, who's also chief information security officer for the State Department, has been instrumental in the department's forward-thinking cybersecurity education programs. Before joining the Department of State, he held IT management roles at the Agency for International Development, Federal Crop Insurance Corp., Naval Shipyards, and the Naval Sea Systems Command.

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After her nomination was held up for months, Teri Takai was immediately thrust into a major IT reorganization when, in November 2010, she stepped in as the new CIO at the Department of Defense.

Takai was given a lead role in redefining the CIO position at DOD, which included phasing out Defense's previous CIO organization and moving some of that office's functions elsewhere in the Pentagon. Some of the projects on her plate include data center consolidation, the rollout of department-wide email services, new ERP systems, and cybersecurity. With an annual IT budget of about $30 billion, Takai must also find ways to contribute to Defense Secretary Robert Gates' five-year, $100 billion cost savings plan.

Takai came to Washington, D.C., from California, where as state CIO she led a multiyear IT transformation effort. While there, Takai set aggressive data center consolidation and sustainability goals and brought more rigorous governance to all aspects of the state's IT operations.

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After serving as CIO of the CIA for the past five years, Al Tarasiuk is in line to become the next CIO of the 17-member U.S. Intelligence Community. On February 16, President Obama announced his intention to appoint Tarasiuk to the job, which sits within the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. In addition to overseeing tech purchases for the IC, Tarasiuk will be responsible for establishing IT standards and developing an architecture for information sharing across the agencies and organizations that comprise the coalition.

At the CIA, Tarasiuk managed several IT transformation initiatives, and recent projects included using private clouds for large-scale data analytics and other applications. The agency is also involved in an IC cloud pilot called I2. Tarasiuk was director of the CIA's Information Services Center, where he oversaw development and operations of the agency's global IT infrastructure.

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Amtrak, a government-owned corporation, has a handful of important IT projects underway, led by CIO Ed Trainor. The projects should ultimately result in a more tech-enabled travel experience from Albany to Los Angeles.

Amtrak (technically, the National Railroad Passenger Corp.) is installing Wi-Fi on trains, modernizing its reservation system, deploying an ERP system called the Strategic Asset Management system, and broadening its use of e-ticketing. The rail operator also recently re-launched its website.

Trainor was formerly CIO of Paramount Pictures and, before that, in IT management with the Southern California Gas Co. He also served as president of the Society for Information Management.

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Harold Tuck heads up IT for San Diego County's 17,000 employees and, indirectly, more than three million residents.

Tuck has spearheaded data center consolidation (from 300 sites to two), upgrades to the county's ERP and content management systems, and virtualization and enterprise collaboration. Next steps include use of building automation systems, unified communications, client virtualization, and a website overhaul. The county's accomplishments are in part the result of a long-term outsourcing contract with Northrop Grumman.

Before becoming CIO in 2008, Tuck was deputy chief administrative officer for the county, with responsibility for its criminal justice and law enforcement programs.

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Until recently, Chris Vein was CIO of San Francisco, where he had to deal with a demanding tech-savvy citizenry as well as the other more typical challenges of managing the IT department of a major American city.

In March 2010, Vein and federal CIO Vivek Kundra launched the national Open 311 API, a standard API to let developers create applications that tap directly into metropolitan 311 systems. Vein's office released hundreds of government data sets online, including data on crime, transportation, health, filming locations, and more. In November, San Francisco passed a first-of-its-kind law requiring city agencies to publish any data they have as long as it doesn't compromise privacy.

Vein previously worked for Science Applications International Corp. and served the Reagan, Bush, and Clinton administrations as director of administrative and financial services for the White House. He rejoined the White House in February as deputy federal CTO for open innovation.

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CIO Jerry Williams is driving reforms in IT governance and management at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, following an internal assessment and external audit, which found inefficiencies in the agency's IT processes.

Under Williams' direction, HUD has established improved capital planning and governance processes. He's fostering stronger discipline by training certified project managers and creating a dashboard for evaluating program effectiveness. Spending on IT projects is now done incrementally, with funding going to projects only if they pass review. An upgrade to the agency's HR system, business intelligence capabilities, and data center consolidation are all part of an ongoing IT modernization strategy. Williams also served as deputy CIO at the Department of Interior, director for financial management for the Director of National Intelligence, acting and deputy CIO of the Department of Agriculture, acting CIO for the Small Business Administration, and chief of federal financial management systems at the Office of Management and Budget.

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Jim Warren was given a tall task when he became CIO of the new Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board: create systems to collect, track and analyze all the money being spent as part of the Obama administration's stimulus package. Warren and a small team, with help from contractors like Smartronix, quickly established websites where federal agencies could report their stimulus spending (FederalReporting.gov) and where the public could analyze spending in detail (Recovery.gov).

In May, the board moved Recovery.gov to Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud, the first government website to make that move. In doing so, Recovery.gov is expected to save $750,000 over 18 months, and the board was able to repurpose $1 million worth of computing equipment for use in tracking fraud, waste, and abuse. Recovery.gov also got an infusion of social media capabilities, including the ability to share photos of projects via Flickr.

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Jeffrey Zients, deputy director for management at the Office of Management and Budget and federal chief performance officer, assumed expanded responsibilities during the past year, briefly taking over as acting director of OMB after Peter Orszag left office and becoming the point person for several IT management issues.

Working with federal CIO Vivek Kundra, Zients has brought increased focus to IT project management in government. Zients penned memos urging agencies to "crowdsource" for new ideas, paused financial system modernizations to review them, and helped craft OBM's plans to bring "structural changes" to how IT is managed by federal agencies. Zients, a former management consultant before joining OMB, also unveiled a website to track federal project performance, and he's heading up a new council of private sector CEOs that advises the Obama administration on technology, productivity, and customer service.

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