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Obama Names Federal CIO

Vivek Kundra, former chief technology officer for the District of Columbia, will oversee strategic planning for the nation's information technology.
District of Columbia CTO Vivek Kundra has been named the federal CIO.

"Vivek Kundra will bring a depth of experience in the technology arena and a commitment to lowering the cost of government operations to this position," President Barack Obama said in a statement. "I have directed him to work to ensure that we are using the spirit of American innovation and the power of technology to improve performance and lower the cost of government operations. As Chief Information Officer, he will play a key role in making sure our government is running in the most secure, open, and efficient way possible."

That statement indicates that Kundra will cover several areas previously outlined in job descriptions for the nation's first federal CTO. Kundra had also been named a potential candidate for the new United States' CTO position.

One month ago, Washington sources said that Kundra would be named as a replacement for Karen Evans, to become the United States' e-government and information technology leader in the Office of Management and Budget.

Obama hasn't clarified whether the person who becomes the nation's first CTO will rise to cabinet level or serve in an advisory capacity. He did say the person would report directly to him, and Obama has made a few surprise moves since taking office.

So, there's plenty of leeway for Obama to position the CTO in any number of areas in terms of organizational structure and possibly combine roles.

Some analysts had speculated that the CTO could serve under OMB. More recently, others have said the position is likely to fall under the Office of Science and Technology.

For Further Reading:

  • Federal CTO To Have Broad Influence

  • White House Web Site Takes Shape With Web 2.0 Transparency
  • InformationWeek has published an in-depth report detailing the views of more than two dozen industry leaders on what should be top of mind for President Obama's CTO. Download the report here (registration required).