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.