Federal CIO Council Makes Big Changes

Principal interagency forum for IT management announces new structure that focuses on most pressing government tech projects.
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The federal CIO Council, a principal interagency forum for IT management, has reorganized to focus more on high-priority projects and provide better tools and services to federal CIOs.

The council said the restructuring, which has been going on for six months, will help address the most pressing IT issues, as the government faces incessant challenges due to sequestration and budget deficits. Under the new structure, the CIO Council will operate through three core committees: innovation, headed by Casey Coleman, CIO at the General Services Administration, and Margie Graves, acting CIO at the Department of Homeland Security; portfolio management, led by Bernie Mazer, CIO at the Department of the Interior, and Bob Brese, CIO at the Department of Energy; and information security and identity management (ISIMC), overseen by Luke McCormack, CIO at the Department of Justice, and Rob Carey, Deputy CIO at the Department of Defense. The groups will be responsible for short-term projects, in addition to long-term efforts that focus on federal IT strategy, the CIO Council said.

Previously, the council consisted of six major committees and 29 subcommittees. The three new committees will report to a 14-member executive committee headed by federal CIO Steven VanRoekel. The executive committee will be tasked with reviewing all projects to make sure they align with IT priorities. It will also establish criteria for projects, allocate funding and provide oversight. "The CIO Council will become more agile in its approach to supporting key administration priorities and will continue to develop valuable tools, resources and data for federal CIOs and their staffs," the council said in a blog post announcing the reorganization.

[ Who are the top CIOs in federal, state and local government? Read 25 Most Influential Government CIOs. ]

In addition to simplifying the planning and execution of projects, some ongoing council activities --formerly assigned to committees -- will now be run by council staff, with contractor support. This includes communications and outreach, best practices and knowledge management, and admin support and coordination.

The CIO Council oversees a growing portfolio of mission support and commodity IT systems. Streamlining how it spends its energy and time will have a big impact not only on individual agencies, but also on the private sector and the public, said Nitin Pradhan, founder of Public Private Innovations and former CIO of the Department of Transportation.

"The newly structured council has an excellent opportunity to positively influence the nationwide technology community by building collaborative technology platforms and services with state governments. This includes integrating new and emerging technology products and services from startups and growth companies across the U.S., and working with Congress to update the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) to fund new technology projects through public-private models to deliver results in this era of scarcity," said Pradhan. "Currently, these important areas are not a focus of the council."

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