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Focusing on six words: Helping government do its job better

Who might be the government’s CIO… er, CTO?

with one comment

BusinessWeek today has a piece, headlined, “The Short List for U.S. Chief Technology Officer: Barack Obama has pledged to name a cabinet-level CTO to oversee a job-creating national broadband buildout if he’s elected. Big names abound.”

Among the names are Vint Cerf, Steve Ballmer, Jeff Bezos, and Ed Felten, a prominent professor of computer science and public affairs at Princeton University.

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama has proposed the creation of a CTO in government.

Bring Government into the 21st Century: Barack Obama and Joe Biden will use technology to reform government and improve the exchange of information between the federal government and citizens while ensuring the security of our networks. Obama and Biden believe in the American people and in their intelligence, expertise, and ability and willingness to give and to give back to make government work better. Obama will appoint the nation’s first Chief Technology Officer (CTO) to ensure that our government and all its agencies have the right infrastructure, policies and services for the 21st century. The CTO will ensure the safety of our networks and will lead an interagency effort, working with chief technology and chief information officers of each of the federal agencies, to ensure that they use best-in-class technologies and share best practices.

Unfortunately we simply don’t know much more about what the CTO will do other then what it says above.

The BusinessWeek piece had these thoughts:

A White House CTO would be expected to help create incentive programs to expand broadband’s reach, particularly tax credits for smaller carriers. But the tech czar would almost certainly be deeply involved in overseeing a federally-backed $50 billion venture capital fund that Obama has proposed to develop more environmentally friendly technology.

Again, just not much there. That’s largely because I’m not sure Team Obama has thought about it.

To be fair, there isn’t much more of a plan on the other side. Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain’s technology plan have the same platitudes about making more information available online… and then there is this line:

Since 2001, he has called for an Office of Electronic Government to set a strategic vision for implementation of electronic government.

Somebody might want to let the campaign know that Karen Evans is, in fact, OMB’s Administrator of E-Government and Information Technology. So, I’m all for fighting the good fight, but… if he is still fighting for that office to be created, he can let it go. He won!

Written by cdorobek

October 20, 2008 at 10:03 AM

One Response

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  1. […] told you earlier this week that BusinessWeek mentioned some names for Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama’s proposed CTO […]


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