Focusing on six words: Helping government do its job better

Your 01.16.08 Federal CTO reader: Word next week?

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Ending the week with even more speculation about the Obama CTO post — something we’ve been following a whole bunch. (See here about one big name coming off the CTO list… and here about some of the previous speculation.

BusinessWeek has a story today about the Obama CTO — and they are hearing that there are two candidates for the Obama CTO — Padmasree Warrior, the chief technology officer of Silicon Valley networking giant Cisco Systems, and, of course, Vivek Kundra, the DC CTO — both of whom are Indian born.

Warrior, who previously was CTO at Motorola, represents hard-core technology expertise. Kundra, who was named to the D.C. post in 2007, has held similar government positions in the past and has a reputation for using technology to make government more open and inclusive. Neither the Obama transition team nor the two executives would comment on their potential selection by Obama.

The President-elect is expected to announce his pick for CTO in a matter of days. One of the sources says the selection is being held up because it’s not yet clear how the person selected asCTO will interact with the government’s chief information officer, a position now held by Karen Evans, and with the new cyber-security czar, another position that has not yet been filed.

Read the BusinessWeek post here.

I’m hearing that too — that Team Obama is still ferreting out precisely what they want that position to be and how it will interact within OMB — and CIOs. The speculation currently is that the Obama CTO simply won’t have that much heft. In fact, I mentioned that I spoke at the Social Media Club DC chapter this week about government 2.0 and the subject of the CTO came up — and  there was divergent opinion on the role of the CTO. Mark Drapeau, a associate research fellow at the National Defense University, argued that there was no need for the CTO at all. And, in fact, he suggested that he hadn’t heard anybody define what the CTO would do. And, while I have enormous amount of respect for Drapeau, I just couldn’t disagree more. There has been a whole lot of conversation around the role of the CTO. On Federal News Radio’s Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris, we have had a whole bunch of folks talk about the CTO job — everybody from Don Tapscott and Andrew McAfee to Drapeau himself. Personally I think that the CTO will actually be a true chief information officer because, in the end, that’s where they can make the different and that is what matters — focusing on the information.

More on the Social Media Club and the AFFIRM government 2.0 sessions over the weekend.

And if you know anything about Warrior, let me know.

Written by cdorobek

January 16, 2009 at 7:50 PM

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