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The Kundra appointment: What does it mean?

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Reports all over the place — kudos to Federal News Radio’s Jason Miller and to NextGov’s Gautham Nagesh — confirming what we told you earlier this week — that DC CTO Vivek Kundra will be named the next administrator of e-government and information technology.

Neither the White House nor OBM nor DC officials are talking, but… we have confirmed it.

The name is only a part of the story, of course. There are still many questions out there — the most obvious: What are the roles and responsibilities. As the Congressional Research Service report about the CTO suggested, the lines between the various government IT leadership posts are… murky. It seems to me, there are essentially four pockets of government IT expertise: the e-gov administrator (can we please dump the e-gov name — it’s so… 2001!)… OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affiars (OIRA), the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), and then… the new much discussed Obama CTO.

I hope that the Obama administration will make clear how all these pieces work together — and who is in charge. Frankly, one of the problems has been that there hasn’t been enough of a coordinated, strategic approach to technology, information technology and data, and this seems like an opportune time to make all those lines clear. And some of that discussion has been going on behind the scenes. It is part of the reorganization at OMB that resulted in the creation of a career deputy e-gov administrator , Michael Howell. (An aside: I’m hearing that Howell had a number of speaking engagements scheduled over the next few weeks and the White House apparently had him cancel.)

Just to add one other group into the mix: the Federal CIO Council, which the Bush administration severely underused.

NextGov’s Jill Atoro has heard that Virginia’s secretary of technology, Aneesh Chopra , could be the CTO.

I had expected that they would do with the CTO what they did — or tried to do — with the chief performance officer: Double up on titles. The chief performance officer was also the OMB deputy director for management. And I suspected — and even hoped — that they would have the OMB e-gov administrator also be theCTO . There needs to be somebody who can lead the government’s IT initiatives, which are currently scattered across these different organizations.

I’m also hearing that the White House may be close to naming a cyber-security czar. I haven’t heard names yet, but… it creates a question what that post will mean for chief information security officers… and theCIO Council’s new security committee.

Still many questions yet to be answered.

Read Chopra’s bio after the break.

aneesh-chopraAneesh Paul Chopra, Secretary of Technology

Aneesh Chopra is currently Virginia’s Fourth Secretary of Technology serving Governor Tim Kaine. In this capacity, he leads the Commonwealth’s strategy to effectively leverage technology in government reform, promotes Virginia’s innovation agenda, and fosters technology-related economic development with a special emphasis on entrepreneurship.

For the Governor, Secretary Chopra chairs the Solutions Committee of the IT Investment Board, the Effectiveness and Efficiency Committee of the Council on Virginia’s Future, and co-chairs theHealthcare IT Council with Health Secretary Marilyn Tavenner.

Secretary Chopra was awarded the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society’s (HIMSS) 2007 State Leadership Advocacy Award, and was also recently named to Government Technology magazine’s Top 25 in their Doers, Dreamers, and Drivers issue, which recognizes the 25 individuals they believe help set the standard for using technology to improve government.

Prior to joining Governor Kaine’s cabinet, Aneesh served as Managing Director with the Advisory Board Company, a publicly-traded health care think tank serving nearly 2,500 hospitals and health systems. He led thefirm’s Financial Leadership Council and the Working Council for Health Plan Executives, as well as assisted the launch of the firm’s first business intelligence software solution, Compass.

Aneesh graduated with a Masters in Public Policy from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government in 1997. He graduated with a B.A. from The Johns Hopkins University in 1994.

Written by cdorobek

February 6, 2009 at 1:20 PM

5 Responses

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  1. […] I’d point to the fact that there is a White House director of new media, I’d point to Vivek Kundra, and the still yet to be formally announced White House director of citizen participation Katie […]

  2. […] least some of the steam came out of Obama CTO sails when we all learned that DC CTO Vivek Kundra would be appointed the Office of Management and Budget’s administrator for e-government and information […]

  3. […] White House made some significant appointments — Vivek Kundra to be the OMB administrator of e-government and information technology, and Google’s Katie […]

  4. […] the OMB administrator of e-government and information technology. But that happened weeks ago but is still not yet official. But there is a curious Kundra conundrum. I was talking to one former OMBers who told me that he […]

  5. […] The Kundra appointment: What does it mean? […]


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