obama appoints vivek kundra as chief technology officer

On Thursday, President Barack Obama announced that Vivek Kundra, D.C.'s chief technology officer, and an adviser on Obama's transition team, will be the Federal Chief Information Officer at the White House: D.C. Tech Chief Tapped for White House Slot.

Kundra, 34, is expected to oversee how government agencies purchase and use information technology and will be in charge of all federal technology spending. He'll also be responsible for making sure agencies' networks and systems work together and share information while maintaining security and privacy standards. Here's the official White House press release I received last week:
President Obama Names Vivek Kundra Chief Information Officer

WASHINGTON, DC - Today, President Barack Obama named Vivek Kundra the Federal Chief Information Officer (CIO) at the White House.

The Federal Chief Information Officer directs the policy and strategic planning of federal information technology investments and is responsible for oversight of federal technology spending. The Federal CIO establishes and oversees enterprise architecture to ensure system interoperability and information sharing and ensure information security and privacy across the federal government. The CIO will also work closely with the Chief Technology Officer to advance the President’s technology agenda.

President Obama said, "Vivek Kundra will bring a depth of experience in the technology arena and a commitment to lowering the cost of government operations to this position. I have directed him to work to ensure that we are using the spirit of American innovation and the power of technology to improve performance and lower the cost of government operations. As Chief Information Officer, he will play a key role in making sure our government is running in the most secure, open, and efficient way possible."

The following announcement was made today:

Vivek Kundra, Federal Chief Information Officer
Vivek Kundra formerly served in Mayor Fenty's cabinet as the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) for the District of Columbia, responsible for technology operations and strategy for 86 agencies. He has been recognized among the top 25 CTO's in the country and as the 2008 IT Executive of the Year for his pioneering work to drive transparency, engage citizens and lower the cost of government operations. Kundra is also recognized for his leadership in public safety communications, cyber security and IT portfolio management. Before Kundra came to the District, Governor Timothy M. Kaine appointed him Assistant Secretary of Commerce and Technology for the Commonwealth of Virginia, the first dual cabinet role in the state's history. Kundra's diverse record also includes technology and public policy experience in private industry and academia. He is a graduate of the University of Virginia's Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership and holds a MS in Information Technology from the University of Maryland.
The chief information officer is a newly created position -- the job actually didn't exist in previous administration. But it's not surprising that Obama would be on top of this, as the candidate that effectively leveraged social networks and other internet tools on the campaign trail, and promised to create a technology czar with the aim of helping the government operate more efficiently. New president, new technologies. About time.

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