Everyone is anxiously awaiting the announcement of President-elect Obama’s nomination for the nation’s first federal chief technology officer to create the transparent and connected democracy he has espoused. According to Obama’s outline, the CTO will be charged with ensuring that agencies “have the right infrastructure, policies and services for the 21st century” and will lead an interagency effort to “ensure that they use best-in-class technologies.”
The new federal CTO will have a vital role, and one that is destined to not only “unveil” government to its constituents, but also to engage those constituents. This won’t be an easy task, given the disparate technologies used by agencies and the hard fact that some agencies are already tech “savvy” while others are many years from that.
Kim Nelson, our executive director of e-government, wrote about this new role in a recent Federal Computer Week issue and said that the CTO needs to look beyond typical information technology programs such as data security and infrastructure in establishing a national technology strategy. The person selected for this role should take an expansive view, both guiding and setting policy wherever technology intersects with the government’s mission to serve.
In using technology to address critical issues, the new CTO can show people that government is willing tackle today’s most pressing issues in new and innovative ways that support a stronger economy. This is essential not only to the success of the Obama presidency but also for the nation as it struggles to meet challenges ranging from declining educational performance and rising health care costs to the flagging economy and national security threats.
Who will Obama appoint? While we await his announcement, we should all applaud him for making the decision to appoint the nation’s first federal CTO and believe it is a necessary step to help mitigate these problems.
What do you think are the top priorities for our nation’s first CTO?
– Teresa Carlson, Microsoft Vice President of U.S. Federal Sales
This blog post was provided by Microsoft from its FutureFed blog.