President Barack Obama has appointed the nation’s first chief information officer (CIO). Tapped was Vivek Kundra, now the chief technology officer (CTO) of Washington, D.C.
Obama is still expected to name a CTO to join his administration, as well.
Kundra was appointed, according to the White House, “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 appointment is long overdue. By some calculations, the federal government spends up to $80 billion on computer systems annually, easily making it one of the biggest purchasers of computing and networking systems in the world.
The U.S. has accrued a mish-mash of computing systems, many of them ancient in technology terms. The extremely heterogeneous federal computing environment has long been assailed for being inefficient, poorly coordinated and not secure.