CIO vice chair dives into role

As the newly-appointed vice chairman of the federal Chief Information Officers Council, Daniel Matthews believes his operating and commercial experience will help him get some serious work done.

Matthews, Transportation Department's CIO, said he's focused on finishing the first 24 e-government initiatives conceived by the Quicksilver interagency task force a couple of years ago, and looking at other governmentwide architecture issues in the coming year.

"Certainly we need to get these Quicksilver initiatives implemented," he said.

Matthews was named vice chair in November, replacing Karen Evans, who became the council's director in September when she was appointed the Office of Management and Budget's administrator for e-government and information technology. Matthews has been DOT's CIO since March.

"I'm coming with experience with a federal department that has operating agencies," he said. "I'm bringing knowledge of how we have to work together... so the federal architecture will be meaningful. I think it will be useful."

Matthews also has more than 30 years of IT experience under his belt, most recently as senior vice president at Savantage Financial Services Inc., and previously as a vice president at Lockheed Martin Corp. This allows him to have a better understanding of the commercial side and its interest in the CIO Council's efforts, he said.

Bob Woods, chairman of the Industry Advisory Council, said Matthews' diverse experience will help him understand his new role and just what he's up against. Transportation is an operationally-focused department, Woods said, with little room for mistakes. Matthews will bring a similar point of view to the council.

"If you let the council get too policy-oriented, I think it loses something," he said. "A lot of the government is operational in nature. Somebody needs to keep some balance in there. He brings some perspective."

Matthews said he also has plans to strengthen the relationship between the CIO Council and other federal councils, such as the Chief Financial Officer's Council and the Federal Acquisition Council.

"It's a matter of putting our attention to it, and probably assigning responsibility within our organization to work with those councils," he said. "Right now I would place it as ad hoc at best."

The role of the council has evolved since its establishment with the Clinger Cohen Act in 1996. Its origin was rooted in sorting through legislation, Matthews said, with OMB taking on more of a leadership role. Now, however, the onus is on the CIOs.

"OMB [officials] set an agenda that implemented the president's management agenda. Now those projects are to be implemented and it's really up the CIOs to do that," he said. Now officials at "the CIO Council and OMB are looking for the next step to work together, and that's on the architecture side."

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