Obama memo mentions CTO

The administration's chief technology officer position appeared in the first round of policy documents issued by President Barack Obama, giving a glimpse into the role that new official might play.

As part of a memorandum on government openness and transparency issued Jan. 21, Obama instructed his CTO to work with the heads of the Office of Management and Budget and the General Services Administration to coordinate recommendations for an “Open Government Directive.” That directive, to be issued by OMB Director Peter Orszag, will give specific instructions for how agencies should comply with the open government principles listed in this memorandum. The memo states that the government should be transparent, government is a national asset, government should be participatory and government should be collaborative.

The new CTO position itself and who might get that post has been the subject of wide speculation. The questions of how much power the CTO will have to make policy and how the office would interact with OMB also remain open questions.

The memo states:

“I direct the chief technology officer, in coordination with the director of the Office of Management and Budget and the administrator of General Services, to coordinate the development by appropriate executive departments and agencies, within 120 days, of recommendations for an Open Government Directive, to be issued by the director of OMB, that instructs executive departments and agencies to take specific actions implementing the principles set forth in this memorandum. The independent agencies should comply with the Open Government Directive.”

About the Author

Ben Bain is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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