Senators voice support for CTO nominee

Confirmation vote on the first federal chief technology officer nears

The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee postponed a confirmation vote today on federal chief technology officer nominee Aneesh Chopra to allow Chopra to respond to written questions from senators who did not attend a conformation hearing. Meanwhile, several senators who attended voiced support for Chopra.

A committee staff member said CTO nominee is expected to be confirmed by the committee with little, if any, opposition. The committee is expected to vote on Chopra’s nomination May 20, according to the staff member.

President Barack Obama nominated Chopra to serve as CTO and as an associate director for technology in the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) supported Chopra, saying, “As someone who has spent a great deal of time with Aneesh, keeping up with all his ideas, he is a bit of a whirlwind, and I know he will bring that same energy to this new position."

Chopra said he will work to “ensure every American can participate in our vibrant technology-based economy and that we thoughtfully apply emerging technologies to address our nation’s most pressing challenges.” 

Policies that encourage technological advances can “make jobs more plentiful, Americans more competitive, communications more affordable, broadband more abundant, families more connected and Americans more safe and secure,” he said.

Chopra identified health care and improving the energy grid as two areas where he would like to see technological advances.

About the Author

Doug Beizer is a staff writer for Federal Computer Week.

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Reader comments

Thu, May 21, 2009 John Weiler Alexandria VA

A first step Aneesh will need to take is to make sure that every viable innovative technology company, large and small, are given an equal opportunity to participate in the $100+ Billion in annual IT acquisitions. Today, over 90% of the awards go to the top 10 defense contractors, who collectively have not delivered on time or on schedule yet. The business model of lowest cost awards that are then ECPed to death must stop. I hope Aneesh and his partners at OMB take time to review the significant body of work already available looking at these patterns of failure that cost the tax payer over $20 Billion per year. If we do not fix the process, then all the great ideas and technologies will never see the light of day. The new IT Acquisition Advisory Council (IT-AAC) is doing much of this grunt work of analyzing the root causes and formulating a IT Acquisition Reform Roadmap for those seeking to actually fix the process. The question is, will our leaders be given the authority to change a process and culture that has resisted change since the signing of the Clinger Cohen Act. The second question is will DoD be a partner or a impediment. Time will tell.

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