Workforce Wonk

By Alyah Khan

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The post-Kundra era: Time for a new direction with the federal CIO?

Everybody knows by now that Federal CIO Vivek Kundra will be leaving his job in mid-August. Rumors abound about who will replace Kundra. But that speculation raises a larger question: How does the federal CIO position need to evolve in order to fulfill the Obama administration’s goals?

Undoubtedly, Kundra will leave a lasting mark on the post. He was appointed as the first federal CIO in 2009 and has gained significant praise for his initiatives for cloud computing, data center consolidation and improvements in IT program management.

Richard Spires, CIO at the Homeland Security Department and vice chairman of the Federal CIO Council, wrote about Kundra’s legacy in a recent blog entry on the CIO.gov website.

“Vivek joined the Obama administration with a vision of IT being a catalyst for the federal government to be much more open, participatory and collaborative,” Spires wrote in the June 21 entry. “Vivek has been a strong force for open government. He has changed the dialogue and viewpoint of agencies of the federal government – and we will not go back.”

Spires also used the entry to note that although the 25-point IT reform plan was driven by Kundra, it reflects the “collective views” of the federal CIO community. He wrote that the council will continue to execute the plan as scheduled.

Sources have said that Kundra is a visionary and what the administration should look for now is a federal CIO who can be an implementer. This makes sense given that the IT reform plan was only introduced last December and there are several milestones to accomplish.

Interestingly, Spires is being floated as possible candidate to succeed Kundra and he might be the kind of no-nonsense person needed to get things done. But, that’s all speculation now.

So while administration officials search for the next federal CIO, what qualities and experience do you think they should be looking for? And do you think the job itself must be redefined to ensure continued progress in federal IT?

Posted by Alyah Khan on Jul 01, 2011 at 12:20 PM


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