Social Government

Meet Vivek Kundra, The Federal CIO

President Obama today announced former District of Columbia Chief Technology Officer Vivek Kundra will be the new federal chief information officer. Rumors had been swarming recently that Kundra, 34, would be appointed as the first federal CTO — a position that remains vacant.

Kundra in 2008. (David Clow - Maryland / Flickr)

Kundra in 2008. (David Clow - Maryland / Flickr)

Nevertheless, Kundra’s announcement is great news. He really likes the iPhone and Web 2.0.

“I believe the iPhone is the future for integrated voice, data and video,” Kundra told InfoWorld last year.

Perhaps he’ll convince President Obama to ditch his BlackBerry (or Sectera Edge) for an iPhone.

Obama now has one full time official to advance his technology agenda. Hopefully the CTO announcement will be coming soon, so this agenda can go full speed ahead.

“Vivek Kundra will bring a depth of experience in the technology arena and a commitment to lowering the cost of government operations to this position,” Obama said in a statement. “I have directed him 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.”

It appears that Kundra will work more to advance technology policy, while the CTO will work more to work on internal government operations. Nevertheless, the White House chose a very accomplished information technology expert to fill the CIO spot.

Congratulations, Vivek. We hope to see great things come from your White House tenure!

All About Vivek Kundra

Age: 34
Previous Jobs: CTO, Government of the District of Columbia; Assistant Secretary, Commerce and Technology, Commonwealth of Virginia; CEO of Creostar
Honors: 2008 InfoWorld Top 25 CTO
Education: Bachelor’s in Psychology and Biology, M.S. Information Technology — University of Maryland

[via The Washington Post, The White House, InfoWorld, D.C. Government]

Update: Saul Hansell of The New York Times has a great write-up about Kundra’s morning conference call. Most interesting:

Another initiative will be to create a new site, Data.gov, that will become a repository for all the information the government collects. He pointed to the benefits that have already come from publishing the data from the Human Genome Project by the National Institutes of Health as well as the information from military satellites that is now used in G.P.S. navigation devices.

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