In his address last Saturday, President Obama named Aneesh Chopra, currently Secretary of Technology for the Commonwealth of Virginia, as the new US CTO. This announcement for the new CTO was overdue after the appointment of Vivek Kundraas the Chief Information Officer. This happened in conjunction with the appointment of Jeffrey Zients as the new Chief Performance Officer.
Obama said that “Aneesh will promote technological innovation to help achieve US most urgent priorities, from creating jobs and reducing health care costs to keeping the nation secure“. He also said that Jeffrey and Aneesh will work closely with Vivek, “who is responsible for setting technology policies across the government and using technology to improve security, ensure transparency and lower costs“.
Obama concluded that the goal is “to give all Americans a voice in their government and ensure they know exactly how we are spending their money“.
It will be interesting to watch how the three chiefs relate to and support each other. As far as the CTO role is concerned, my colleague Dave McClure just published a Gartner research note (subscription required) to discuss the characteristics of this very important position. In his note, Dave says that “In general, CIOs in government are focused more on addressing the immediate business needs of major programs and mission areas while the CTO is much more technology-focused. As a result, CIOs focus on inward-facing and more-immediate technology needs, while CTOs are focused on external-facing technology capabilities with citizens and businesses.“.
Obama’s words suggest that this might well be the case.
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