Federal Times Blogs

White House names former HHS exec federal CTO

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President Obama last week appointed Health and Human Services Chief Technology Officer Todd Park to oversee technology innovation across the federal government.

Park will fill the position of federal CTO, left vacant by Aneesh Chopra in January. In his new role, Park will work with federal Deputy CTO for Telecommunications Tom Power to ensure the adoption of innovative technologies that support job creation, access to affordable healthcare, open government and other administration priorities.

“Todd Park has demonstrated a remarkable talent for enlisting innovative technologies to modernize government, reduce waste, and make government information more accessible to the public,” Obama said in a statement. “In his new position he will bring those skills to the entire federal enterprise, ensuring that government will serve all Americans fairly, effectively, and efficiently.”  

Over the past two years, Park’s work at HHS has included the creation of healthcare.gov, a consumer website that lists public and private health insurance plans by zip code and efforts to make HHS health data accessible to the public and app developers.

Park worked on health care strategy, technology and operations as a management consultant at Booz Allen & Hamilton before he co-founded the health IT company Athenahealth in 1997. He was hired as an entrepreneur-in-residence at HHS in August 2009.

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Federal chief technology officer to step down

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The nation’s first federal chief technology officer is leaving his post, the White House announced Friday.

“As the federal government’s first Chief Technology Officer, Aneesh Chopra did groundbreaking work to bring our government into the 21st century,” President Obama said in a statement. “Aneesh found countless ways to engage the American people using technology, from electronic health records for veterans, to expanding access to broadband for rural communities, to modernizing government records.”

Chopra is considering running for lieutenant governor of Virginia, and he has been in conversations with influential political figures and donors, said a democratic official familiar with the situation, who asked not to be named.  

“The move he made today sends a pretty clear message,” the official said about Chopra’s decision to run as lieutenant governor.

Chopra was named federal CTO in May 2009 and also served as an assistant to the president and associate director for technology in the Office of Science and Technology Policy.  He worked closely with private and public sector officials, such as Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and HHS CTO Todd Park to make data open and accessible to information consumers and application developers.

The White House has not said who will fill his position.

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Cornell professor named NASA CTO

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NASA has named Cornell University Professor Mason Peck its new chief technology officer, the agency announced this week.  

As CTO, Peck will be NASA’s chief advisor and advocate for technology policy and programs, according to a news release. His office is responsible for coordinating, tracking and integrating NASA’s technology investments and communicating the impact of those investments on society.

Peck, who starts his new position in January, will replace former CTO Robert Braun. Braun resigned in September and has since resumed his teaching and research positions at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta.

Peck’s new assignment is through an “intergovernmental personnel agreement” with Cornell University, which allows him to remain teaching in the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and Systems Engineering Program.

His experience with aerospace technology dates back 20 years and includes work as a NASA engineer on various technology programs, such as the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System and Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites.


GPO names Davis new technology officer

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The Government Printing Office has named Richard Davis its chief technology officer.

In his new role, Davis will oversee the Office of Programs, Strategy and Technology, which includes development of GPO’s Federal Digital System.

The next generation system provides online access to federal documents and publications.

Prior to becoming CTO, Davis served as acting superintendent of documents and managing director of library services and content management. There he oversaw the transfer of government information to the FDsys.

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NASA CTOs open to ‘bring your own device’

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There were mixed feelings last month when the federal chief information officer proposed giving federal workers a $2,000 subsidy to buy their own laptops and smartphones.

Some balked at the idea and raised concerns that security would be at stake. But federal CIO Vivek Kundra’s proposal isn’t exactly far-fetched.

When NASA asked several of its chief technology officers where NASA technology is headed over the next five years, mobile computing took center stage.

James McClellan, CTO at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, said “I don’t think it’s much of a leap to say that 5 years from now the average NASA employee will be using a mobile computing platform that is essentially a nice display with a browser connected to all their content and social connections through the ubiquitous ‘cloud.’”

McClellan added that “employees may even be supplying their own preferred device (Bring Your Own Device-BYOD), enabled by the ability for NASA applications to be securely used on even a personal device via mobile app management profiles.”

Kundra has made it clear, the marriage of mobile applications and mobile environments will be “hardwired in the DNA of any new system that’s actually developed.”

At NASA, the use of smartphone technology skyrocketed from 5,300 connected devices in January 2010 to 11,300 the same time this year. In NASA’s monthly publication from the Office of the CIO, agency managers had this to say about mobile computing:

Mobile device management technology will continue to improve, enabling NASA to secure, monitor, and manage corporate data on both Government-issued and employee owned devices. Tablets will continue to gain acceptance in NASA with increased vendor diversity, though Apple will remain the leader.

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Transition Watch: Obama Names Vivek Kundra Government's Chief Information Officer

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After weeks of speculation, it’s official. The White House announced today that Vivek Kundra will be the government’s chief information officer.

Kundra has served as the chief technology officer for Washington, D.C. since 2007. In his new role, he will direct governmentwide information technology investments, policy and spending oversight.  When a governmentwide chief technology officer is named, they will work together to advance the president’s technology agenda.

We’ll have more for you following a news conference with Kundra later today.

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