Aneesh Chopra has been named the nation’s first chief technology officer. The news was announced Saturday during President Obama’s weekly address. As federal CTO, Chopra will work alongside Jeffrey Zients, the new chief performance officer, and Federal CIO Vivek Kundra, who’s responsible for setting technology policy across the government.
Since he entered public life in January 2006, Chopra has been widely praised for finding innovative ways to leverage technology on behalf of 21st century governance. As Secretary of Technology for the Commonwealth of Virginia, Chopra has been credited with making the state among the best performing in the nation. In what may signal his approach on the national level, Chopra has utilized technology based upon three pillars: a commitment to open government, an ability to transform the health care system, and a desire to ensure an innovation-powered economic growth strategy.
Collaboration with private sector
Collaboration with the private sector has been a key part of Chopra’s approach to technology on the state level. Thanks to Google’s site map protocols, for example, the site, Virginia.gov, now allows visitors to search for information across all levels of state government. Meanwhile, collaboration with Northrop Grumman has yielded a more robust, modern IT infrastructure for the commonwealth. On the transparency side, the site Virginia Performs provides state residents a scorecard of how their tax dollars are being put to use.
“Our strategy starts with strengthening the quality of our highly skilled workforce, targeting R&D investments in markets that benefit our growing employers, and establishing a robust broadband infrastructure throughout the commonwealth so all may participate,” said Chopra in a 2007 interview with ExecutiveBiz, outlining other aspects of his agenda.
So, what strategy will Chopra employ as federal CTO? Vivek Kundra might offer a few clues on the direction of a federal CIO-CTO partnership when he speaks before Potomac Officers Club on May 5. (Details here.)
What they’re saying
Chopra’s appointment is being met with enthusiastic response from the government contracting community, business leaders, and other industry experts. Here’s what they’re telling ExecutiveBiz:
“The appointment of Aneesh Chopra is in keeping with the new administration’s goal of using technology to transform the way citizen services are delivered and provide transparency to the public on the performance of government. His experience in Virginia leading efforts around health IT to decrease medical costs and improve patient safety, as well as using technology to boost broadband access, illustrates the innovation he will bring to this exciting new role.” — Anne Altman, IBM’s Senior State Executive for Virginia
“With his private sector experience in leading a healthcare strategy consulting company and his educational background in public policy, Aneesh has the experience and talent to play an instrumental role in bringing technology driven efficiencies into much needed public sector healthcare. Streamlining the discrete federal, state, and local healthcare systems in the US by breaking down the information silos will improve health outcomes and services, reduce fraud and abuse, and start the process of overhauling the nation’s healthcare delivery system.” — B. Chatterjee, President, CNSI
“Given everything that he was able to accomplish in Virginia as its CTO, its hard to imagine a better choice for the nation. Government has severely lagged the private sector in its adoption of technology to drive efficiency, productivity, and transparency and these were all things that Aneesh measurably achieved in a short amount of time in the state. It’s the perfect choice.” — Mark Ein
“Aneesh is an excellent choice. He brings both business savvy and technology insight.” — Carly Fiorina, Chair Technology Policy Institute and former CEO of Hewlett Packard
“Oracle applauds the appointment of Aneesh Chopra to the position of CTO for the US Federal Government. Aneesh’s leadership and vision will bring innovation to all aspects of technology and its critical role within government.” — Mark Johnson, Senior Vice President, Oracle Public Sector
“During his tenure as CTO of the Commonwealth of Virginia, Aneesh has consistently shown how the power of technology can strengthen the bonds between state government and its citizens. His experience cuts across government and education – from his leadership on government information-sharing, to citizenship efforts, to wiring Virginia schools and helping train its workforce. For a national CTO role, that is the type of vision and action the country needs.”
— Curt Kolcun, Microsoft’s Vice President of U.S. Public Sector
“The combination of Aneesh Chopra and Vivek Kundra brings together two thoughtful, energetic IT leaders who have the clear potential of providing real IT leadership for our government.”
— Renny DiPentima, former CEO, SRA
“Aneesh Chopra is a proven technology leader … to help steer our government’s current and future technology investments. Aneesh will bring a considerable level of intellect, energy, and vision to this position at a critical juncture in our country’s history. Aneesh’s past technology leadership positions within the greater Washington region and as secretary of technology for the Commonwealth of Virginia have positioned him as the best leader to take on this important leadership role.”
— Shiv Krishnan, CEO, INDUS Corporation
“Aneesh Chopra has been a true leader in bringing a visionary approach to the use of technology throughout Virginia. He has been instrumental in promoting public-private partnerships to help bridge the technology gap between government and all of its citizens, while creating jobs. Aneesh has helped create an environment of collaboration and transparency through the Commonwealth which has produced transformational results in key mission critical areas such as health care and other vital services. I am sure he will do the same in his new role as Chief Technology Officer in the Obama Administration.” — Donna Morea, President, CGI, US
“I believe the President made a great choice. Not only did Mr. Chopra serve on the President’s transition team for technology, innovation and government reform prior to the inauguration, but he has also demonstrated in his role as Virginia’s secretary of technology that he is a champion of the web, open systems and technological innovation.” — Dennis Stolkey, senior vice president of U.S. Public Sector at EDS, an HP company.
“Aneesh brings tremendous passion and practical experience in applying technology innovations to dramatically transform operations in the government as well as business sectors. As the CTO, Aneesh will be a great asset not only to the federal government, but the entire country during this critical time. His expertise in key areas such as health care, education, and economic development will provide a fresh perspective in addressing key challenges with innovative ideas.” — Venkatapathi Puvvada (PV), Vice President and Managing Partner at Unisys Federal Systems.