Obama names new federal CIO

Kundra speaks at Maryland's High Tech Council last year. Kundra speaks at Maryland's High Tech Council last year. Flickr user ckramer
President Obama Thursday named Vivek Kundra to serve as federal chief information officer at the White House.

As CIO, Obama said, Kundra would work closely with a still-to-be-named chief technology officer to implement the administration's technology agenda.

The position is newly created. It has not existed in previous administrations.

In the job, Obama said, Kundra "will play a key role in making sure our government is running in the most secure, open, and efficient way possible."

The federal CIO, according to a White House announcement, "directs the policy and strategic planning of federal information technology investments and is responsible for oversight of federal technology spending." That includes establishing and overseeing an enterprise architecture for federal systems.

Kundra has been rumored to be a candidate both for the CTO job and to be administrator for e-government and information technology in the Office of Management and Budget. He had been serving as chief technology officer for the District of Columbia, where he was responsible for managing technology operations at 86 city agencies.

Kundra has drawn attention for his innovative approach to managing the District's IT investments, including his use of a stock portfolio approach for tracking projects and his interest in encouraging public involvement in government -- an Obama campaign promise, as well. He developed the AppsForDemocracy contest, which challenged citizens to come up with new ways of using technology to make government information widely available.

Prior to joining D.C. government, Kundra served as assistant secretary of commerce and technology for the Commonwealth of Virginia under Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine. He also served as director of infrastructure technology for Arlington County in Virginia.

Kundra also worked as vice president of marketing for Evincible Software, which provided electronic signatures and identity management for financial services companies and the Defense Department. In addition, he served on the adjunct faculty at the University of Maryland, where he received a bachelor degree in psychology and a master's in information technology.

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