Back in 2005, chiefs were something of a novelty. Chief financial officers had been around for 15 years, but other top officials, like chief human capital officers, still were getting their sea legs. Now not only CFOs and CHCOs, but chiefs of acquisition, information and information security are a familiar part of the federal landscape.
That, in turn, means the stakes for these officials are much higher. CFOs are on the hook for cutting down on hundreds of billions of dollars in erroneous payments. CHCOs must make good on the Obama administration's pledge to overhaul the federal personnel system, starting with the hiring process. CIOs are being asked to put an overwhelming amount of federal data online, shift key functions to the Web's cloud and consolidate data centers. CISOs are charged with nothing less than preventing a digital Pearl Harbor. And CAOs must oversee an effort to substantially reduce the government's reliance on contractors, especially for acquisition oversight.
The most successful chiefs are ahead of the game in tackling these challenges. This year, for the first time, we've identified some of them to highlight as Chiefs of the Year. We asked our reporters who cover the work of the various chiefs to identify individual executives who are coming up with innovative ways of meeting critical objectives. The point is not that these people are necessarily unsurpassed in their fields, but that their peers have much to learn from their experiences. Throughout the week we'll roll out the Chiefs of the Year, one per day: Information Security: John Streufert, State Department
Human Capital: Jeff Neal, Homeland Security Department
Finance: Mark Easton, Defense Department
Information: Roger Baker, Veterans Affairs Department
Acquisition: Hugh Hurwitz, Education Department