Bush likely to name federal CIO, not technology 'czar'

While the transition staff for President-elect Bush weighs whether to create a senior White House high-tech adviser--or "czar," as some have dubbed the policy position--the Bush administration will probably designate a high-ranking official to serve as governmentwide chief information officer.

Observers believe it is likely Bush will issue an executive order designating the deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget as the federal CIO. Bush also is expected to propose creating a $100 million fund controlled by the CIO to support interagency information technology initiatives, according to sources.

Bush spokesman Ari Fleischer said the second-ranking official at OMB would have a focus on high-tech issues. He also said Bush never proposed during the campaign to create a "czar" and that others have used that term, though he added that no final decision has been made.

"We are reviewing and researching a variety of concepts" related to creating a high-level, White House high-tech policy position, said one Bush adviser. This source added: "But we want to make sure we are doing the right thing. This really remains on the drawing board... and there has been distaste about creating something new. When you say 'czar' you think lots of money, office and staff--and no one wanted to create that."

There has been debate within the high-tech community in recent days about whether Bush will indeed create a high-tech "czar," especially in the wake of Bush's meeting with high-tech executives in Austin last week. Those who attended the meeting said there had been some "off-the-cuff" discussions between Bush and the executives over whether it would be a good idea.

The Bush adviser said that while there had been a 5 percent chance of a czar being named three weeks ago, those prospects have grown to about 25 percent since the Austin meeting.

"There are just a whole host of problems if you put one person in charge" of high-tech policy, the adviser said. "If they don't have the staff, what power do they have?... The question is, if the current system isn't broke, why fix it?"

During the Clinton administration, the Commerce Department and the staffs of President Clinton and Vice President Al Gore handled electronic commerce and high-tech policy issues. The White House also has an Office of Science and Technology Policy, along with technology-related positions within OMB and the National Economic Council.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.