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Vivek Kundra Quits As Federal CIO 90

Posted by timothy
from the depart-for-cooler-climes dept.
CWmike writes "The first person ever appointed as the CIO of the federal government, Vivek Kundra, is resigning after two and a half years on the job, the White House said Thursday. There was no hint in the announcement made by Jack Lew, director of the Office of Management and Budget, that Kundra's exit was prompted by a shift in the White House's view on IT. Lew, who praised the CIO's work, said Kundra was leaving to take a fellowship at Harvard. Kundra was appointed CIO a few months after President Barack Obama took office. He immediately outlined an agenda that emphasized cloud adoption, use of consumer technologies, and making data available to the public on new sites, such as data.gov. He was critical of big IT contracts that moved too slowly and were at risk of failing."
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Vivek Kundra Quits As Federal CIO

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  • Good (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jhoegl (638955) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @06:31PM (#36468976)
    If he thinks the "cloud" is where the government should be going, he is a moron.
    Likely people started realizing they already had a cloud, like the British Government, and then realized he was talking out of his ass.
    Not to mention the security risks in a distributed, shared resource infrastructure.
    GG dumbass, you lasted 2 and a half years.
    • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

      by geekoid (135745)

      You're a moron. It is where all large organization should be going.

      "Not to mention the security risks in a distributed, shared resource infrastructure."

      Unlike every other storage medium?

      You're a twit.

      • by jbolden (176878)

        Depending how you count the federal government has a larger data infrastructure than all the cloud providers combined or at least is comparable.

      • by jhoegl (638955)
        Really? Large organizations should be going this route?
        Explain the advantages then, because all I see are disadvantages.
        Sure there are some good points to be made about testing, but anything beyond that is a very big question
        Do I think hosted email is a good thing? Googles offerings are killing it out there, so yes. And the security is close to what hosting email offers. Except for the fact that you have some super admins in the datacenters that have access, not because they want to, but because they hav
    • by szilagyi (633672)

      Not that he's not an idiot, I don't really know, but NIST has now defined "cloud" precisely enough and inclusively enough to cover private or internal clouds. So, you can safely advocate commodity cloud technologies for almost any purpose, really, and it doesn't mean ipso facto that you're an idiot. It doesn't imply that the government should be using Amazon for anything, just that, at least, they should consolidate their IT. In itself, that's not a bad thing, although, again, I don't know to defend or n

  • Watch him start a "consulting" business that counts among its clients some very high profile tech companies.
    • by mcmonkey (96054) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @06:40PM (#36469068) Homepage

      Watch him start a "consulting" business that counts among its clients some very high profile tech companies.

      That wouldn't be unusual for someone leaving a high profile government position, but...

      Lew said Kundra will move to Harvard in mid-August to serve as a joint fellow at the Kennedy School and at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society.

      • One of the great things about the Internet is that institutions like "the Kennedy School and at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society" are often seen as what they are... ivory tower idiocy. Not that academic study is a bad thing.. it's just one the Internet (at least until net neutrality is totally gone) an individual that doesn't have ties to the "elete" anything can still state an opinion and be lucky enough that someone listens to it.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          One of the great things about the Internet is that institutions like "the Kennedy School and at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society" are often seen as what they are... ivory tower idiocy.

          Yeah, let's all laugh at him and his comfortable six-figure salary "idiocy" while we scrape to make rent, and eek out a half decent living. We're better than him!

          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by Curunir_wolf (588405)

            Yeah, let's all laugh at him and his comfortable six-figure salary "idiocy" while we scrape to make rent, and eek out a half decent living. We're better than him!

            If you're paying the bills and eeking out a living, you're living the Dream! At least according to Obama [whitehouse.gov]. If you're not paying the bills, maybe you can get a special degree (or is it a "badge"?) so you can work in a factory. Living the Dream!!

    • by Jahava (946858)

      Watch him start a "consulting" business that counts among its clients some very high profile tech companies.

      Let him, and more power to him. In the real world he will be entirely accountable for his actions and have to stand for his competence. A foolish company who hires a bad security advisor will go down in flames with him arm-in-arm. He'll actually be put to the test, instead of just appointed. Maybe he'll be great? Who knows ... at least now we'll have actual data to judge him by.

      • by geekoid (135745)

        we already do.

        • by vaporland (713337)

          you are correct. when he was with VITA (Virginia Information Technology Agency) the rank and file considered him to be an egotistical idiot who took credit for the work of others. to quote an earlier /. post:

          Virginia's IT outsourcing/consolidation project to Northrup Grumman happened on Kundra's watch. It is an unmitigated disaster.

          Years into it, there's not even a complete inventory of the systems that NG is supposed to be managing for the Commonwealth, and at least as of a few months ago, NG couldn't even produce an invoice for the Commonwealth to pay that had more than six or eight line items on it.

          The Virginia legislature is NOT happy about the situation. Privately, you will hear from them words like "gross negligence" to "I'm convinced it's corruption". The Delegates who engineered the legislation enabling the IT outsourcing are especially pissed.

  • And they move slow as it's based on who can give the biggest kick back.

  • What are Almalexia and Sotha Sil going to do now? Who's going to hang on to the Wraithguard? What does the Nerevarine think about all this?
    • by artor3 (1344997)

      Considering Sotha Sil was and remains dead, I think he'll do whatever it is that dead gods do. Get digested by maggot gods, probably.

  • Skip Logic Rocks! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by 0p7imu5_P2im3 (973979) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @06:40PM (#36469066) Journal
    His speeches about how IT should be handled were some of the worst. He was most likely looking for buzz words on Wikipedia an hour before each of his speeches. No Agenda covered one of them and had some fun at his expense... but they never covered another one of his speeches IIRC. Not really surprised that Harvard took him.
    • by chill (34294)

      Amen! He was a politician.

      In government, where security is a higher consideration for data BY LAW, the whole "move quickly to the cloud" is a nightmare.

      His little stunt with whining about why gov't employees have to suffer with Blackberries instead of iPhones was a joke. (Hint: until they actually get FIPS 140-2 certified the answer is "NO".)

      If he had to ask the question, he wasn't qualified for the job.

      • by geekoid (135745)

        I'm not sure what you think his job entailed, but yes, he was qualified for the job. He was an excellent choice.

        Read his history, and try to understand what his job was.
        Hint: IT wasn't rolling out linux installs and answering support calls.

        He understand technology, and he knows how to get things done in politics.

        • Re:Skip Logic Rocks! (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Global-Lightning (166494) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @09:00PM (#36470230)

          Over the last two years I've had the opportunity to work with him and his staff. Some personal observations:
          1. No, he didn't understand technology. He understood marketing. Indeed there where times when he would remind me of Frank Abagnale Jr impersonating a doctor or lawyer. When the discussion would turn technical he would get this deer-in-the-headlights expression. Perhaps most troubling was his lack of even a basic understanding of IT security concepts; as the Federal CIO you would have at least expected someone who would try to understand the legal obligations involved.
          2. He couldn't take criticism. When government reps raised security issues with his cloud plan, he would turn to his industry reps who would reassure him everything would be OK. He surrounded himself with yes-men, creating an echo chamber where anything that would contradict his 'brilliant' ideas would be promptly excised.
          3. Outside OMB, he had no support in the federal government. Federal CIOs treated him respectfully, but they knew he had no legal or fiscal authority for any of his plans; most decided to play along and wait for his term to expire. His relationship with Congress was even worst; the Hill would usually outright ignore him.

          I already know of several Federal CIOs who are now revising thier 2012 budgets to write out Kundra's pet programs. His legacy would go past this October.

          • by guruevi (827432)

            Sounds like most CIO's I know. None of the understand technology, at best they have an MBA, they can't take criticism, flap their lips and in the end everybody just does their own thing.

        • He understand technology.

          You accidentally managed to sum up my opinion of him.

        • by Seumas (6865)

          Indeed. And I never saw any media outlet actually question anything about him or his role or his background. They just reported the appointment with glee and moved on.

          The transcript of Vivek Kundra's infamous speech to the FCC (I think it was in 2010?).

          “And think about this, I know there are people on Second Life right now, but imagine a Universe where you have the Star-Trek holodeck where you could literally ask the computer, err, to act or ask questions to get answers. In the same way, if you look a

          • by Seumas (6865)

            And I'm replying to the wrong person in the read above, because clearly he was not qualified.

  • by Eol1 (208982) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @07:05PM (#36469284) Homepage Journal

    The only surprise here is he lasted so long. The Federal CIO has zero authority hence it's a thankless exercise in futility. Under both FISMA and CCA all IT authority is with the Agency Head, OMB Director, and NIST. The Mr. Kundra had no authority, no control, no budget, no nothing my guess is the only reason he took the job was he was a former private sector employee and most likely had buyers regret within the week. No sane civil servant would take this position short of as a temp position to a backroom deal which ended with a lateral transfer promotion somewhere else or a high three with the expectation of doing nothing and accomplishing nothing (the only realistic goal under the existing legal/regulatory framework which governs that position) .

    • by geekmux (1040042) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @07:14PM (#36469334)

      ...The Mr. Kundra had no authority, no control, no budget, no nothing my guess is the only reason he took the job was he was a former private sector employee and most likely had buyers regret within the week...

      Quite frankly, if anyone above the title of "Manager" takes a position within IT without knowing their actual level of authority to effect real change or wield power, then they should probably rethink a new career field...or add "idiot" to their title.

    • by geekoid (135745)

      I would. He got to drive technology.

      Yeah, you keep guessing and talking out your ass instead of going to wikipedia and see his write up.

  • Tired? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by amightywind (691887)
    He got tired of being owned by the Chinese. A master of bullsh*t bingo with the right skin color, nothing more.
  • http://www.dvorak.org/blog/2009/08/12/special-report-is-us-chief-information-officer-cio-vivek-kundra-a-phony/

    • by jvkjvk (102057)

      You fail.

      That FA you cite is basic hit piece, full of innuendo and supposition, including the first fucking line:

      Is US Chief Information Officer (CIO) Vivek Kundra a Phony?

      and such gems as:

      The emergence of Kundra is something that needs more research.

      I have not verified it, but itâ(TM)s probably true.

      I first suspected something was fishy about this fellow by listening to him on CSPAN where he simply did not sound like someone who studied computers or technology.

      But, to be honest about it, and despite the possible fraudulent bios and non-existent degrees, the kicker for me was that even if he was squeaky clean he has no business being the USA CIO controlling billions and billions of dollars in government contracts.

      I think that's enough of that shit.

      Now, as far as what has actually happened during his term:

      From Wikipedia:

      Mr. Kundra published a 25-point implementation plan [32]to reform how the Federal government manages information technology. The execution plan follows his decision to reevaluate some of the government's most troubled IT projects.[33] Of 38 projects reviewed, four have been canceled,[34] 11 have been rescoped and 12 have cut the time for delivery of functionality down by more than half, from two to three years down to an average of 8 months, achieving a total of $3 billion in lifecycle budget reductions.

      Regards.

  • There was no hint in the announcement made by Jack Lew, director of the Office of Management and Budget, that Kundra's exit was prompted by a shift in the White House's view on IT.

    You mean how greedy businesses have caused job-killing structural changes in the economy by implementing efficiencies like ATM machines and airport kiosks [atmmarketplace.com] that hurt workers?

    • There was no hint in the announcement made by Jack Lew, director of the Office of Management and Budget, that Kundra's exit was prompted by a shift in the White House's view on IT.

      You mean how greedy businesses have caused job-killing structural changes in the economy by implementing efficiencies like ATM machines and airport kiosks [atmmarketplace.com] that hurt workers?

      Nowhere in the article you provided did I see that tone. Instead, the tone was simply stating that certain types of jobs are now obsolete (or their demand has dramatically reduced) due to technology. Similar to the decline of buggy and whip makers.

      Obama:

      "There are some structural issues with our economy where a lot of businesses have learned to become much more efficient with a lot fewer workers. You see it when you go to a bank and you use an ATM, you don't go to a bank teller, or you go to the airport and you're using a kiosk instead of checking in at the gate. All these things have created changes in the economy, and what we have to do ... is identifying where the jobs for the future are going to be."

      • by jvkjvk (102057)

        I have to agree with you. Leaving aside every other issue from the RIAA to telecom immunity to the Patriot Act, etc., he is merely stating the truth here.

        Every piece of automation that replaces a person puts that person out of work at that job. It remains to be sen if there will exist enough "jobs" to sustain capitalism once a bunch more is automated. I think that Obama is merely foreshadowing that, although he is blind as to it's end point.

        He only sees the possibility of every one continuing to work! w

        • Ultimately, human beings are capitol too. But in the business world, we often forget that we are still human and not simply drones milling out another paycheck. This spans everyone from the stressed out CEO to the local landscaping worker whom is self-employed. The problem isn't automation, but the pace of it. Technology, work flow processes, and culture changes all the time. Blacksmithing lead to the industrialization of materials. Farming lead to massive industrialized agriculture. Radio technology (tubes

        • by dkf (304284)

          Every piece of automation that replaces a person puts that person out of work at that job.

          The real question is whether it is better for that person to not be doing that job in the first place. Perhaps they'd be better off overall doing something else. If that's so, then that old job is better automated. (OTOH, just doing them out of a job and leaving them on the dole is not better overall; joblessness is the source of all sorts of social ills. Make-work is better than no-work, even if nowhere near as good as real work.)

          • by maraist (68387) *
            If Gov has to raise taxes or print money to pay a worker to dig a ditch, or do a job that could have saved money over a 5 year period through automation (produced domestically), then I'm not sure that job was worth saving - as it constitutes a burden on remaining workers.. Now, MOST automation tools today have a large foreign manufactured aspect, and thus contribute to trade deficits and don't trade domestic unskilled for comparable skilled labor. And many automation systems are far more expensive than a 5
        • by Shotgun (30919)

          The point that his detractors are trying to point out isn't that he is telling the truth. For the love of Pete, he is stating what is blatantly obvious. The point they're trying to make is that Obama is using ATM machines (which have been around for 25yrs) as an excuse to deflect blame away from himself for the lackluster economy in the US. It's not that he's wrong that ATM machines are eliminating jobs. He's wrong that it has eliminated jobs since he has been in (partial) control.

      • Nowhere in the article you provided did I see that tone.

        No, of course not. Gotta promote this meme that "efficiency" is keeping the unemployment rate high, when in fact those things existed back when unemployment was less than 5%, and didn't seem to keep people from finding work...

        But we've got to find something to blame (other than ourselves) for our ruinous cronyism and extreme level of debt and spending.

    • by kisak (524062)
      What Obama is saying is that you have to educate people to the jobs of the future instead of bank tellers. Obama is basically just stating an obvious fact and faux news misrepresents it to help the republican party. The US is facing a lot of problems these days, and this smearing instead of having honest discussions to find solutions is a big part of it.
      • What Obama is saying is that you have to educate people to the jobs of the future instead of bank tellers. Obama is basically just stating an obvious fact and faux news misrepresents it to help the republican party. The US is facing a lot of problems these days, and this smearing instead of having honest discussions to find solutions is a big part of it.

        What does "faux news" (real mature) have to do with it? There are lots of problems, yes, and Obama has either perpetuated the causes or is ignoring the - and NONE were caused by ATMs or kiosks - it's just a deflection. No need for a "smear", he is obviously not addressing the issues, just trying to assign blame. And blaming companies for "efficiencies" like ATMs, kiosks, or any other technological innovation is unhelpful and disingenuous.

        Call this sort of transparent tripe "honest" is not even a stretc

  • So I guess it's no big mystery why he's gone now, is it.

  • by walterbyrd (182728) on Thursday June 16, 2011 @11:30PM (#36471000)

    As Fed CIO Kundra Departs, Will Progress Stall?

    Federal CIO Vivek Kundra has put the wheels in motion for federal IT reform, throwing his weight behind open government, cloud computing, data center consolidation, rigorous project management, and improved customer service. Now that Kundra has announced plans to leave his position in August, the trick will be to keep the momentum behind what he started.

    http://www.informationweek.com/news/government/leadership/230800088

    As I remember, Kundra was considered a complete fraud. He had no worthwhile credentials. He never did anything worthwhile. He was even caught shop-lifting. He was only appointed because Obama was obeying India.

    But that does not stop Informationweek from sucking up to Kundra: "Oh how will live without such an extraordinary talent! How can he leave when we so desperately need the best and brightest in DC!? How awful to such amazing "progress" stall."

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by artor3 (1344997)

      What you remember was the typical character assassination hatchet jobs. They make headlines like "Is Kundra a fraud?", and you remember "Kundra, fraud".

      Of course, you were probably predisposed to hate him. The fact that you would write something like "Obama was obeying India" shows that you have no understanding of the world outside the poison Fox and Friends pours into your mind.

      • by dotfile (536191)
        Of course, of course!! If anyone says anything less than worshipful about The Anointed One or one of His appointees, then obviously they must be no more than a shambling, mindless right-wing redneck who does nothing but watch Fox News and club small animals for fun.

        Wake up and take a peek past your own reality distortion field. This guy doesn't have the qualifications to be the CIO of a gas station, let alone the US government. Like so many in the current administration, he seems to have had no practic
        • > However, it's pretty obvious that he got the job mainly because of it.

          What evidence do you have for this? Aside from Kundra being Indian and Obama being other than "not a single drop" white, I mean.

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