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Should the United States' New CTO Really Be a CIO? 243

CurtMonash writes "Barack Obama promised to appoint the United States' first Chief Technology Officer. Naturally, the blogosphere is full of discussion as to who that should be. I favor American Management Systems founder and former IRS Commissioner Charles Rossotti. Richard Koman thinks it should be one of the better state CTOs. John Doerr, going in a different direction, thinks it should be his partner Bill Joy. We can bandy names back and forth all month, but first a more fundamental question needs to be answered: What do we need most — a get-things-done CIO (Chief Information Officer), or a more visionary true CTO? I think it's a CIO, and based on his campaign statements it appears Obama agrees. Management of government IT is a huge, generally unsolved problem, and we need somebody deeply experienced to have a fighting chance. Of course, that doesn't preclude recruiting a visionary CTO in addition, but the highest priority is a CIO. What do you think?"
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Should the United States' New CTO Really Be a CIO?

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  • Linus Torvaldes (Score:2, Insightful)

    Only Linus can do it. He's a visionary, he has good project managements skills, and he's not afraid to tell it like it is. Everyone else will be a corporate shill more interested in funneling money back to their own products.

    We need Linux and we need Linux.

    • Re:Linus Torvaldes (Score:5, Insightful)

      by dreamchaser ( 49529 ) on Saturday November 08, 2008 @09:28AM (#25686979) Homepage Journal

      Everyone else will be a corporate shill more interested in funneling money back to their own products.

      Which is exactly the kind of person who will be appointed. You don't really buy the 'new politics' crap do you? Lobbyists and high level corporate officers will remain the pool from which most appointments are drawn.

      Linus doesn't line anyone's pockets in Washington.

      • by itsthebin ( 725864 ) on Saturday November 08, 2008 @09:31AM (#25686991) Homepage
        I think it should be Bill Gates :)
        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by TheSpoom ( 715771 ) *

          It's like your comment goes so far into flamebait that it overflows and turns into insightful.

          • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 08, 2008 @11:42AM (#25687625)

            It's like your comment goes so far into flamebait that it overflows and turns into insightful.

            Can you cause the reader to execute arbitrary code that way?

            • I think instead of Linus Torvalds, the position should instead go to Bill Gates\n\nint main(int argc, char**argv) { extern struct room** parents_basement; extern struct shower*; extern struct girlfriend_s*; parents_basement->leave->now(); shower->now(SHAMPOO | BRUSH_TEETH); gf = girlfriend_s.get(GF_DOESNT_PLAY_WARCRAFT); return 0; }
          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by TheSpoom ( 715771 ) *

            Dear moderator,

            My comment was a joke, see?

            I enjoy haikus.

        • well, according to BusinessWeek, some "Washington Insiders" think Steve Ballmer might be in the running for CIO.

          i would be seriously disturbed if Ballmer is really being considered for CIO. corporate interests are rarely aligned with public interest, and Microsoft in particular has a long history of disreputable policies & actions. besides, Microsoft already has enough political sway in Washington.

          i'd prefer that the position was given to someone outside of the commercial/corporate sector who wouldn't p

        • But if we consider his pick for Chief of Staff, Rahm(bo) Emmanuel. Steve Ballmer might fit in better. Both are well known for having violent tempers.
      • Re:Linus Torvaldes (Score:5, Insightful)

        by xant ( 99438 ) on Saturday November 08, 2008 @11:16AM (#25687501) Homepage

        Nobody lined Obama's pockets except me and thirty million of my fellow Americans, 25 bucks at a time. Can't you cynics keep it to a dull roar for even the two months it'll take to get him sworn in? Wait and see what happens.

        • Re:Linus Torvaldes (Score:4, Insightful)

          by sumdumass ( 711423 ) on Saturday November 08, 2008 @12:17PM (#25687813) Journal

          Well, actually, we don't know that for sure. Obama's web donations campaign turned off ther fraud check name validation on the credit cards which meant that not only were they were perfectly happy accepting a donation on a credit card owned by Joe Six Pack under the name Joe Q Public, they went through specific trouble to make it possible.

          You may believe the hype, you might even be wanting to perpetuate it. But there are simple facts about obama or his campaign team that don't completely hold water. And this isn't even starting to go into the business of the foreign donations and all. If you cared to know anything about that, you can easily do a google search and find stories on them. Simply look for "Obama turned off credit card fraud detections" and "foreigners donating to Obama"

          BTW, this claim that he raised most of his money from private contributors isn't an accurate representation when he didn't verify who was sending him money. It simply can't be as one report found out, with the credit card fraud stuff disabled, he was able to donate $20- ten times in different names all of which contained the letters Barack Obama spelled in different ways. It will take years for the FEC to sort that out but it shows a picture that people should at least be questioning.

          Claiming that no pac or corporate or foreign money was donated simply because you stopped checking where the source of the money came from does not make it true. In fact, I'm not sure how you can even make the claim after you stopped checking where the money was coming from.

          • Re:Linus Torvaldes (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Jimmy_B ( 129296 ) <slashdot@jimran[ ]h.org ['dom' in gap]> on Saturday November 08, 2008 @12:58PM (#25688105) Homepage

            Your sources show that it was possible to donate to Obama anonymously, and that some people probably did so. That's not a problem, because anonymous donations can't buy influence; the problem is when someone donates tons of money and the candidate returns the favor.

            The thing you mention about fraud detection sounds like a technicality that would have been decided by the bank or by a low-ranking system administrator, not by Obama himself. And you didn't provide any sources.

            These days, it seems like conservatives are so desperate for dirt that they'll latch onto anything, even if it's completely artificial. Bush was corrupt, but saying "Democrats are corrupt too!" isn't a defense, isn't true, and isn't very mature.

            • Your sources show that it was possible to donate to Obama anonymously, and that some people probably did so. That's not a problem, because anonymous donations can't buy influence; the problem is when someone donates tons of money and the candidate returns the favor.

              Anaymouse sources definately can buy influence. Suppose the National kill all puppies organization supported obama because of his abortion policies. Now, a group like that, fictional or not, would probably be detrimental to Obama's chances of

              • Re:Linus Torvaldes (Score:5, Informative)

                by Jimmy_B ( 129296 ) <slashdot@jimran[ ]h.org ['dom' in gap]> on Saturday November 08, 2008 @05:01PM (#25689583) Homepage

                I did a little research, and figured out the real reason for not doing fraud-checking on donations. It seems that, when criminals steal a credit card, they first test it by making a small donation to a charity, to find out whether or not the card works, before they start using it to buy stuff. This has been going on since long before the presidential race started, affects all charities, and is well known. If the credit card company rejects the test transaction, then the thief throws out that card and tries again with a different one. On the other hand, if the test transaction goes through but the next one gets flagged, then the bank finds out what address the thief tried to have stuff mailed to. What probably happened is that someone at the bank noticed that people were testing stolen cards by donating to the Obama campaign, and decided that it was best to always let the donation go through, but then apply extra scrutiny to the next transaction on that card. The Obama campaign doesn't care (they get a chargeback and no money either way), but the bank saves a lot of money that way.

          • But there are simple facts about obama or his campaign team that don't completely hold water.

            Well, as long as he doesn't laugh while sending people to be executed, he'll still be an improvement.

        • Oh great, an entirely democratic 2/3rds of the government - we'll end up with 99% tax rate and have 70 mile government sponsored lunch lines in every town....

          Not that a corporate-whoring all republican government would be any better...

          End bi-partisanship - ban political parties altogether, and hold politicians fiscally responsible for overspending - ban corporate entities from having a voice in the government...

          • by Anpheus ( 908711 )

            Ban political parties? That sounds awful like restricting freedom of speech and assembly.

            Hold politicians responsible for overspending? We'd never have gotten out of... any war ever. We'd be too busy lynching our leaders.

            Ban corporate entities? You mean persons? Because trust me, it isn't that this big booming "MICROSOFT" logo drops down into Capitol Hill and starts telling people what to do. It's a suave lobbyist who knows who to talk to and has garnered at least a smidgen of trust from people in the capit

            • You don't have to ban parties. Just leave their names off the ballot. Why does the government have to bend to the will of private organizations and put the letter R or D or I next to the person's name on the ballot?

              The only reason to do so is to allow uninformed voters easily vote a straight ticket thereby perpetuating the current parties stranglehold on government. Hell, some ballots have a single box you can fill in to vote a straight ticket, you don't even have to go to the trouble of marking each candid

            • Ugh - I'm not typing / thinking straight... 4 hours sleep in the last week....

              Just meant abolish the two party system - make candidates run standalone - with whoever gets behind them - the people who would be behind a candidate might change every election based on what that individual stands for - not what the *party* stands for (or in many cases - doesn't stand for).

              As to corporations - while treated like an entity (I won't say person) for tax purposes, they should not be allowed to have a greater voice

              • by Anpheus ( 908711 )

                I see, but what about individuals in the corporation?

                No matter what you do, there will be loopholes.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by bendodge ( 998616 )

          Although it'd be nice to believe that a socialist poltician got his money from the masses, it's not true. Obama's pockets were lined by George Soros's MoveOn.org, . Do some searches like 'obama campaign finance fraud' and 'obama foreign donations'.

          It turns out that half of Obama's haul in 2008 has come in contributions of $200 dollars or less. These small donations do not require public disclosure under FEC guidelines, and the Obama campaign refuses to make public its list of contributors. Obama earlier announced he'd accept public financing if the GOP nominee did the same (and then, of course, broke his pledge in June after realizing he'd far surpass previous fundraising records). So there's a pattern. By keeping his donor list secret now, the Illinois senator has heightened speculation of financial impropriety. Not only can Obama's inside operatives organize massive bundling operations outside the law, there are no safeguards against the new "fat cat" contributors who bundle their own cash. Hillary Clinton's Norman Hsu scandal from late-2007 points to the kind of abuses possible under the current regime. A more serious breach of faith may be taking place right now in the Obama camp.

          As Scott Mirengoff at Powerline reported on Thursday, the Obama campaign refuses to screen credit card contributions for potential fraudulent transactions, and thus any individual could make unlimited contributions using infinite aliases.
          http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/obamas-fundraising-fraud [pajamasmedia.com]

          • Re:Linus Torvaldes (Score:5, Insightful)

            by ukemike ( 956477 ) on Saturday November 08, 2008 @01:59PM (#25688479) Homepage

            Although it'd be nice to believe that a socialist poltician got his money from the masses, it's not true. Obama's pockets were lined by George Soros's MoveOn.org, . Do some searches like 'obama campaign finance fraud' and 'obama foreign donations'.

            Boy there are sooo many things wrong with this statement.

            First, though I would like it if Obama really was a socialist he isn't. He isn't even close. Anyone who believes that a progressive income tax is socialism has no understanding of what socialism is.

            Next, George Soros is a dyed in the wool capitalist. He would not support a real socialist candidate.

            Next, Move On does not belong to George Soros. It is controlled by a small cabal of people that could be characterized as "progressive democrats." What is special about MoveOn, is that they were really the first organization that really leveraged some effective techniques for on-line organizing and on-line fund raising. They were in the right position to tap into the very deep current of disgust at the Bush policies. They are also not very democratically controlled, and often make dumb tactical mistakes.

            Last, drinking the Fox news cool-aid that typically leads to the kinds of irrational thinking displayed above, also causes bigotry, irrational fears, and eventually permanent brain damage. You really ought to lay off that stuff and pick a safer recreational drug like sniffing gasoline or mainlining speedballs.

      • I think there should be a cabinet position, The Secretary of Science and Technology. Put the EPA, NSF, etc. under that department. One of the key positions would be Undersecretary for Information Services (who would be like a CIO) Of course the first time we get another republican in the white house they'd probably pick Sarah Palin to be the Sec of S&T. Oh well.
    • Somehow, I'm less worried about the Government CTO (though they're still important) as I am about the new Copyright Czar. What will we do if he picks some ex-RIAA flack? I know that Lessig is close to Obama, so I can only hope that he gets good advice.

      Personally, I'd ask William Patry. He's more of a moderate, but that's why his choice would be politically safe. He's also one of the world's foremost experts on copyrights, so that's another plus. But because he's no fan of the MAFIAA's expansionist view

  • new territory (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gEvil (beta) ( 945888 ) on Saturday November 08, 2008 @09:24AM (#25686965)
    Since this position is pretty much new territory for the government, and since there will likely only be a single position created, it will probably end up being a hybrid CIO/CTO position anyways. As for who it should be, the Rossotti suggestion seems fairly reasonable. My father has worked for AMS for the past 20+ years on a number of government contracts. The one thing he always comes back saying is how screwed up and redundant a lot of the setups are--it's layer upon layer of hackjobs just to get the various systems to talk to one another. Rossotti is well aware of the current state of technology affairs within the government. I'm sure there are plenty others like him, but he is definitely someone who would be in a position to help clean up some of the mess that's there.
    • Re:new territory (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Registered Coward v2 ( 447531 ) on Saturday November 08, 2008 @09:32AM (#25687009)

      My father has worked for AMS for the past 20+ years on a number of government contracts. The one thing he always comes back saying is how screwed up and redundant a lot of the setups are--it's layer upon layer of hackjobs just to get the various systems to talk to one another. Rossotti is well aware of the current state of technology affairs within the government.

      Money is at the crux of this issue, in two ways:

      1) The government often is unwilling or unable to invest in the type of infrastructure they really need.

      2) Unless the CTO *really* controls all the various agencies IT budget the CTO will be powerless. Agencies will listen nicely and nod their collective heads; then do whatever the want to because it's their money, not the CTO's.

      1 can be fixed with a well thought out plan and budget; 2 will take real change and radically alter the power structure. I doubt that will happen. Trying to do so will accomplish one of the hardest things in DC - getting agency's to put aside their turf fights and unite to defeat a common enemy; in this case the CTO.

      • Re:new territory (Score:5, Insightful)

        by gEvil (beta) ( 945888 ) on Saturday November 08, 2008 @09:35AM (#25687021)
        Oh, fully agreed that it won't be easy, and may in fact be impossible. But I think having someone who's already well-versed in where things currently stand is a good place to start.
      • Re:new territory (Score:4, Interesting)

        by viridari ( 1138635 ) on Saturday November 08, 2008 @10:57AM (#25687409)

        Ah but if all of the federal IT assets and headcount are transferred under a new department run by this cabinet-level position, the appointee will then have the necessary power.

        It's pretty common in larger international companies to have a division or subsidiary that serves IS/IT needs to the rest of the company. IBM has IGS (which serves both internal and external customers). Johnson & Johnson has NCS. etc.

      • by iPaul ( 559200 )

        I agree. The person will not have much power over disparate agency budgets. They will, for the most part, be powerless in the direct sense of the word. However, I expect this person to set direction and make some ideas okay or not okay.

        It might be nice to have someone that forces the various agencies to think about other approaches to their problems. Given the size and complexity of the executive agencies, where systems range from lots of embedded devices (like the DoD) to more traditional IT systems an

      • Money is at the crux of this issue, in two ways:

        I noticed in your sig that you are a consultant. I am as well...to government agencies. I convert gibberish into cash-flow...but it's not the gibberish I spew. Bear all that in mind when I bring up my other points, also related to money:

        3) The *domain* in which an agency works determines what is optimal IT-wise for them to do their work. Some of that can, and should, be standardized way more. This is not always intuitive. (For example, a police departme

      • by PPH ( 736903 )

        I agree with your conclusions, to a point. #1 is true in that the government tends to throw billion$ down rat-holes with very little to show for it. These billions, properly invested, would be more than enough to aquire proper IT systems. But that's not happening now.

        #2 is correct as well. But the power structure being altered is that between the private contractors presently extracting the billions from the public coffers and the various agencies. They aren't going to put up with a single buyer any more t

    • by michaelepley ( 239861 ) on Saturday November 08, 2008 @10:13AM (#25687191) Homepage
      What a long winded and rambling question that really tries to play up the essentially artificial distinction between a CTO and a CIO, two abstract titles that are not particularly informative with respect to what the holders actually do. Most of the distinction seams manufactured by these same people to justify their titles.

      That said, it would not be surprising that I suspect it would ultimately be a hybrid CTO/CIO.
      • by turbidostato ( 878842 ) on Saturday November 08, 2008 @11:05AM (#25687449)

        "What a long winded and rambling question that really tries to play up the essentially artificial distinction between a CTO and a CIO"

        Quite to the point. I myself was considering answer the question "Should the United States' New CTO Really Be a CIO?" saying that Soulskill made some interesting points but that he took CTO and CIO's roles just reversed: on my book, the CIO is the one that might be "visionary" while the CTO is usually the "get-things-done" guy, so go figure.

        • If the CIO is the visionary, and the CTO is the get things done guy, I imagine that an Obama administration will want a CIO type of guy, seeing all the hope and change talk, with no real plan of action.
      • by iabervon ( 1971 )

        I'd actually say that the US needs a CTO, who would be responsible for identifying the most promising technologies to subsidize the development of. Someone who can look at the range of technologies that are under development, and decide whether it makes sense to go for more efficient production of renewable hydrocarbon fuels for cars and fuel-efficient hybrids, or whether we'd do better to produce more electricity in the midwest, transport it as compressed hydrogen gas, turn it back into electricity in the

  • by Ken Hall ( 40554 ) on Saturday November 08, 2008 @09:31AM (#25686995)

    Knowing the way politicians think, the obvious candidate would be the recently retired, and possibly available, Bill Gates. I can't think of anyone I'd like to see less though. Anyone know if Obama &co are clued in on techie issues?

  • CTO? (Score:4, Funny)

    by secondhand_Buddah ( 906643 ) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <haddub.dnahdnoces>> on Saturday November 08, 2008 @09:36AM (#25687027) Homepage Journal
    I hear Bill Gates might be looking for a job...
    • by kesuki ( 321456 )

      if by everybody you mean more than just animal life, and include the needs of thinking plants and abstract thinking constructs such as silicon based life. and beneficial bacterial strains, and even beneficial viruses. course there are dangerous viruses, and dangerous animals and dangerous plants and dangerous bacteria, but if you live all your life in a homogenized pasteurized way, soon the common cold will scare you.

  • CIO? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by exa ( 27197 ) on Saturday November 08, 2008 @09:40AM (#25687047) Homepage Journal

    Nah, what you guys need is a better technology visionary, not some super sysadmin

  • by FreeUser ( 11483 ) on Saturday November 08, 2008 @09:45AM (#25687063)

    In Wired, Issue 8.04, April 2000, Bill Joy wrote:

    "It is most of all the power of destructive self-replication in genetics, nanotechnology, and robotics that should give us pause. Self-replication is the modus operandi of genetic engineering, which uses the machinery of the cell to replicate its designs, and the prime danger underlying grey goo in nanotechnology. It is even possible that self-replication may be more fundamental than we thought, and hence harder--or even impossible--to control. The only realistic alternative I see is relinquishment: to limit development of the technologies that are too dangerous, by limiting our pursuit of certain kinds of knowledge."

    This sort of hysterical Ludditism is all too alive and well, and Bill Joy is (or has been) a Luddite of the first order with regards to genetic engineering, nanotechnology, and artificial intelligence.

    Unless he has seriously revised his stance, if Bill Joy becomes Obama's "Technology Czar" (what a stupid title "czar" is) we can look forward to a world where the most promising technologies are banned or severely curtailed in the US, with a high probability that international treaties will be pushed down the worlds throat to make the ban universal. At best, such technologies will be developed in China, India, and elsewhere (and at least some people will reap the benefits). This is IMHO, not the kind of person we need setting US political policies as regards technology.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      Do you happen to know what Bill Joys views on PHP are?

      Because if your description/quotes of his views on genetic engineering/nanotech are anything to go by he would have PHP banned as well.

      And by that I mean that he sounds like the perfect man for the job.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Animats ( 122034 )

      I went to the talk at Stanford where Joy said that. The overall reaction was "Huh?"

  • My pick... (Score:2, Funny)

    by SpeedyGonz ( 771424 )
    John Romero?

  • Really ? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by smoker2 ( 750216 ) on Saturday November 08, 2008 @09:51AM (#25687101) Homepage Journal
    So in a world where governments are trying to effectively monitor every part of your daily life, and are mainly held back by incompetence, do you think it's a good idea to have some body in charge who actually knows what they are doing ?
  • by Goldsmith ( 561202 ) on Saturday November 08, 2008 @10:01AM (#25687133)

    CTO often implies oversight of science as well as technology. This would be a very bad thing. The person in charge of IT, who makes technology recommendations to the FCC, and who advises the president on the future of computer technology should not be the same person who is in charge of the NIH, NSF and is advising the president on things like particle physics (and visa versa).

  • Technology not IT (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sane? ( 179855 ) on Saturday November 08, 2008 @10:04AM (#25687149)
    For such a CTO you need to make sure they are NOT just a information technology person - the real growth areas for the future are all outside IT. You need someone with a broad viewpoint and the ability to see the connections across widely varying areas. You also need them to be able to see consequences and how things will play out in future. An IT person is probably one of the worst picks you could make, too myopic.
  • ... when you want a CTO... you select a CIO?

    I guess you also take strawberry ice cream when you want chocolate?

    Maybe you should first find out what you want, and then find the person who can get it, instead of the other way around.

    And that's why you are just a "pundit" (aka. consultant), and no real leader.

  • I feel sorry for whoever gets the job. If the IRS was difficult to deal with, just think of the entire federal government. Besides the usual problems, he will have to deal with dozens of congressional committees for funding and the authority to make changes.
  • Why look? (Score:5, Funny)

    by pngmangi42 ( 1312017 ) on Saturday November 08, 2008 @10:21AM (#25687223)
    We already have a candidate. [xkcd.com]
  • First things first (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DerekLyons ( 302214 ) <fairwaterNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Saturday November 08, 2008 @10:34AM (#25687295) Homepage

    The first thing that needs to be done isn't to select the darling of the blogosphere - but rather to define what the hell a national level CIO/CTO does. What is his authority and how far does it reach? Etc... Etc...

  • Be careful what you ask for. Centralizing authority mean centralizing control and potentially restricting citizen access to open government. At one point, the Government Printing Office was arguing that it had a constitutional mandate to run all government websites because this was a form of publication. Anyone who ever had dealings with the GPO knows what a disaster this would have been.
  • Hmmm.... I'm thinking either Darl McBride [slashdot.org] or Carly Fiorina [slashdot.org] would be prefect picks.
  • by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Saturday November 08, 2008 @10:51AM (#25687381) Homepage Journal

    The Chief Information Officer directs not just all information technology, but also all information systems and procedures at the organization. The CIO has control of much more than the machines and their operation. The CIO has control of the org's media relationships, the corporate communications, the "brand ID", and a lot of other details. That power in the White House is much more a part of the Press Secretary and Communications Director offices. It's much more a human-powered bureaucracy than is CTO and the IT department.

    That CIO power is not at all what we're talking about. In an org like the White House, most of their business is communications and information. What we are talking about changing in the White House is someone who is on top of technology, whether internal to the White House or the goverment, or external in the nation or the world. That's a much more specific job, that does need a new post, a CTO.

    I think that the Google execs who are already hanging around Obama in public will be the ones to select and present potential CTOs for Obama and his exec team to choose from. I like the nation talking about possibilities in public, but I know that the job will be more influenced by the insiders than by website discussions. Some things never change, and maybe they shouldn't.

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Wozniak [wikipedia.org]

    Check the resume. He's got the vision thing and the technical chops. Plus he's stepped in educational technology issues, which is a very big deal.
  • has been that they're "my way or the highway" IT Nazis who believe that the rest of us are there to make his job easier. Most CIOs I've seen are narrowly focused on their own little empires, rather than on advancing the goals of the organization/business at large. And most of them have relatively little intellectual independence from their vendor base.

    God save us from CIOs!


  • CIO + FOSS (Score:3, Interesting)

    by markdavis ( 642305 ) on Saturday November 08, 2008 @11:28AM (#25687565)

    > "..addition, but the highest priority is a CIO. What do you think?"

    I think it should be a CIO. I also think that CIO should be ready and willing to start rolling out Open Source software in the government everywhere possible to save our tax money and foster innovation. Why do we continue to shell out billions of dollars for proprietary software when there are free alternatives?

    The CIO should also be involved (in some capacity) in IT competition, anti-monopoly issues, since it is apparent the Department of Justice doesn't know what the hell it has been doing over the last 20 years.

  • by RevWaldo ( 1186281 ) on Saturday November 08, 2008 @11:41AM (#25687611)
    The job will start off solely focused on the big picture, but after about six months...

    Setting: CxO's office - White House basement level

    Biden (in doorway): Knock, knock! Hey Steve-o! You in the middle of anything?

    CxO (not looking up from PC): Uh, yeah.

    Biden: Sorry! This is completely my bad. It'll just take two minutes. We're starting a meeting in the big conference room and can't get the other guys on the video. I know you showed me how before, but could you...

    CxO: (voiceover: Dumb f***!) (sighs) Uh, yeah, sure, be there in a sec.

    Biden (does a double pistol finger point): Owe you another one, big guy! (exits)
  • Why not have a CTO and a CIO?

  • That's like nominating my dad. Sure, he has over 30 years of experience in the Computer Industry as an engineer, but none of those years is in the past 10.

    CIOs have always been clueless.

  • Given the position will be at a very high level, someone who's more visionary than practical (at navigating the government side of it) would be a good choice. In fact, someone who's mired in the day to day problems of managing technology in government (whether on the contractor side or the government CTO/CIO side) might see limits more than opportunities. So hire someone from government IT management and you will get government IT management.

    However, there are enough people in government that come up with

  • Creating a federal CIO/CTO will *ensure* - absolutely and positively - a Windows monoculture.


  • Everything and nothing. I've read job descriptions from both that read the same. So first someone needs to clarify the role and responsibilities of the job. And how would this differ from any technology advisor (of which there are many.)

  • I'd want to see Steve Wozniak do it, but he definitely would need someone to run political interference and do the necessary head banking and arm twisting...

    Dean Kamen? Hmm... no.

    I know, how about Mr. Wolfram? Model government as a bunch of cellular automata..

"The number of Unix installations has grown to 10, with more expected." -- The Unix Programmer's Manual, 2nd Edition, June, 1972