• Obama Taps Virginia Technology Officer as New Federal CTO
  • May 8, 2009 | Authors: Jennifer L. Richter; Carly T. Didden; Jennifer A. Cetta
  • Law Firm: Patton Boggs LLP - Washington Office
  • President Obama has announced his long awaited choice for Chief Technology Officer -- Aneesh Chopra.

    Chopra will join his former colleague Vivek Kundra, the national Chief Information Officer, on a team tasked with using information technology and the Internet to improve government, access to government programs and communications capabilities for the country as a whole. While Kundra will focus on government operations, Chopra’s role will be broader. Obama said in his Saturday radio address that "Aneesh and Jeffrey [Zients, the newly appointed Chief Innovation Officer] will work closely with our Chief Information Officer, Vivek Kundra, who is responsible for setting technology policy across the government, and using technology to improve security, ensure transparency, and lower costs," he said.

    Chopra now serves as Virginia’s Secretary of Technology, where he leads the Commonwealth’s strategy to leverage technology in government reform, to promote innovation, and to foster technology-related economic development. Previously, he worked as Managing Director with the Advisory Board Company, leading the firm’s Financial Leadership Council and the Working Council for Health Plan Executives.

    The White House description of the CTO’s job reveals that the CTO will develop "national strategies for using advanced technologies to transform our economy and our society, such as fostering private sector innovation, reducing administrative costs and medical errors using health IT, and using technology to change the way teachers teach and students learn."

    While the new CTO’s responsibilities aren’t entirely clear, Rep. Rick Boucher, D-VA, who oversees the House Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet, said that Chopra will be responsible in some measure for overseeing stimulus funds related to broadband, electronic health records and smartgrid.