April 20, 2009 By Elaine Rundle
Ending months of speculation, on Saturday President Barack Obama announced that Aneesh Chopra, Virginia's secretary of technology, would join the administration as the federal chief technology officer (CTO).
In his Virginia post, Chopra focused on operational policy for government and promoting economic development relative to the tech industry. His new post will also follow along those lines. The White House's press release said, "As chief technology officer, Chopra will promote technological innovation to help the country meet its goals from job creation, to reducing health-care costs, to protecting the homeland."
Video: Secretary of Technology Aneesh Chopra describes Virginia's Web 2.0 solution to outdated physics curricula.
Chopra was one of Government Technology's Top 25 Doers, Dreamers and Drivers of 2008, where he was quoted on the topic of government and new tech business as saying: "It comes together a lot more than you may think. Often there are innovative companies that are entrepreneurial by definition, whose products and services trigger in my mind ideas that can make government more efficient."
Before working for Virginia, he was managing director of the Advisory Board Company, leading the firm's Financial Leadership Council and the Working Council for Health Plan Executives.
There has been much speculation about the exact role that the CTO will have in the administration. Some observers were hoping for a "visionary" figure who would transform technology within the American life and others wanted a detail-oriented bureaucrat who would streamline how federal IT dollars are spent.
In January, observers guessed that Obama might appoint Vint Cerf, Google's chief Internet evangelist; Padmasree Warrior, CTO of Cisco Systems; Beth Simone Noveck, a law professor at New York Law School; or Vivek Kundra, former CTO of Washington, D.C.
However, Kundra was named the federal CIO in March -- a new position that will oversee technology investments and technology spending by the federal government, according to the White House.
Another White House release said Chopra and Kundra will "help give all Americans a government that is effective, efficient and transparent."
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