Steven L. VanRoekel, former managing director of the FCC, will be the next federal chief information officer, according to a statement released Thursday, Aug. 4, by the White House.

VanRoekel, who currently is the executive director of citizen and organization engagement at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) — which provides U.S. economic and humanitarian aid to people worldwide — will replace Vivek Kundra, who is leaving the federal CIO post this month for a fellowship at Harvard University.

In his role at the FCC, VanRoekel headed up the agency’s expansion into new technology and social media. He also oversaw the operational, technical, financial and human resources aspects of the agency. From 1994 to 2009, VanRoekel worked for Microsoft. His last post with the company was as the senior director for the Windows Server and Tools Division.

In addition to his position as federal CIO, VanRoekel will also serve as administrator of the Office of Electronic Government, of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

VanRoekel will have a number of challenges awaiting him when he gets on the job. While Kundra made strides in data center consolidation and moving to the cloud, state CIOs believe standardization, funding issues and clarity of communication between federal and state government IT personnel are items that still need to be addressed.

Brenda Decker, CIO of Nebraska, said vague or confusing initiatives coming from the federal government was a regular occurrence in the course of IT business between the states and Uncle Sam.

“That’s one of the things we tried to work with Vivek on,” Decker said. “I think he was making some headway, but not as much and as quickly as everyone wished he had.”

VanRoekel's first day as federal CIO is Friday, Aug. 5.

Brian Heaton  |  Senior Writer

Brian Heaton is a senior writer for Government Technology. He primarily covers technology legislation and IT policy issues. Brian started his journalism career in 1998, covering sports and fitness for two trade publications based in Long Island, N.Y. He's also a member of the Professional Bowlers Association, and competes in regional tournaments throughout Northern California and Nevada.