President Obama has named Todd Park as the new U.S. Chief Technology Officer, succeeding Aneesh Chopra.
President Obama has appointed Todd Park as the new U.S.
Chief Technology Officer.
Previous to the appointment, Park acted as CTO of the U.S.
Department of Health and Human Services, where he apparently headlined the
creation of HealthCare.gov. According to a March
on The White House Blog, Park will work closely with Tom Power,
U.S. Deputy Chief Technology Officer for Telecommunications.
Park succeeds Aneesh Chopra, the first Chief Technology
Officer, who served in the position for three years. President Obama originally
created the CTO position as a way to update the federal governments use of
technology, particularly where it interfaces with citizens.
Within months of his appointment, Chopra had visited Silicon
Valley and told executives there that he not only wanted to speed up the pace
of IT innovation within the federal government, but also in health care and
education. One of his top agenda items, he said, was to speed up the federal
governments product and service updates, something that would require updating
antiquated rules and regulations.
One of Chopras last high-profile acts before stepping down
was a co-authored letter, released
, that positioned the Obama administration as concerned about the
Stop Online Privacy Act (SOPA), which sought to tamper with the Internet by
manipulating the Domain Name System (DNS). The letter argued that DNS filtering
posed a real risk to cyber-security and wasnt the best way to fight online
Beyond the U.S. CTO, the administrations attempts to make
the federal government a more streamlined IT organization encountered some
significantand perhaps inevitableroadblocks. In 2011, federal CIO Vivek
Kundra decided to leave the federal government to accept a fellowship at
Harvard, without having enacted many of the ideas he evangelized concerning
open source and cloud computing.
Before he left, Kundra specified that all federal agencies
had to migrate at least one system to a hosted environment in 2011. Some had
already taken steps to fulfill that request, such as when the Treasury
Department moved its Website to Amazon EC2 in January. However, it remained
unclear whether his broad initiatives would remain intact under his
replacement, former Microsoft executive Steven VanRoekel.
Follow Nicholas Kolakowski on Twitter