The CTO Position: What Obama Said

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Following up on Ellen’s post about the federal CTO, here’s what President Obama has said or written during his campaign about the CTO.

From the excellent CRS report on the CTO position, we can see then-candidate Obama’s description of the position from his technology position paper:

Bring Government into the 21st Century: Barack Obama will use technology to reform government and improve the exchange of information between the federal government and citizens while ensuring the security of our networks. Obama believes in the American people and in their intelligence, expertise, and ability and willingness to give and to give back to make government work better. Obama will appoint the nation’s first Chief Technology Officer (CTO) to ensure that our government and all its agencies have the right infrastructure, policies and services for the 21st century. The CTO will ensure the safety of our networks and will lead an interagency effort, working with chief technology and chief information officers of each of the federal agencies, to ensure that they use best-in-class technologies and share best practices. The CTO will have a specific focus on transparency, by ensuring that each arm of the federal government makes its records open and accessible as the E-Government Act requires. The CTO will also focus on using new technologies to solicit and receive information back from citizens to improve the functioning of democratic government. The CTO will also ensure technological interoperability of key government functions. For example, the Chief Technology Officer will oversee the development of a national, interoperable wireless network for local, state and federal first responders as the 9/11 commission recommended. This will ensure that fire officials, police officers and [emergency medical technicians] from different jurisdictions have the ability to communicate with each other during a crisis and we do not have a repeat of the failure to deliver critical public services that occurred in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

The same paper also cites Change.gov:

Bring Government into the 21st Century: Use technology to reform government and improve the exchange of information between the federal government and citizens while ensuring the security of our networks. Appoint the nation’s first Chief Technology Officer (CTO) to ensure the safety of our networks and lead an interagency effort, working with chief technology and chief information officers of each of the federal agencies, to ensure that they use best-in-class technologies and share best practices.

Looking through Change We Can Believe In, (subtitled Barack Obama’s Plan to Renew America’s Promise), we can see the following similar passage, on page 88:

Barack Obama will use technology to reform government and improve the exchange of information between the federal government and citizens while ensuring the security of our networks.  To that end, he will appoint the nation’s first Chief Technology Officer (CTO) to ensure that our government and all its agencies have the right infrastructure, policies, and services for the twenty-first century.  The CTO will ensure the safety of our networks and will lead an interagency effort, working with chief technology and chief information officers of each of the federal agencies to ensure that they use best-in-class technologies and share best practices.

If you know of other official mentions of the CTO position from the campaign, the transition, or from the White House, we’d love to hear them in the comments.

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