Kundra claims he started to close the IT gap

Letter offers his parting thoughts on his stint as the federal CIO

Vivek Kundra, the former federal CIO, wrote that he transformed the government’s “image of red tape, long lines, and cold, distant bureaucracies” through real-time analytics and American ingenuity.

Stepping into the job, Kundra immediately saw a major technology gap in the government compared with the private sector. Children could find more statistics about their favorite baseball players easier than the billions of dollars the government spends each year, he wrote in a paper published for the Harvard University’s Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics, and Public Policy.

“Closing this gap is the key to making government work better for the American people — the ultimate goal,” he wrote in the article Aug. 15, titled, “Reflections on Public Service.”

Kundra left his position as the first federal CIO in August to become a fellow at the center.

He dealt with major IT projects that had exceeded the initial cost estimates and had fallen behind the schedule. What's more, the projects that actually were completed were already obsolete in the fast-changing IT world, he wrote.

Kundra took what he had learned as Virginia’s assistant secretary of commerce and technology and built a real-time database for the federal government. He began meeting with IT officials across government in TechStat sessions. He also pushed agencies to cloud computing to fix the problems with redundant and old infrastructure. His aim was a nimble and efficient organization.

As more of the federal government’s information went online, Kundra said he developed an overarching legislative proposal regarding cybersecurity. The proposal would focus on protecting personal data, threats to power grids, and also securing federal network systems.

Kundra wrote that he came to the CIO position in a world where IT is everywhere and citizens are expecting the government to keep pace with industry in being easy to use and up to date.

Kundra said he changed the status quo, but he also warned that the IT advances can still regress.

“Left alone, things tend to move from order to disorder — and the hard work this administration has done to reform federal IT could fall back unless we keep our shoulder to the wheel,” he wrote.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

Reader Comments

Thu, Aug 18, 2011

this guy is fake.he loves publicity but really when he became cto of dc, all the projects handle are someone else ideas and projects, he just inherited it and claims it his own.

Wed, Aug 17, 2011

Kundra came to the Federal CIO position from the DC Gov CIO position. What did he do to improve how DC IT functions? Nothing. What did he do to improve how the Federal Government IT functions? Nothing. He took credit for the 25 Point Implementation Plan to Reform Federal Information Technology Management. How many points were completely implemented? None. The tough job of fixing the Federal IT issues is left to the new CIO. Let us hope he is more concerned with fixing the problems rather than staying a short time to promote his self image.

Wed, Aug 17, 2011 MayDay

I see a patern here. The CIO of NYS came from a private sector consulting firm and states on his LinkedIN page "Since joining New York State Government in 2008,... Reined in a fragmented large IT system under a disciplined IT governance program". Is this like scholatic history books where the victors/leaders/conquerors get to write the facts from their perspective?Do the IT workers agree? Does anyone care? Is this like saying a project is done just because the projected hours/costs are all used up?

Wed, Aug 17, 2011

leave when the going gets rough and warn everyone else it could fail now that you are gone ..... doesn't sound right

Wed, Aug 17, 2011

the answer my friend is blowing in the wind, the answer is blowing in the wind....

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