Who is in the wings?

Industry leaders are anxious for next round of political appointees

Many industry executives are waiting to hear specifics on how the Obama administration plans to implement its top priorities.

One of the critical indicators will be who fills key positions in the administration.

By some estimates, there are 4,400 political appointees at government agencies.

Although reports indicate that the incoming administration is moving rapidly, the most pressing appointment to many is the new post of chief technology officer and the role that person will play.

“What I don’t know is what kind of power will this person possess,” said Dennis Stolkey, senior vice president of EDS Corp.’s U.S. public sector. “Will they have the force behind them to make changes or is this another overhead position, where he or she sends out their agenda and the departments have a choice of whether to follow them?” Stolkey and others see the benefit of a strong CTO who can push standardization of infrastructures and architectures.

The result could create opportunities for the technology industry at the same time it saves money and makes government more efficient, said Phillip Bond, chief executive officer of the Technology Association of America.

Other critical positions include the director of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, e-government administrator and proposed cybersecurity czar.

“That’s the leadership level, but there is also the next level down,” said Paul Strasser, chief operating officer of Pragmatics Inc. “The leadership level sets the policy, but it is the level below them that implements it.” Those assistants and deputies at the Office of Management and Budget and other agencies have a major influence on business, Strasser said. “We are still waiting on who all those players are going to be.”

About the Author

Nick Wakeman is the editor-in-chief of Washington Technology. Follow him on Twitter: @nick_wakeman.

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