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Should the United States' New CTO Really Be a CIO?

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the knowledge-of-technology-is-a-nice-bonus dept.

United States 243

CurtMonash writes "Barack Obama promised to appoint the United States' first Chief Technology Officer. Naturally, the blogosphere is full of discussion as to who that should be. I favor American Management Systems founder and former IRS Commissioner Charles Rossotti. Richard Koman thinks it should be one of the better state CTOs. John Doerr, going in a different direction, thinks it should be his partner Bill Joy. We can bandy names back and forth all month, but first a more fundamental question needs to be answered: What do we need most — a get-things-done CIO (Chief Information Officer), or a more visionary true CTO? I think it's a CIO, and based on his campaign statements it appears Obama agrees. Management of government IT is a huge, generally unsolved problem, and we need somebody deeply experienced to have a fighting chance. Of course, that doesn't preclude recruiting a visionary CTO in addition, but the highest priority is a CIO. What do you think?"

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change baby! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25686933)

Look, you can't get the change we need with career politicians and Washington insiders (Joe Biden, John Kerry, Chris Dodd, Rahm Emanual, etc). Is Barack Obama trying to fail?

Re:change baby! (1, Offtopic)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 5 years ago | (#25686969)

How does the next president dare rely on Washington politicians to work with him in Washington! I'm so disappointed in Obama, I thought he would have picked the members of his administration out of Washington. I had Loompaland in mind.

Damn Obama for not having a grudge against most of the governing political world. There goes my dream of the first anti-Washington government..

Re:change baby! (3, Funny)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 5 years ago | (#25686977)

I agree. His first order of business once sworn in should be relocating the center of government to Tulsa. That'll show em!

Re:change baby! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25687177)

So Barack's already creating his "ministry of truth" euhm I mean information ? How very liberal (freedom-killing) of him.

He isn't even appointed yet.

Hey Barack ... where's my 5000$ ?

Re:change baby! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25687485)

what the fuck are you on about

you fucking whinging cunt

please go away

Re:change baby! (2, Insightful)

sleigher (961421) | more than 5 years ago | (#25687075)

Although I somewhat agree, you have to remember that he is in Washington. Even though he wants to change, Washington doesn't. Therefore it may prove important that he choose people from within to create that change. I have a wait and see attitude with Obama.

Re:change baby! (5, Insightful)

rhsanborn (773855) | more than 5 years ago | (#25687185)

Also remember that he has relatively little experience in Washington, and to get things done in Washington he is going to need people with contacts and context in that environment. Most good presidents are really good presidents because they know everything and know how to do everything, it's because they surrounded themselves with people who collectively knew all the things they needed to know. One of those things they need to know is how to get things done in Washington.

That's something that may be of particular importance depending on how the Democrats in Congress want to try and use him. They may be under the impression that he is their new young puppet. It will be interesting to see.

Re:change baby! (1)

Retric (704075) | more than 5 years ago | (#25687653)

On a lighter note the DoD has a CIO [] but I think a government wide CIO might not be looking at the same stuff. However, even knowing that such organizations exist takes an insider at this point. I think it's easy for a new president to show up and say we need to create X so we can start doing Y even when there is already a group trying to get that done. Often the problem is people ignoring groups promoting change.

PS: Dammit, when did I start talking like a government drone.

Re:change baby! (1)

rhsanborn (773855) | more than 5 years ago | (#25687745)

I think a government wide CIO might look at more things or rather different things than the DoD CIO, but information sharing, system standardization, etc are all goals that would go a long way to make the government more efficient and keep things and people from getting lost. The end result may look different, but the new CIO should definitely start off by talking to this guy, and people like him.

EDIT (1)

rhsanborn (773855) | more than 5 years ago | (#25688047)

Edit: Most good presidents AREN'T good presidents because they know everything...

Please kids, don't post on Slashdot before coffee.

Re:change baby! (0, Flamebait)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 5 years ago | (#25687271)

He SAYS he wants change - it wouldn't be the first time a politician lied to get elected.

Re:change baby! (1)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 5 years ago | (#25687477)

I also have that wait and see attitude. I'm reading all the news and comparing notes with what RonPaul might have done. I was somewhat disappointed to see the strong attraction to Israel that Obama displayed almost immediately after being elected. That doesn't bode well for change IMO.

Yes, there is that whole play along to get along, but with a strong grass roots movement behind him, he is not entirely forced to play along. Simply outing people to the public for not getting on the Obama game plan should cause issues. Now THAT would be change. The kind I'm hoping to see. REAL shit stirring. I'm not holding my breath.

These are early days, but now is when he needs to be getting things moving so that on inauguration day he hits the ground running. He already has influence because he is president elect. While he may not have veto, he will. It's very possible for him to begin shaking and moving in Washington. The thought that since he's the new kid on the playground he will be hindered is foolish.

Oh, and on topic, CTO vs CIO. He should have both. One is Technology, the other is Information. Both are important, linked, and necessary, but the domains overlap only for a small portion of each.

Linus Torvaldes (2, Insightful)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 5 years ago | (#25686941)

Only Linus can do it. He's a visionary, he has good project managements skills, and he's not afraid to tell it like it is. Everyone else will be a corporate shill more interested in funneling money back to their own products.

We need Linux and we need Linux.

Re:Linus Torvaldes (5, Insightful)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 5 years ago | (#25686979)

Everyone else will be a corporate shill more interested in funneling money back to their own products.

Which is exactly the kind of person who will be appointed. You don't really buy the 'new politics' crap do you? Lobbyists and high level corporate officers will remain the pool from which most appointments are drawn.

Linus doesn't line anyone's pockets in Washington.

Re:Linus Torvaldes (5, Funny)

itsthebin (725864) | more than 5 years ago | (#25686991)

I think it should be Bill Gates :)

Re:Linus Torvaldes (1, Funny)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 5 years ago | (#25687459)

It's like your comment goes so far into flamebait that it overflows and turns into insightful.

Re:Linus Torvaldes (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25687625)

It's like your comment goes so far into flamebait that it overflows and turns into insightful.

Can you cause the reader to execute arbitrary code that way?

Re:Linus Torvaldes (1)

lysergic.acid (845423) | more than 5 years ago | (#25687897)

well, according to BusinessWeek, some "Washington Insiders" think Steve Ballmer might be in the running for CIO.

i would be seriously disturbed if Ballmer is really being considered for CIO. corporate interests are rarely aligned with public interest, and Microsoft in particular has a long history of disreputable policies & actions. besides, Microsoft already has enough political sway in Washington.

i'd prefer that the position was given to someone outside of the commercial/corporate sector who wouldn't pose a conflict of interest. RMS, Vint Cerf, Tim Berners-Lee, Lawrence Lessig would all make ideal candidates. they don't have any corporate-ties, are reputable authorities on IT, and all have demonstrated that they put public interest ahead of commercial interests. RMS and Lawrence Lessig in particular are both outspoken critics of the current establishment. if Obama really wants change, then he needs to appoint iconoclasts & idealists who are willing to challenge existing policies and attitudes.

appointing people like Ballmer or Bezos would just be replacing old corporate pupppets with new ones. unless being rich is the primary requirement for CIO, neither of them are qualified for such an important political office.

Re:Linus Torvaldes (0, Flamebait)

redcleric (1402831) | more than 5 years ago | (#25687917)

I think it should be Al Gore, since he invented the internet. LOL

Re:Linus Torvaldes (4, Insightful)

xant (99438) | more than 5 years ago | (#25687501)

Nobody lined Obama's pockets except me and thirty million of my fellow Americans, 25 bucks at a time. Can't you cynics keep it to a dull roar for even the two months it'll take to get him sworn in? Wait and see what happens.

Re:Linus Torvaldes (4, Insightful)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 5 years ago | (#25687813)

Well, actually, we don't know that for sure. Obama's web donations campaign turned off ther fraud check name validation on the credit cards which meant that not only were they were perfectly happy accepting a donation on a credit card owned by Joe Six Pack under the name Joe Q Public, they went through specific trouble to make it possible.

You may believe the hype, you might even be wanting to perpetuate it. But there are simple facts about obama or his campaign team that don't completely hold water. And this isn't even starting to go into the business of the foreign donations and all. If you cared to know anything about that, you can easily do a google search and find stories on them. Simply look for "Obama turned off credit card fraud detections" and "foreigners donating to Obama"

BTW, this claim that he raised most of his money from private contributors isn't an accurate representation when he didn't verify who was sending him money. It simply can't be as one report found out, with the credit card fraud stuff disabled, he was able to donate $20- ten times in different names all of which contained the letters Barack Obama spelled in different ways. It will take years for the FEC to sort that out but it shows a picture that people should at least be questioning.

Claiming that no pac or corporate or foreign money was donated simply because you stopped checking where the source of the money came from does not make it true. In fact, I'm not sure how you can even make the claim after you stopped checking where the money was coming from.

Re:Linus Torvaldes (1)

des09 (263929) | more than 5 years ago | (#25688015)

+1 insightful, from a lifelong liberal, and staunch Obama fan. IF he did turn off fraud detection (too lazy to check your sources on a Saturday morning) then thats a long way from transparency. Brilliant, but a bit sly.

On the other hand, if your chief concern is that a big interest group , say oil, funneled a large amount to his campaign, and is going to pull strings on it, they left him a pretty big loophole, "What?, you are Joe Q Public, and you ran 200,000 transactions? well, as long as you realize I never wanted that money and wouldn't have accepted it had I known it was coming from you. I think you can find the door on your way own."

Re:Linus Torvaldes (3, Insightful)

Jimmy_B (129296) | more than 5 years ago | (#25688105)

Your sources show that it was possible to donate to Obama anonymously, and that some people probably did so. That's not a problem, because anonymous donations can't buy influence; the problem is when someone donates tons of money and the candidate returns the favor.

The thing you mention about fraud detection sounds like a technicality that would have been decided by the bank or by a low-ranking system administrator, not by Obama himself. And you didn't provide any sources.

These days, it seems like conservatives are so desperate for dirt that they'll latch onto anything, even if it's completely artificial. Bush was corrupt, but saying "Democrats are corrupt too!" isn't a defense, isn't true, and isn't very mature.

Re:Linus Torvaldes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25688095)

No! we can not,we know what will happen.

Known troll, mod down. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25687615)

Another empty post from a known troll [] . Yesterday, it was more empty shit about girls and booze [] , in a troll thread the degenerated to anti-semitism from his sock puppets.

The above post is not his usual flamebait [] , we should just get rid of this jerk. Slashdot will be a better place without his noise.

Richard (0, Flamebait)

zunicron (1344365) | more than 5 years ago | (#25686957)

I say Stallman.

Re:Richard (4, Funny)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 5 years ago | (#25686975)

Yay! I say we need more ideological nuts in the White House!

Re:Richard (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25687085)

Seriously. Plus, I don't think Stallman would take too kindly to a bath, a shave, and a haircut. It'd be like trying to hold a cat under water.

Re:Richard (2, Funny)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 5 years ago | (#25687289)

Can you picture that guy in a suit? It would look a bit off, unless he changed his hair 'style', then he'd look like a new man.

Visionary (4, Insightful)

VampireByte (447578) | more than 5 years ago | (#25687051)

RMS might not be the choice, but it should be someone with vision. Tech should not be about record companies suing customers to maintain an outdated business model, stupid software and business process patents, paranoid monitoring of citizens, outsourcing jobs to cheaper countries, etc. CIOs seem to promote such things.

We need to get back to kids being excited about tech, folks in a garage or dorm room creating a product, the Internet being a fun place, etc. Bill Joy seems to be more in line with this. Some CIO or whatever from a company that just kluges together overpriced systems doesn't seem very enlightened to me.

Re:Visionary (1)

mabhatter654 (561290) | more than 5 years ago | (#25687991)

If not RMS then Lessing... he cleans up nice... he's a non-lawyer allowed to argue to the SC, that's something very special. He's involved with Creative Commons, trying to find a middle ground.

He has principles (0, Flamebait)

Gonoff (88518) | more than 5 years ago | (#25687547)

It is unlikely that any government would find it easy to work with RMS.
He is not only famous for his opinions. He is also famed for sticking to his principles and a huge lack ot tact.

Isn't Stallman a gun nut anyway? Surely that makes him a republican...

Re:He has principles (1)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 5 years ago | (#25687667)

Isn't Stallman a gun nut anyway?

You must be thinking of Eric S. Raymond.

new territory (5, Interesting)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 5 years ago | (#25686965)

Since this position is pretty much new territory for the government, and since there will likely only be a single position created, it will probably end up being a hybrid CIO/CTO position anyways. As for who it should be, the Rossotti suggestion seems fairly reasonable. My father has worked for AMS for the past 20+ years on a number of government contracts. The one thing he always comes back saying is how screwed up and redundant a lot of the setups are--it's layer upon layer of hackjobs just to get the various systems to talk to one another. Rossotti is well aware of the current state of technology affairs within the government. I'm sure there are plenty others like him, but he is definitely someone who would be in a position to help clean up some of the mess that's there.

Re:new territory (5, Insightful)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | more than 5 years ago | (#25687009)

My father has worked for AMS for the past 20+ years on a number of government contracts. The one thing he always comes back saying is how screwed up and redundant a lot of the setups are--it's layer upon layer of hackjobs just to get the various systems to talk to one another. Rossotti is well aware of the current state of technology affairs within the government.

Money is at the crux of this issue, in two ways:

1) The government often is unwilling or unable to invest in the type of infrastructure they really need.

2) Unless the CTO *really* controls all the various agencies IT budget the CTO will be powerless. Agencies will listen nicely and nod their collective heads; then do whatever the want to because it's their money, not the CTO's.

1 can be fixed with a well thought out plan and budget; 2 will take real change and radically alter the power structure. I doubt that will happen. Trying to do so will accomplish one of the hardest things in DC - getting agency's to put aside their turf fights and unite to defeat a common enemy; in this case the CTO.

Re:new territory (4, Insightful)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 5 years ago | (#25687021)

Oh, fully agreed that it won't be easy, and may in fact be impossible. But I think having someone who's already well-versed in where things currently stand is a good place to start.

Re:new territory (3, Interesting)

viridari (1138635) | more than 5 years ago | (#25687409)

Ah but if all of the federal IT assets and headcount are transferred under a new department run by this cabinet-level position, the appointee will then have the necessary power.

It's pretty common in larger international companies to have a division or subsidiary that serves IS/IT needs to the rest of the company. IBM has IGS (which serves both internal and external customers). Johnson & Johnson has NCS. etc.

I object to the question (4, Insightful)

michaelepley (239861) | more than 5 years ago | (#25687191)

What a long winded and rambling question that really tries to play up the essentially artificial distinction between a CTO and a CIO, two abstract titles that are not particularly informative with respect to what the holders actually do. Most of the distinction seams manufactured by these same people to justify their titles.

That said, it would not be surprising that I suspect it would ultimately be a hybrid CTO/CIO.

Re:I object to the question (4, Insightful)

turbidostato (878842) | more than 5 years ago | (#25687449)

"What a long winded and rambling question that really tries to play up the essentially artificial distinction between a CTO and a CIO"

Quite to the point. I myself was considering answer the question "Should the United States' New CTO Really Be a CIO?" saying that Soulskill made some interesting points but that he took CTO and CIO's roles just reversed: on my book, the CIO is the one that might be "visionary" while the CTO is usually the "get-things-done" guy, so go figure.

Rosotti = BAD BAD BAD! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25688037)

I work for the IRS and I am still dealing with the mess he left us. Rosotti was an absolute failure and any consideration for this man as the top dog is insane. He lacked any understanding of our operations and farmed out a majority of design and strategy to his cohorts in the contracting word who knew even less. The result was a modernization effort that did not work. You can google the numerous failures of IRS to modernize and the cause was his leadership.

This man is more interested in making his contractors rich than anything. With a multi billion dollar budget in his control, he acted like a bad king. Someone should really take the time to review the deals he cut before saying that this is a reasonable decision.

For those of us that have worked with him in a government capacity, we know he is the bottom of the barrel.

Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25686967)

As long as it isn't another CEO, I'm fine.

Re:Well... (2, Informative)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 5 years ago | (#25686981)

We already have a CEO (Chief Executive Officer), we just voted him in ;-)

Re:Well... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25687127)

CURSES! Foiled by acronyms again.

Re:Well... (1)

johnlcallaway (165670) | more than 5 years ago | (#25687937)

A CEO who knows nothing about running a business. Might as well get a CTO/CIO with the same qualifications.

buzzwords (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25686985)

I think you're using buzzwords to make two extremely similar positions sound more different than they are

An obvious but bad (for FOSS) candidate (3, Interesting)

Ken Hall (40554) | more than 5 years ago | (#25686995)

Knowing the way politicians think, the obvious candidate would be the recently retired, and possibly available, Bill Gates. I can't think of anyone I'd like to see less though. Anyone know if Obama &co are clued in on techie issues?

Re:An obvious but bad (for FOSS) candidate (4, Funny)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 5 years ago | (#25687035)

Anyone know if Obama &co are clued in on techie issues?

Hmmm. Dunno. If only slashdot had run a series of stories over the past few months detailing the candidates' technology stances....

Re:An obvious but bad (for FOSS) candidate (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 5 years ago | (#25687045)

Riiiight, as if Obama was stupid enough to give the job to a guy who'd have too many conflicts of interest and has a bad record of anti-competition tricks.

Re:An obvious but bad (for FOSS) candidate (1)

Migity (1199059) | more than 5 years ago | (#25687233)

I don't think Bill would ever take a job from somebody who's trying to take more money from him.

Re:An obvious but bad (for FOSS) candidate (5, Interesting)

TJ_Phazerhacki (520002) | more than 5 years ago | (#25687701)

Actually, I think Bill would be a great choice. Personal gain is kind of redundant, and he has shown (on a number of occasions) his commitment to "the greater good."


Re:An obvious but bad (for FOSS) candidate (1)

madcat2c (1292296) | more than 5 years ago | (#25687705)

Your kidding right? Did you see anything they did on the internet? /not my guy but mad props to his campaign...

Re:An obvious but bad (for FOSS) candidate (3, Insightful)

$0.02 (618911) | more than 5 years ago | (#25688073)

You can't think of anyone you'd like less? How about Darl McBride?

No need (0, Troll)

zoomshorts (137587) | more than 5 years ago | (#25687015)

All the 'czars' the Bush people have brought into public existence should be abolished.

The FCC mandate for HDTV should be revoked by Presidential Order, all of Bush's orders need to be rescinded.
Wipe the slate clean. The Bush appointees should all be dis-appointed. Dismantle the crap Bush has caused.

The RIAA et al, should be legislated out of existence as what they are, protection rackets, legitimized extortion.
Change HAS to come. Radical change. We the People , allow yopu to do business in the country, not the other way around. The tail shall not wag the dog!

Re:No need (2, Interesting)

jonwil (467024) | more than 5 years ago | (#25687069)

I think the digital TV mandate is a GOOD thing, digital TV allows you to put more data in the same spectrum (or the same data in less spectrum) and frees up the valuable space used by analog TV in the UHF/VHF spectrum for other uses.

I just wish the FCC et al were more vigilant in enforcing the "all TVs sold must have digital tuners" rule (or whatever it is) so that companies like Best Buy and Walmart couldn't dump dirt cheap analog 4:3 CRT sets on unsuspecting consumers (who are going to need to buy converter boxes to make those sets work with digital TV)

Re:No need (3, Insightful)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 5 years ago | (#25687243)

Because it's always better to limit someone's choice "for their own good". If I want a $100 TV and a $50 converter instead of a $300 digital model, that's just too damned bad - I'm getting that 16:9 aspect ration whether I want it or not.

Re:No need (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25687505)

FYI you and zooshorts need to check the facts.

The FCC is mandating digital tv, not HDTV (high definition).

standard definition dtv is 4:3. The high def modes are 16:9

Six of one thing, a half a dozen of another (1)

zoomshorts (137587) | more than 5 years ago | (#25687559)

Digital schmigital.

What they are doing is subsidising an INDUSTRY. Why?

As we age, our vision and hearing deteriorate. Why spend
money unless we need to? The spectrum will be SOLD OFF to other industries
and NONE of the money will end up in your or my pocket. We, the People,
have a share in the American resources, not the developers, who typically
rape and run with the profits.

Drill for oil in Alaska, where will be OUR share? Certainly not in our pockets.
Build a huge shopping mall on land 'reclaimed' from public lands, due to a 'perceived' need
for shopping malls. Lobbying and back room deals to allow a few to profit, while the
public is screwed.

We need to look after each other in the broad picture. Lobbys and other special
interest groups are designed to buy influence and are almost totally against the public's

I only would support lobbies that may benefit ALL people. Lobby for the Aged or infirm(handicapped).
Groups we may all find ourselves in.

Why would you or I wish to subsidise tobacco growers? The list goes on and on. Don't get me started
on grants for 'research'.

The 'airways' are supposed to be PUBLIC in the US, but any change that allows private companies
to profit at the public's expense, is just intrinsically wrong.

Re:No need (2)

johnlcallaway (165670) | more than 5 years ago | (#25687985)

People who have cable TV aren't affected.

A converter may cost $60, but the government is giving away $40 coupons [] , up to two per household. I got one, plugged it in, and got over 30 channels in crisp, clear video. Only one was poor quality.

Getting rid of the HDTV mandate would be just another case of someone wanting to 'dumb down' America to it's lowest denominator. 'Oh .. think of the poor people'.

Fuck 'em. If they can't afford $10 for a converter, maybe they shouldn't be wasting their time watching TV.

Re:No need (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25687767)

How about a dimple disclaimer warning that come February those TVs will no longer be fit for the purpose of watching over-the-air broadcasts.

CTO? (3, Funny)

secondhand_Buddah (906643) | more than 5 years ago | (#25687027)

I hear Bill Gates might be looking for a job...

CIO? (4, Interesting)

exa (27197) | more than 5 years ago | (#25687047)

Nah, what you guys need is a better technology visionary, not some super sysadmin

Here's what you'll get with Bill Joy (3, Interesting)

FreeUser (11483) | more than 5 years ago | (#25687063)

In Wired, Issue 8.04, April 2000, Bill Joy wrote:

"It is most of all the power of destructive self-replication in genetics, nanotechnology, and robotics that should give us pause. Self-replication is the modus operandi of genetic engineering, which uses the machinery of the cell to replicate its designs, and the prime danger underlying grey goo in nanotechnology. It is even possible that self-replication may be more fundamental than we thought, and hence harder--or even impossible--to control. The only realistic alternative I see is relinquishment: to limit development of the technologies that are too dangerous, by limiting our pursuit of certain kinds of knowledge."

This sort of hysterical Ludditism is all too alive and well, and Bill Joy is (or has been) a Luddite of the first order with regards to genetic engineering, nanotechnology, and artificial intelligence.

Unless he has seriously revised his stance, if Bill Joy becomes Obama's "Technology Czar" (what a stupid title "czar" is) we can look forward to a world where the most promising technologies are banned or severely curtailed in the US, with a high probability that international treaties will be pushed down the worlds throat to make the ban universal. At best, such technologies will be developed in China, India, and elsewhere (and at least some people will reap the benefits). This is IMHO, not the kind of person we need setting US political policies as regards technology.

Re:Here's what you'll get with Bill Joy (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25687155)

Bill Joy is certainly more aware of these technologies than you buddy boy... So PIPE down with your hysterical cries of luddite.

He's also certainly accomplished more than you will in your pathetic little life.

Re:Here's what you'll get with Bill Joy (2, Funny)

myowntrueself (607117) | more than 5 years ago | (#25687205)

Do you happen to know what Bill Joys views on PHP are?

Because if your description/quotes of his views on genetic engineering/nanotech are anything to go by he would have PHP banned as well.

And by that I mean that he sounds like the perfect man for the job.

Fire with fire. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25687673)

We need defense nanotechnology: an artificial immune system to protect against invisible attacks.

The real questions are:

1) How to make this sort out between bad nanos and living things (which should left unharmed -- even losing fungi is unacceptable)? and

2) How to prevent bad people (including some berserk government that now and then gets elected) from turning this against its owners?

Limiting knowledge simply won't work (I'm not arguing whether this is good or not, simply that it's not possible).

Good luck to all of us.

My pick... (2, Funny)

SpeedyGonz (771424) | more than 5 years ago | (#25687087)

John Romero?


Really ? (3, Interesting)

smoker2 (750216) | more than 5 years ago | (#25687101)

So in a world where governments are trying to effectively monitor every part of your daily life, and are mainly held back by incompetence, do you think it's a good idea to have some body in charge who actually knows what they are doing ?

Obama needs a "suggestion box" (0)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#25687123)

I am sure someone will probably link us to several "suggestion box" avenues and I welcome them all.

What is needed is not a CIO, but three PhDs in information technology that can essentially answer any questions posed with minimal industry bias. CIOs are business people and as such, think in business terms. "Change" is not a business term and certainly something every business actively seeks to avoid because change is bad for profits. Even when something is "inefficient" as long as it fits within their budgets, inefficiency is better than change. CIOs are definitely the wrong choice.

Re:Obama needs a "suggestion box" (1)

AmberBlackCat (829689) | more than 5 years ago | (#25687553)

Oh you missed the memo? []

CIO is the way to go (3, Insightful)

Goldsmith (561202) | more than 5 years ago | (#25687133)

CTO often implies oversight of science as well as technology. This would be a very bad thing. The person in charge of IT, who makes technology recommendations to the FCC, and who advises the president on the future of computer technology should not be the same person who is in charge of the NIH, NSF and is advising the president on things like particle physics (and visa versa).

Technology not IT (4, Insightful)

sane? (179855) | more than 5 years ago | (#25687149)

For such a CTO you need to make sure they are NOT just a information technology person - the real growth areas for the future are all outside IT. You need someone with a broad viewpoint and the ability to see the connections across widely varying areas. You also need them to be able to see consequences and how things will play out in future. An IT person is probably one of the worst picks you could make, too myopic.

stop huge contracts with softwar gangsters.... (0)

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John Connor's mother (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25687167)

Sarah Connor will stop the rise of those dreadful machines.

Tell him (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25687169)

No offense, but... (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#25687175)

... when you want a CTO... you select a CIO?

I guess you also take strawberry ice cream when you want chocolate?

Maybe you should first find out what you want, and then find the person who can get it, instead of the other way around.

And that's why you are just a "pundit" (aka. consultant), and no real leader.

Mission Impossible (1)

Detritus (11846) | more than 5 years ago | (#25687207)

I feel sorry for whoever gets the job. If the IRS was difficult to deal with, just think of the entire federal government. Besides the usual problems, he will have to deal with dozens of congressional committees for funding and the authority to make changes.

Why look? (5, Funny)

pngmangi42 (1312017) | more than 5 years ago | (#25687223)

We already have a candidate. []

This isn't an IT hands on position (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25687257)

Deployment of IT in the Government isn't managed from the executive branch, but by laws that come from Congress.

Any person put in either role needs first to be able to lobby and work Congress to mold reshape and shape the laws that govern the purchase, deployment and security of IT in government.

Any IT visionary or hands on IT doer will fail if they can't handle the cutthroat and inherently corrupt process of working with Congress.


JAZZYJOHN1 (996723) | more than 5 years ago | (#25687269)


First things first (3, Insightful)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 5 years ago | (#25687295)

The first thing that needs to be done isn't to select the darling of the blogosphere - but rather to define what the hell a national level CIO/CTO does. What is his authority and how far does it reach? Etc... Etc...

Be carefule what you ask for... (1)

dstates (629350) | more than 5 years ago | (#25687329)

Be careful what you ask for. Centralizing authority mean centralizing control and potentially restricting citizen access to open government. At one point, the Government Printing Office was arguing that it had a constitutional mandate to run all government websites because this was a form of publication. Anyone who ever had dealings with the GPO knows what a disaster this would have been.

Come on. (1)

/dev/trash (182850) | more than 5 years ago | (#25687879)

Obama would NEVER do that to us.

Darl or Carly (1)

spoonist (32012) | more than 5 years ago | (#25687371)

Hmmm.... I'm thinking either Darl McBride [] or Carly Fiorina [] would be prefect picks.

"Communications Director" is CIO (3, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 5 years ago | (#25687381)

The Chief Information Officer directs not just all information technology, but also all information systems and procedures at the organization. The CIO has control of much more than the machines and their operation. The CIO has control of the org's media relationships, the corporate communications, the "brand ID", and a lot of other details. That power in the White House is much more a part of the Press Secretary and Communications Director offices. It's much more a human-powered bureaucracy than is CTO and the IT department.

That CIO power is not at all what we're talking about. In an org like the White House, most of their business is communications and information. What we are talking about changing in the White House is someone who is on top of technology, whether internal to the White House or the goverment, or external in the nation or the world. That's a much more specific job, that does need a new post, a CTO.

I think that the Google execs who are already hanging around Obama in public will be the ones to select and present potential CTOs for Obama and his exec team to choose from. I like the nation talking about possibilities in public, but I know that the job will be more influenced by the insiders than by website discussions. Some things never change, and maybe they shouldn't.

I support (1)

Arkem Beta (1336177) | more than 5 years ago | (#25687395)

John Scalzi for CTO!

The Woz (1)

RevWaldo (1186281) | more than 5 years ago | (#25687421) []

Check the resume. He's got the vision thing and the technical chops. Plus he's stepped in educational technology issues, which is a very big deal.

the Woz will fit in with the Clinton holdover admn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25687597)

He's on his 4th wife, looking for the 5th. Lots of pickings among the interns left over by Rahm Emmanuel.

My experience with CIOs (1)

david.emery (127135) | more than 5 years ago | (#25687455)

has been that they're "my way or the highway" IT Nazis who believe that the rest of us are there to make his job easier. Most CIOs I've seen are narrowly focused on their own little empires, rather than on advancing the goals of the organization/business at large. And most of them have relatively little intellectual independence from their vendor base.

God save us from CIOs!


Hooray for bigger government! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25687465)

For all the complaining I see here about big government, there seem to be a large number of wetting their pants to see this person appointed.

The DHS has it right. (1)

Stumbles (602007) | more than 5 years ago | (#25687475)

Well, I don't know about you folks. But I think the persons qualifications should be other than a Masters in plant science. It seems our great protector from all things evil feels such a degree is sufficient to deal with technological security issues. Frankly, I think the person should be lower in the food chain than from the Cxx level of management. I am sure we, or most of us can recant many boneheaded decisions made by management types to the consternation of the IT guy who said, no don't do it that way, but management did anyway. []

Ray Kurzweil (1)

Anonymatt (1272506) | more than 5 years ago | (#25687499)

There must be a position open for Stevie Wonder as well.

I'm only half joking.

Too bad Jaco Pastorius is dead. I'd have written him in for president...

CIO + FOSS (2, Interesting)

markdavis (642305) | more than 5 years ago | (#25687565)

> "..addition, but the highest priority is a CIO. What do you think?"

I think it should be a CIO. I also think that CIO should be ready and willing to start rolling out Open Source software in the government everywhere possible to save our tax money and foster innovation. Why do we continue to shell out billions of dollars for proprietary software when there are free alternatives?

The CIO should also be involved (in some capacity) in IT competition, anti-monopoly issues, since it is apparent the Department of Justice doesn't know what the hell it has been doing over the last 20 years.

Either CIO or CTO, the inevitable will happen (4, Funny)

RevWaldo (1186281) | more than 5 years ago | (#25687611)

The job will start off solely focused on the big picture, but after about six months...

Setting: CxO's office - White House basement level

Biden (in doorway): Knock, knock! Hey Steve-o! You in the middle of anything?

CxO (not looking up from PC): Uh, yeah.

Biden: Sorry! This is completely my bad. It'll just take two minutes. We're starting a meeting in the big conference room and can't get the other guys on the video. I know you showed me how before, but could you...

CxO: (voiceover: Dumb f***!) (sighs) Uh, yeah, sure, be there in a sec.

Biden (does a double pistol finger point): Owe you another one, big guy! (exits)

Danny Hillis for CTO!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25687641)

I read that one of the candidates suggested is Danny Hillis. I actually think Hillis would be outstanding and national CTO/CIO. I certainly can't think of anybody better. He is certainly qualified and if you read his resume, you'll see he isn't afraid to take a long term view of things.

Why not both? (1)

Conspiracy_Of_Doves (236787) | more than 5 years ago | (#25687743)

Why not have a CTO and a CIO?

Need a tubes expert (1)

EvilXenu (706326) | more than 5 years ago | (#25687771)

I think it should really be CIO. You need someone in charge of all of those tubes. I nominate Joe the Plumber.

CIOs are clueless. (1)

DragonTHC (208439) | more than 5 years ago | (#25687889)

That's like nominating my dad. Sure, he has over 30 years of experience in the Computer Industry as an engineer, but none of those years is in the past 10.

CIOs have always been clueless.

Melodie Mayberry-Stewart, Ph.D. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25688057)

NY's CIO, hands down. []

She's excellent, with a long distinguished background in business and government.

And she doesn't take crap from anyone. She'd eat Ballmer for dinner. The first thing she did when she took office was tell the corporate reps who'd always had a free pass to that office dictating to the previous CIOs to get lost and wait their turn.

And one more plus - she is pro-open standards. She just published the first ODF document in the history of New York government. It promotes open standards and open source, with more to come. See []

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