A National CTO: Not Just Who, But What?
Whoever President Barack Obama decides to select as the country's first national chief technology officer, rest assured that person will have his or her hands full right from the get-go. Since the president first announced his decision to create the position, some of the biggest names in IT have been mentioned, including Microsoft's Bill Gates, Google's Eric Schmidt and Symantec's John Thompson. In recent weeks, speculation has centered on two alleged finalists: Padmasree Warrior, CTO of Cisco Systems, and Vivek Kundra, CTO of Washington, D.C.
Regardless of who gets the job, perhaps the more important question is what, exactly, that job will entail. The description on the Obama transition team Web site Change.gov said the first CTO must "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."
Seeing as no one in the Obama administration has publicly discussed exactly what that means, Channelweb.com editors took a quick spin around the channel, asking VARs, vendors, distributors and other IT experts what they'd most like to see from the CTO.