Facebook engineering director tapped to lead White House IT

The flight path between Washington and Silicon Valley is now a well-established nerd bird route.

Leadership at the U.S. Digital Service is being bolstered with a new hire this week.

President Obama has tapped Facebook engineering director David Recordon as the new White House IT Director.

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At Facebook, Recordon ran the software engineering teams responsible for the social network's internal productivity tools as well as teams responsible for open source, engineering education, and internal software concerning human resources, security and video conferencing.

The first to serve in the brand new federal role, Recordon will be tasked with bringing the White House's information technology infrastructure up to date.

Anita Breckenridge, Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations at the White House, explained further in a blog post on Thursday afternoon that the IT upgrades will be based on the Obama Administration's Smarter IT Delivery plan.

"This includes converging overlapping systems, modernizing software used to collaborate, and bringing use of new technologies in line with private sector best practices," Breckenridge wrote. "This work will both benefit the operations of the White House and also help pave the way for improvements across the Federal government."

Mirroring what is going on in Silicon Valley right now, the White House been active in poaching some of the biggest names and talent in technology lately.

One of the most recent additions was Dr. DJ Patil, named in February as the first U.S. chief data scientist as well as deputy chief technology officer, serving under former Googler and now U.S. chief technology officer Megan Smith.

Patil most recently served as vice president of product at big data startup RelateIQ, which was acquired by Salesforce.com last summer.

Smith herself moved to Washington last fall, resigning from her previous role as vice president of Google's top secret Google X research lab to take over the reins from then-U.S. CTO Todd Park. Smith is guiding President Obama's IT policy initiatives, which at the time was defined to include accelerating "attainment of the benefits of advanced information and communications technologies across every sector of the economy and aspect of human well-being."

Earlier in February, after a headhunting search spanning several months, the Obama Administration finally hired a new U.S. chief information officer. That job went to VMware's CIO Tony Scott.

Scott joined the virtualization giant in 2013 to oversee the company's global information technology group. Prior to VMware, Scott served as chief information officer at both Microsoft and The Walt Disney Company.

As noted by ZDNet's Michael Krigsman last fall, the U.S. CIO stands in the unique position of being a national policy leader as well as an operational executive overseeing an IT budget nearing $80 million.

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