Kundra steps down as U.S. CIO to new Harvard job

Kundra steps down as U.S. CIO to new Harvard job

Summary: Vivek Kundra, the nation's first Chief Information Officer, has announced that he is stepping down and moving on to another job at Harvard University.

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TOPICS: CXO
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Vivek Kundra, the nation's first Chief Information Officer, has announced that he is stepping down and moving on to another job at Harvard University.

Politico reported the news as confirmed by U.S. Office of Management and Budget director Jack Lew.

After serving as the U.S. Chief Technology Officer for two years, Kundra was first appointed as CIO by President Obama in March 2009 amid a flurry of speculation as to what this new role would entail. Kundra tackled many different projects in the last two years, primarily focusing on modernizing and cost-cutting government IT, and working on a shift towards cloud-computing for government agencies.

Federal News Radio posted the OMB's statement with specifics about Kundra's government career:

He has cracked down on wasteful IT spending, saved $3 billion in taxpayer dollars; moved the government to the cloud; strengthened the cybersecurity posture of the nation while making it more open, transparent, and participatory. His work has been replicated across the world from 16 countries that have deployed the data.gov model to tap into the ingenuity of their people to multiple countries that have deployed the IT dashboard to save money.

However, Kundra has run into a number of stumbling blocks along the way, which is inevitable when one is the first in line for a new top government official post. The most notable case was when Kundra was placed on leave within a month of starting as CIO following an FBI raid leading to arrests on account of bribery in his DC offices. Kundra himself was not a target of the investigation.

Kundra will start in his new position as a joint fellow at the Kennedy School and the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard this August. A CIO replacement has not been named yet.

[via GigaOm]

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  • RE: Kundra steps down as U.S. CIO to new Harvard job

    Quite interesting as groups such as Anonymous and LulzSec are showing just how secure everything is. I'm sure with that 3 Billion we saved really strengthened our security on all the gov sites... Going to the cloud was a great idea right? This way everyone's information is attainable as these groups knock down the paper thin security measures taken. As I keep saying... It seems like the Cloud followers and worshipers need to get their heads out of the clouds and back in business. I've warned for years that the "Cloud" is a bad idea and instead of groups targeting millions which is more difficult... Idiots are putting all their eggs in one basket out in traffic for these groups to run over. Cloud is a nice addition for data that isn't as relevant if it is lost or stolen versus everything out there for everyone to lose.

    Cloud - Nice addition, not solution... Also the "Cloud" is the internet... People know that the internet is dangerous but they never knew the cloud was since most people don't know networks. Here are some diagrams...

    http://therememberer.files.wordpress.com/2009/01/drawing72.png

    Notice how the cloud is dark and gloomy? Who is controlling it?

    Clouds... They come from many things... Typically evaporation of water but eventually those clouds rain and return to earth. No cloud lasts forever as a cloud. Think of tornadoes... They use water vapor as well... Do you like your data there? Thought not... Clouds also come from volcanic eruptions, is that a healthy cloud? Get some nice lightening going and so on... Sound appealing for data? Thought not... Best one yet... Think of the atomic cloud... Plenty of heat, radiation, fallout and more!!! Sound good for data? Thought not...

    People should be smarter with their data and resources... Keep your personal and important data off the cloud and on a computer... Keep your useful applications for video editing, backups, music, photo editing, music creation, CAD Drawings, Word Documents, everything we use in our life... Use a netbook or something as useful for email and wimpy web apps. Be smart, be safe... THINK!
    audidiablo
    • RE: Kundra steps down as U.S. CIO to new Harvard job

      @audidiablo - agreed. Especially with those recent attacks, this job change does raise eyebrows.

      And, yeah, the cloud is a mistake. It has potential, but to go into it blindly is genuinely BAD.

      Was there no "talent" in the US, or is there a greater, economic agenda for using Kundra in the first place (born outside the US and given a <i>very</i> trusted role)...
      HypnoToad72
  • RE: Kundra steps down as U.S. CIO to new Harvard job

    One should really check the 3 Billion claim. Kundra initially developed the "dashboard" concept while the CTO for the District of Columbia. He even received an award for it from the National CIO association. Problem was the "dashboard" was nowhere near finished at the time of the award, let alone when to submissions were due into the organization, and there were highly suspicious claims of saving for the District government. It would be interesting to see how much of the "3 Billion" is real savings and how much is sales and fanciful government style accounting to look good?
    miked56
    • RE: Kundra steps down as U.S. CIO to new Harvard job

      @miked56 - lots of things need to be checked, that's for sure.

      Some have countered this article, but:
      http://www.dvorak.org/blog/2009/08/12/special-report-is-us-chief-information-officer-cio-vivek-kundra-a-phony/
      (even if Kundra's credentials are real, Dvorak makes another point about professionalism:

      <i>During one of his testimonies before a Congressional committee he even talked about the future being something like the Star Trek holodeck. His clich?s and commentary was that of a 18 year-old blogger who just got their first Macintosh.</i>
      )

      I'm a Mac user (and I use PCs and have built and maintained servers as well, blah blah blah), but I am aware of the stereotypes and his brief Mac-bash aside he's right.

      Bonus:
      http://blogs.forbes.com/microsoft/2011/02/15/kundra-outlines-cloud-first-policy-for-u-s-government/

      Everything people are saying as being cons against migrating to the cloud are valid points. Anybody trying to use one-liners to bypass issues is already a red flag. Let's encourage knowledge and detail. No more "dumbing down". No CxO should be so condescending, patronizing, or pandering.
      HypnoToad72
  • RE: Kundra steps down as U.S. CIO to new Harvard job

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