Former Microsoft executive Steven VanRoekel has been tapped to become the nation's second Federal CIO. He will replace Vivek Kundra, who accepted a fellowship at Harvard University.
VanRoekel worked at Microsoft for 15 years, eventually rising to senior director for the Windows Server and Tools Division. After leaving the company in 2009, he served as the Federal Communications Commission's managing director, before leaping to USAID in 2011.
President Barack Obama announced the appointment in an Aug. 4 statement from the White House.
VanRoekel's job will likely offer considerable challenges. The federal CIO is responsible for the policy and strategic planning of federal information technology investments. With the U.S. government looking to tighten its financial belt, such investments will likely find themselves subjected to intense scrutiny.
Certainly, VanRoekel will find himself wrestling with a reduced budget, rising IT security threats, and considerable amounts of aging infrastructure. Kundra left behind a plan for improving federal IT, which included some ideas familiar to anyone involved in enterprise computing: the introduction of consumer devices into the government workflow, for instance, and increased use of the cloud.
Before he left, Kundra specified that all federal agencies must migrate at least one system to a hosted environment in 2011. Some had already taken steps to fulfill that request, with the Treasury Department moving its Website to Amazon EC2 in January. However, it is unclear whether his broader initiatives will remain intact, or if VanRoekel plans on shifting the tiller in a whole new direction.
For more, read the eWeek article Microsoft Exec VanRoekel Slated for Federal CIO Slot.