Post-Kundra: Mulling the Legacy of the First Federal CIO

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Vivek Kundra, Photo: CIO.gov


Legacy n. (leg-uh-see) — anything handed down from the past, as from an ancestor or predecessor

The surprising news last week that Vivek Kundra, the nation’s first federal chief information officer, would step down at the end of the summer for a Harvard fellowship now has federal IT watchers mulling the tech pioneer’s legacy.

For example, Richard Spires, the CIO of the Department of Homeland Security, published a blog post on CIO.gov titled “Vivek’s Legacy.”

Spires, who has been mentioned as a possible successor in the top CIO post, said Kundra’s mission was to use IT as a “catalyst” to make the federal government work better and more collaboratively.

“Vivek has been a strong force for open government,” Spires wrote. “He has changed the dialogue and viewpoint of agencies of the federal government – and we will not go back.”

However, as FedInsider’s Tom Temin wrote, with news of Kundra’s exit, there is the inevitable hand-wringing that the tech initiatives Kundra championed are now “running out of steam.”

But Spires said while the Office of Management and Budget’s 25-point IT reform plan was shepherded through by Kundra, it “reflects the collective views of the federal CIO community on what needs to be fixed.”

In other words, don’t expect the high-profile initiatives, such as the cloud-first policy and data center consolidation to collapse simply because Kundra is leaving.

Meanwhile, FedScoop has published an infographic charting the first CIO’s accomplishments also under the appellation of “Kundra’s Legacy.”

The chart, organized into a calendar format, begins with March 5, 2009 when Kundra, who previously served as the chief technology officer of Virginia, was appointed to the White House post.

It hits the high points of his tenure, including the launch of the IT Dashboard, the creation of the 25-point IT reform plan, the release of a cloud computing strategy and an ambitious plan to close 800 federal data centers.

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