As Kundra leaves, who will reform federal IT?

By Suzanne Kubota
Senior Internet Editor

Federal Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra announced his plans to leave government in August. The question of who will fill his shoes remains unanswered.

Ed Meagher, a former deputy CIO at the Interior and Veterans Affairs departments told Federal News Radio he sees filling the position as “absolutely critical”. Meagher said the government is now in a “critical budget cycle.” “There’s really no reason to wait,” he said because there are several “really fine people who can pick this up and run with it.”

Meagher said he’d like to see an experienced pro take over for Kundra. “Now, I think, what’s most important is to follow through in the implementation on some of these things. I would hope that it’s someone already on board and someone with a track record and a history and knows how to get things done.”

Someone with experience is particularly important, said Meagher, because of the stress of the job “and there’s a powerful learning curve that anyone coming in from the outside has to climb up.”

Kundra, said Meagher, has made a good start with a cloud first policy and efforts on data center consolidation, but security enhancements are needed. “A lot of things we have to do require significant change,” he said, adding that change is hard in this town. “We need somebody with a…track record who’s going to come in and move the cheese and get a lot of these things going.”

Asked what he would focus on first if he were to get the call from the White House, Meagher said he would concentrate on three areas in particular: security, data center consolidation, and cloud computing. “That’s where the change is most relevant, I think, and just focus on those to get some results.”

Ed Meagher is currently vice president of healthcare strategy for CSC.

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