Vivek’s Legacy

CIO Council


Submitted by Richard A. Spires, CIO of Department of Homeland Security and Vice Chair of the Federal CIO Council

During the past two years, I have worked closely with Vivek Kundra, the US CIO, in both my capacity as the DHS CIO and in various leadership roles on the Federal CIO Council. Vivek joined the Obama administration with a vision of IT being a catalyst for the Federal government to be much more open, participatory, and collaborative. Vivek has been a strong force for open government. He has changed the dialogue and viewpoint of agencies of the Federal government – and we will not go back.

Likewise, his initiatives for cloud computing, data center consolidation, and improvements in IT program management have already significantly changed the way in which the Federal government is planning and executing IT—and for the better. As we know, these improvement initiatives have been codified in the “25 Point Implementation Plan to Reform Federal IT Management.” It is well documented that Vivek broadly reached out to the Federal IT Community to gather input when formulating this reform plan. Less well known, however, is that Vivek also went on a listening tour, visiting each of the major agencies to get direct feedback from not just the agency CIO, but key staff members as well. As he was formulating the plan, he held a number of feedback sessions with the Federal CIO Council to bounce concepts off of us and get our opinion as to what needed to be fixed and how. While there were long discussions about the best approach, there was clear alignment on the substance of what needs to change in Federal government IT. He showed leadership in the development of the 25-point implementation plan and has continued to demonstrate strong leadership in its execution.

While the 25-point implementation plan was driven by Vivek, it reflects the collective views of the Federal CIO community on what needs to be fixed. I can write with conviction that this community, as represented by the Federal CIO Council, not only endorses the 25-point implementation plan, but will continue to execute and meet the schedule as outlined in the plan. This is the right thing to do, and what we need to do. Vivek Kundra has, and will continue to have, a lasting impact on Federal IT and I wish him the very best in his future endeavors.