During his weekly address on Saturday, President Barack Obama named Aneesh Chopra, currently the secretary of technology for Governor Kaine of Virginia, as the nation’s first chief technology officer.
“In this role, Aneesh will promote technological innovation to help achieve our most urgent priorities—from creating jobs and reducing health care costs to keeping our nation secure,” Obama said.
According to Obama, Chopra will work with the government’s chief information officer, Vivek Kundra, “to give all Americans a voice in their government and ensure that they know exactly how we’re spending their money—and can hold us accountable for the results.”
As secretary of technology in Virginia, Chopra chairs the Solutions Committee of the IT Investment Board and the Effectiveness and Efficiency Committee of the Council on Virginia’s Future. He also co-chairs the Healthcare IT Council with Virginia’s health secretary Marilyn Tavenner.
“Secretary Chopra’s spirit of innovation has played a key role in Virginia’s continued ranking as a top-performing state, including the launch of Virginia’s Productivity Investment Fund, which catalyzed promising ideas to lower costs and improve outcomes,” said Governor Kaine. “His leadership on the role of technology to transform our healthcare and educational systems directly aligns with President Obama’s top priorities.”
For example, Virginia launched “Virginia on iTunes U” earlier this month. This dedicated area within Apple’s iTunes Store features free access to K-12 educational materials. Students and teachers can learn “on the go” by downloading audio and video content. This program complements the state’s “Learning Apps Development Challenge,” encouraging developers to produce innovative mathematics applications that will engage middle school students and encourage learning and achievement.
“Virginia was the first state to establish a cabinet-level technology position with a focus on promoting high-wage, high-tech jobs and leveraging technology for more cost-efficient delivery of government services,” said Senator Mark R. Warner of Virginia. “I also worked closely with secretary Chopra on Virginia’s effort to expand rural broadband access so that no region is left behind in a global economy.”
Previously, Chopra was managing director with the Advisory Board Company, a publicly traded health-care think tank serving nearly 2500 hospitals and health systems. He led 10 national research studies on innovative physician partnerships, improvements in labor productivity, and lessons on payment reform. He graduated with a master’s degree in public policy from the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government in 1997 and with a BA from the Johns Hopkins University in 1994.
“I’ve been working for much of the past year to understand what many have been calling Government 2.0, and in that process, Chopra has been one of those who taught me the most about how we can build a better government with the help of technology,” said Tim O’Reilly, founder of O’Reilly Media, which publishes books on computing and hosts technology conferences.
“President Obama, Aneesh Chopra, and Vivek Kundra understand that IT offers an enormous array of solutions to the challenges facing our nation and world,” said Robert Holleyman, president and CEO of the Business Software Alliance. “We stand ready to work with them to ensure that the technology sector can maximize its contributions to open government, economic growth, and social progress.”
“It is good to see that the Obama S&T team is coming together,” said IEEE-USA president Gordon Day. “Hopefully now they can begin to move aggressively in advancing America’s technology agenda in such as areas as the smart grid, broadband, health information technology, and strengthening America’s innovation leadership.”