The Vivek Kundra controversy: Real and imaginary problems with America's CIO

In general, I like the idea of Vivek Kundra having been selected as America's new CIO. He's at least in part a true CIO type, rather than just a CTO, something for which I advocated strongly. He impressed at least some observers very highly doing a similar government job. And while Kundra has come in for his share of bumps and criticisms, some of those seem pretty silly. For example:

Still, I have a basic concern:Is Kundra too focused on shiny new technologies to devote proper attention to the mainstream of the Federal IT challenge?

When appointed, Kundra rattled off a number of laudable priorities for his job, most of which boiled down to making government IT cheaper and government information more accessible to citizens. Kundra turns out to be a big fan of cloud computing and iPhones. That's all great.

But goverment contracting needs to be greatly reformed in the IT area, and saying "Oh, we should buy more commercial stuff off the shelf" isn't enough. Existing silos of automation offer huge integration and consolidation challenges, and talking about cloud computing isn't enough.  Basically, I'm afraid that Kundra may suffer from the standard problem of not understanding how bad the Federal IT mess really is.

I hope Kundra proves my fears to be overwrought.

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