CES 2012: U.S. CIO VanRoekel to Bolster Obama Shift to Cloud for Government Services

 @DavidZie on January 12 2012 12:41 AM

The U.S. Government needs to keep shifting more of its $80 billion annual technology budget to the cloud, reflecting President Obama's priorities, U.S. Chief Information Officer Steven VanRoekel told International Business Times.

My office is leading the charge on how to shift to the cloud, or Internet-based computer services, VanRoekel said in an interview at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

VanRoekel, 41, a 15-year veteran of Microsoft before being appointed as the second U.S. CIO last year, said he also wants to streamline U.S. government services to make them more citizen-responsive using technology.

For example, by mid-year, the CIO said he'd like to provide more complete real estate information about housing in census tracts, such as access to broadband Internet services. He also wants to save money by making government more efficient.

Asked by IBTimes how he'd save money at the Department of Agriculture, VanRoekel said he'd hand out tablet PCs to conservation officers who know inspect conservation properties with clipboards and paper, only to phone in or e-mail results later.

We can do our job more efficiently with technology, the CIO said, especially if Washington enlists the private sector for computer outsourcing and information management.

As well, VanRoekel said better management should mean keeping taps on cybersecurity, noting that whatever technology practices he implements will have to pass muster with the Department of Homeland Security.

Asked directly by IBTimes if he knew anything about Stuxnet - the reputed computer worm that infected Iran's nuclear plants in 2010, apparently planted by either the U.S. or Israel - VanRoekel said, I am not aware of Stuxnet, continuing the official federal stonewall on the subject.

The CIO, who worked in Microsoft's Windows servers and tools division before rising to be a staff assistant to Chairman Bill Gates, followed by an appointment to a job at the Federal Communications Commission, said his 2012 priorities include better return-on-investment of the government's technology spending, raising productivity and improving citizen interactions with the government.

VanRoekel, who said he carries two mobile devices - one for the the job, the other personal -- said he favors so-called bring your own device policies, provided federal employees' phones and laptops can be kept secure and swept of all data if they are stolen.

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