Federal IT executives offer Trump transition team broad insights on state of IT

About a week before the end of the Obama administration, the Trump transition team leading the oversight of technology management held its own exit interview of sorts.

Multiple sources confirm that the Trump team met with five agency chief information officers and their deputy secretaries to discuss a range of issues, including the innovation, data center consolidation and the appropriate roles of federal CIOs.

The CIOs from the departments of Homeland Security, Luke McCormack,  and State, Frontis Wiggins, the Environmental Protection Agency, Anne Dunkin,  and the Office of Personnel Management, Dave De Vries,  and the Veterans Affairs Department’s chief technology officer, Marina Martin, who left her position in January, were part of the meeting.

Online Chat: Beth Killoran, deputy assistant secretary for Information Technology and chief information officer at HHS, on March 28.

Sources say former Office of Management and Budget Deputy Director for Management Andrew Mayock chose the CIOs, their deputy secretaries and helped organize the meeting.

Advertisement

The discussion also centered on the progress so far around IT modernization and cybersecurity as well as the proliferation of councils — privacy, chief information security officer (CISO), CTO, chief data officer (CDO) and others — and whether there were too many.

The meeting is noteworthy for several reasons. First, there has been a lacking of information and plans from the Trump administration regarding government management. So the 60-to-90 minute meeting is another piece to understanding what’s important and what could be part of a new management agenda.

Second, while OMB issued a State of Federal IT report, conducting a fact-finding mission shows the Trump transition folks understand that listening is one of the most important parts of planning.

Finally, each of the participants had nothing to lose from being honest about the state of federal IT, the challenges and opportunities as seen from the CIO level as three of the five have since left government — only De Vries and Wiggins were not political appointees.

The incoming federal CIO, whoever that may be — any rumors out there yet? — should be able to get off to a much faster start than any their predecessors based on this and other work by the Obama administration.

Return to the Reporter’s Notebook