Obama Appoints Virginian to CTO Post
By Michael D. Shear and Anita Kumar
President Obama has named Virginia's Secretary of Technology, Aneesh P. Chopra, to be the nation's first Chief Technology Officer.
The president announced the choice in his weekly radio and Internet address today, adding Chopra to a small group of advisers whose aim it is to enhance and modernize the delivery of government services.
"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 in the radio address.
Obama also named Jeffrey Zients, a former management consultant, to be his chief performance officer, a position that was initially offered to Nancy Killifer, who withdrew after questions were raised about her failure to pay some taxes.
Appointed by Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine in 2006, Chopra had been under consideration for months for a job in the Obama administration, including technology chief at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Chopra had put in long hours in Washington helping Obama's transition team get him ready for his first day as president on Jan. 20. He was one of about 50 volunteers from across the nation serving on the transition's technology, innovation and government reform policy working group.
Chopra did not return messages for comment today. He is a former managing director with the Advisory Board Company, a publicly-traded health care think tank serving nearly 2,500 hospitals and health systems, Obama said.
Earlier this decade Zients played a key role in luring Major League Baseball back to Washington. In a 2004 Post profile, colleagues said that as a boss he can be direct when unhappy, but never disparaging.
Chopra and Zients will work with Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra, a former top District official, to streamline government and make it work more efficiently.
"The goal is 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," Obama said.
The president also announced that he will be asking each of his cabinet members to provide specific proposals for how they plan to cut their budgets in an attempt to trim the cost of government.
Obama is under pressure to reduce government waste as he leads an unprecedented increase in overall federal spending in an attempt to spark an economic recovery.
In his radio address, he reiterated his pledge to examine the federal budget "line by line" in an attempt to find instances of waste. He said that in the coming weeks, he will eliminate programs that are deemed unnecessary.
"In this effort, there will be no sacred cows, and no pet projects. All across America, families are making hard choices, and it's time their government did the same," he said.
Web Politics Editor
April 18, 2009; 6:00 AM ET
Categories: Barack Obama , Cast of Characters
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