OMB Signals Continuity During CIO Transition

Don't expect major changes in the government's IT shop when Vivek Kundra, the nation's first official chief information officer, steps aside for his successor Steven VanRoekel Friday.

Both men stressed that no major policy shifts were in the offing in a meeting with reporters last week and federal Chief Performance Officer Jeffrey Zients, who oversees the CIO's office, joined the chorus, saying the transition was not about "radical changes," but about "continued execution and getting proven results."

As the transition approaches, the full machinery of the Office of Management and Budget chimed in with a memo from OMB Director Jack Lew to all agency heads on Monday describing the future role of the agency CIO.

The contents of the memo itself are decidedly unexceptional -- essentially echoing a planned evolution in the job's responsibilities from policymaking to IT portfolio management outlined nine months ago in Kundra's 25 Point Implementation Plan to Reform Federal IT, the master document of his tenure, and in statements the outgoing CIO has made ever since.

The document's intent and timing, though, seem clear: this is not the time to re-think Kundra's IT reform plan but to double down on carrying it out.

This relatively tame signal of continuity during succession was underscored late Wednesday when VanRoekel touted the memo in his first post to the White House blog since he was tapped for his new position.

The tagline on the blog post even described VanRoekel as the federal CIO, despite the fact that Kundra doesn't leave until Friday, leaving observers to wonder when the power transfer had actually occurred.