U.S. CIO Tony Scott open to sticking around

Tony Scott said he has not ruled out the possibility of working with the Trump administration, if offered the chance.

Seamus Kraft, Phaedra Croussos, Tony Scott, Nancy Scola

Left to right: OpenGov Foundation Co-Founder Seamus Kraft, former TTS Commissioner Phaedra Chrousos, U.S. CIO Tony Scott and Politico reporter Nancy Scola discussed IT modernization and the Trump administration at a recent event.

At least one top IT political appointee in the Obama administration is open to the idea of staying for a Trump administration if offered the chance.

At a Nov. 18 event hosted by Politico, U.S. CIO Tony Scott said he was excited about the progress made during his time in government and would consider remaining beyond President Barack Obama's term.

However, Scott made the requisite caveat that staying is not entirely up to him. "First, you've got to be asked, and nobody's asked," he said.

Scott said top technologists would continue to be drawn to government service regardless of who is in power. Maintaining the momentum of modernizing federal IT is not a partisan issue, he added.

"What motivates [technologists] is solving a big, tough challenge," he said. "I think you're going to get the best America has to offer.… This is so important that we've got to stay engaged."

Phaedra Chrousos, the first leader of the General Services Administration's Technology Transformation Service and now chief innovation officer at Libra Group, said the Trump administration will benefit from the experimentation and pilot efforts that are currently improving the way the government buys and delivers technology.

"The next administration is responsible hopefully for taking what works and scaling it up," she added.

Right now, the future of federal IT modernization is unclear. It was not a campaign issue or a notable policy priority for President-elect Donald Trump.

Seamus Kraft, co-founder of the OpenGov Foundation and former aide to Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), said "some good people are starting to get into place" on the Trump team. He predicted that the new administration will carry the ball on modernization of government technology.

"Bad software, bad data, bad process -- [they know] no party affiliation," Kraft said.

Scott said there's plenty of work left to do, and he also believes modernization of aging technology and the development of customer-focused digital services will continue.

"I don't think any of that stuff stops," he said. "This has become part of the way government works.… The business community has embraced this and is counting on this to continue. I don't hear any voices saying 'stop doing that' or 'it's not worth it doing that.'"

However, Scott said he expects a shift in focus and direction from the incoming administration.

"I think the digitization march is inevitable, and really, the only question is how fast is it going to go," he said. "Does this administration accelerate or not put an emphasis on it? I think it's too early to tell."