VIP Keynote by Vivek Kundra, CIO of the US - FedTalks 2010

GSA's Gwynne Kostin Focuses on Engaging Citizens With Tech

Federal CIO Vivek Kundra closed out FedTalks 2010 Tuesday evening with a summation of what has changed in federal IT in his 20 months in office -- and what he still hopes to change going forward.

In keeping with a theme that ran through many of this year's sessions, Kundra linked open government with cost savings. "We have changed the default setting in federal IT from secret to open," he said. "We have put the name of every CIO and every contractor on every project, and made performance public."

In the process, Kundra said, "We've halted $20 billion worth of spending on systems that were not producing dividends."

Kundra said that federal agencies have also become more efficient and effective by shifting the focus of acquisitions and IT management "from growing infrastructure to learning how people interact with services."

This change in focus has made it possible to close hundreds of federal data centers. The Department of the Interior, for instance, has gone from operating more than 100 data centers, to operating about 20.

Going forward, Kundra said, government IT strategy will focus on "finding the innovative path," using technology to "shift power to the American people." Citing open data platforms like and, he argued that "we are seeing the creation of a digital public square that allows citizens to hold their government more accountable than ever before."

Kundra argued that the "democratization of data," while some see it as a threat to the GovCon industry, will actually lead to the development of the next generation of GovCon tech. "The data doesn't just hold government accountable," he said. "It will also drive innovation to create the next generation of platforms to allow economic development and growth."

"There is just no way," he concluded, "that government employees will ever outthink over 310 million American people."

-- Sean Tucker, govWin Knowledge Editor

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