I agree with Nicholas Thompson. In his Wired article, Too Early to Criticize Obama's Tech Policy?, he proposes "Not an A. But not a C either" for the grade to give the Obama administration in this first month and a half. As I noted in an earlier post (also linking to a Wired article), the government is hamstrung by its size, and by a variety of laws meant to provide access and protection to all. Fast prototyping is not as attractive when a mistake is a breach of Federal law and likely to be covered by the national and international press. I urge us all to give the administration some benefit of the doubt when it comes to technology implementation. However, I also hope our representatives are seriously considering how much of this needs to be specifically covered by law, and whether some of the laws that we have need to be revisited in light of modern technology and its use. One issue of concern in the new Wired article is where the role of CTO sits. Thompson writes,
The most legitimate complaint so far is that Obama has yet to appoint a CTO. Not only that, but the position appears to have been demoted. The Sunlight Foundation caught an executive order declaring that the CTO will sit in the president's Domestic Policy Council. That's better than what some people feared---that the CTO would just be knocked into the Office of Management and Budget---but not nearly as good as people hoped when they had visions of the CTO (Eric Schmidt!? Jeff Bezos?!) sitting in an office down the hall from Obama.
Structure and technology go hand in hand in good organizational design. I'm hoping that we get both a CTO (to guide government technology policy) and a CIO (to guide government technology infrastructure). In the mean time, I'm following the blog, Tech President, described by Thompson as the "best blog for following these issues in depth."