1st Chief Technology Officer of the US is named, April 18, 2009

-April 18, 2017

On his first day in office, President Barack Obama created the position of Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of the United States. On April 18, 2009, the President named Aneesh Chopra as the nation's first CTO. He was confirmed and sworn in a month later.

CTO is a position created within the Office of Science and Technology Policy charged with using applied technology to help create jobs, reduce the costs of health care, and help keep the nation secure. The position is also tasked with increasing Americans' access to broadband.

In his "Strategy for American Innovation," the President said the CTO would look at the way technology can spur innovation to make the government do a more efficient job.

Before his appointment, Chopra was Virginia’s Secretary of Technology. As CTO, he served as an adviser to the President on innovation and a government liaison with academia and industry. He worked with Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra, tasked with making the government more effective, efficient, and transparent.

In his time in the position, Chopra's work included the President's National Wireless Initiative, including the development of a nationwide public safety broadband network; Internet Policy Principles, including the call for a Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights; and the implementation of the President’s open government strategy aimed at making the federal government more innovative.

Chopra resigned effective February 8, 2012. After his resignation, President Obama said, "his legacy of leadership and innovation will benefit Americans for years to come."

His successor was Todd Park, the former CTO of the department of Health and Human Services. He is credited with starting the Presidential Innovation Fellows program and helping to fix the Healthcare.gov website. Megan Smith, a former Vice President at Google and mechanical engineer, was appointed CTO of the United States in 2014, and has worked on increasing diversity in technology, and using technology to improve government through open source and open data. Her successor has not yet been nominated.


For more moments in tech history, see this blog. EDN strives to be historically accurate with these postings. Should you see an error, please notify us.

Editor's note: This article was originally posted on April 18, 2013 and edited on April 18, 2017.


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