Welcome to Washington, CIO Kent

If there’s one thing we all know about Washington, D.C., it is that change is constant. From the District’s uncanny ability to experience four seasons of weather in one day, to the changing of the guard every four years.

One very recent arrival in Washington D.C. is Suzette Kent, who was appointed as the new federal CIO at the end of January. As just the fourth federal CIO and signing on to the lead the CIO corps at a time of great challenge and change, Kent has the opportunity to shape federal IT in myriad ways. Of greatest significant is the opportunity to help federal agencies embrace IT modernization and leverage the funding made available through the Modernizing Government Technology Act (MGT Act). In doing this she can help the federal government break the cycle of legacy IT that has stymied many mission-critical programs for both warfighter and citizen.

We’ve noticed that Kent’s appointment the CIO role has been well received.  However, the best welcome we’ve seen came from CSRA’s senior vice president and chief technology officer for CSRA Inc., Yogesh Khanna.

Khanna, who is also a contributor to FTI, penned a welcome letter to Kent that was published in Nextgov last week. In his letter, Khanna, provided his perspective on what Kent might look to prioritize as she gets to work. As he rightly points out:

“there’s no shortage of priorities awaiting your attention—from wrangling cyber to blazing the trail for Modernizing Government Technology Act working capital funds. At the same time, we stand on the threshold of true government modernization—not just technology modernization.”

What else does Khanna see as needing to move to the top of Kent’s priority list? Predictably, at the top of the list is continuing the Cloud First policy to get agencies into the cloud to take advantage of the economies of scale. Closely following cloud, is an encouragement to integrate Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (AI/ML). While most see these powerful tools as a way to take full advantage of the petabytes of data that agencies hold, Khanna also sees AI/ML as a way to “ease the transition of legacy applications into the cloud…[and] automate migration tasks.”

But this is just a sampling of the priorities that Khanna suggests the new CIO explore and possibly integrate into federal IT planning for the coming year. To read Khanna’s complete letter and find out what role he thinks managed services should play, hop on over to Nextgov here.


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