Leavitt as America's CTO


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There's been considerable discussion about Obama's intention to appoint a Chief Technology Officer for the United States. Count me as a supporter of that move. It's almost cliche to say that Technology plays a vital role in the US economy and our place in the world.

Of course, when I say CTO, I mean CTO and not CIO. And I think that the job would be vastly different than what CTOs do in a high-tech business. America's CTO would be focused almost 100% on policy issues. After all that's what government does.

To be qualified, you need to (1) pass the ethics tests, (2) understand how technology relates to government and the public in a wide range of areas, and (3) be a policy wonk. Items (1) and (3) disqualify most of the people who've been suggested.

Given these requirements I think Mike Leavitt, the current Secretary of HHS would make a great CTO. He understands technology very well and relates it well to policy. He'd be an able spokesman. I can imagine no one better. Of course, he's a Republican--in fact his name has been put forth as a candidate for the next Chair of the RNC. Still, if I got my wish, that's who would be the CTO.