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White House CIO Vivek Kundra Touts Cloud Computing

But He Doesn't Really Have $79 Billion to Spend, Does He?

You see, this is the problem with the MSM and why they've lost their influence and credibility.

That is, if one counts Business Week as part of the mainstream media. I do.

What's my beef, you may ask?

Well, it's the notion that Vivek Kundra, appointed U.S. Chief Information Officer by President Obama, has "$79 billion to spend on technology," in the words of a recent BW article.

Whoa. Dude. Slow this down for me, please. The $79 billion figure is taken from Obama's proposed 2011 budget, and covers all Federal IT spending, 70 percent of which is spent "just to keep the lights on" according to one report. In fact, that number is probably closer to 90 percent.

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Within the $79 billion--which is actually a slight reduction from the 2010 budget--there is a $50 million allocation for cross-governmental experimentation, as nicely reported by Wyatt Kash in the far-more-responsible-than-BW publication Government Computer News. Kash further reported that the Bush administration requested $35 million for similar funding, but was granted only 10 percent of that amount.

So, I guess the amount Mr. Kundra really controls will be somewhere between $5 million and $79 billion.

The position of US CIO is new with the Obama Administration, and I can't imagine this new kid on the block having the authority to dictate all Federal IT spending. This amount of money, the $79 billion I mean, is 2.5 times the entire federal budget of the Philippines (where I'm based right now), and is in the same ballpark as the entire budget for the State of California (which often touts itself as the "world's eighth largest economy.")

To be sure, Kundra is being aggressive in pushing through the various "dashboard" programs and striving for transparency in Federal government initiatives. He didn't specifically mention Cloud Computing in a recent blog post about his travels to San Francisco and Seatlle, but he did mention his love of entrepreneurs and was quoted by BW as touting the Cloud.

Maybe his efforts will make a dent into a security-conscious, risk-averse, ingrained Federal IT infrastructural mindset. Certainly, a number of major software vendors have been quoted, er, ah, let's say smooching up to Kundra and his ideas about Cloud Computing. But I'm sure they know they ain't chasin' no $79 billion.

More Stories By Roger Strukhoff

Roger Strukhoff (@IoT2040) is Executive Director of the Tau Institute for Global ICT Research, with offices in Illinois and Manila. He is Conference Chair of @CloudExpo & @ThingsExpo, and Editor of SYS-CON Media's CloudComputing BigData & IoT Journals. He holds a BA from Knox College & conducted MBA studies at CSU-East Bay.