From: Beye Network

by Dr. Ramon Barquin

The Federal CIO Council (CIOC) has been around since the mid-1990s. It was created by Executive Order (EO) 13011 of July 16, 1996, which addressed a series of items dealing with federal information technology.

In typical Washington fashion, the White House had to issue EO 13011 in order to get agencies to implement many of the provisions mandated by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1980 and the Information Technology Management Reform Act of 1996, better known as the Clinger-Cohen Act. Eventually, many of the provisions of EO 13011 were incorporated into a statute of its own, the E-Government Act of 2002.

Whatever its origins within the bowels of both the legislative and executive branches, since its creation the Council has a played an important role in providing direction to agencies related to information technology. It has truly served, as its founding charter specifies, as “the principal interagency forum to improve agency practices on such matters as the design, modernization, use, sharing, and performance of agency information resources.”

The Council is officially chaired by Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) Deputy Director for Management or Chief Performance Officer, a position held by Jeffrey Zients until the end of April 2013. The Acting Deputy Director for Management, and hence current chair of the CIO Council, is Steven VanRoekel, the US CIO. The Vice Chair is elected by the Council members and is an agency CIO.

Membership has focused on being inclusive, as illustrated by its charter.

The CIO Council shall be comprised of:   

  • The Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA);


  • The Chief Information Officer of each agency described under section 901(b) of Title 31 of the U.S. Code;
    (These are: The Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Justice, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, Veterans Affairs, the Environmental Protection Agency, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Agency for International Development, the General Services Administration, the National Science Foundation, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Office of Personnel Management, the Small Business Administration, the Social Security Administration.)
  • The Chief Information Officer of the Intelligence community;
  • The Chief Information Officer of the Department of Homeland Security;
  • The Chief Information Officer of the Department of the Army, the Department of the Navy, and the Department of the Air Force, if chief information officers have been designated for such departments under section 3506(a)(2)(B);
  • Two Small Agency Council representatives
  • Any other officer or employee of the United States, as designated by the Executive Committee of the CIO Council. 

Over the years, however, the Council’s structure as well as its mission started to become unwieldy and cluttered with too many committees, subcommittees and non-performing components. At latest count there were six major committees and 29 subcommittees, plus a taskforce on data center consolidation. As a result the time was ripe for change.

On August 9, 2013, the White House announced a reorganization of the CIO Council intended to make it a more agile body and to better deal with the priorities established by the second Obama Administration. In its new structure, the Council will now have only three committees – Innovation, Portfolio Management, and Information Security and Identity Management – and incorporate input from communities of practice within federal IT. The three such communities currently identified are accessibility, privacy, and IT workforce.

The committees are intended to satisfy three mandates for federal IT: Deliver, Innovate and Protect. The Portfolio and Management Committee will deliver; the Information Security and Identity Management Committee will protect; and the Innovation Committee, naturally, will innovate.

In terms of it governance, there is now an Executive Committee that will review all council projects and align them with Administration priorities. It will be chaired by the Federal CIO, Steve VanRoekel, and include representatives from the Committees, the Communities of Practice, as well as a handful of other officials.

Furthermore, a number of former Council activities (i.e., communications and outreach, best practices and knowledge management and administrative support and coordination) will now be left for Council staff (and hired contractors) to carry out.

While the reorganization was expected, it still was met with mixed reaction by industry. As far as business intelligence is concerned, there is not very much on which to go. The expectation is that there has to be ample opportunity for business intelligence (BI) and analytics, but there is nothing specific anywhere in the announcements.

The CIO Council is an important player in federal IT. Let’s see where the reorganization takes us.