Bush names new 'CIO' of U.S. government

President Bush picks U.S. Department of Energy Chief Information Officer Karen Evans to become administrator of information technology and e-government for the federal government.

President Bush has picked U.S. Department of Energy Chief Information Officer Karen Evans to become administrator of information technology and e-government for the federal government.

Evans, a 20-year veteran of the Washington, D.C., bureaucracy, succeeds Mark Forman, who said last month he was leaving, because the government didn't pay him well enough. Bush's announcement, released Wednesday, said Evans will become the associate director of the of information technology and e-government at the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, located in the White House--a post sometimes referred to as the government's chief information officer.

Before taking the Energy Department position, Evans ran the Information Resources Management Division at the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Justice Programs. The office provides funding for programs including Safe Schools, Safe Start, Community Prosecution and Native American Tribal Courts. Since December 2002, Evans has been the vice chair of the U.S. Chief Information Officers Council.

Evans holds a bachelor's degree in chemistry and a master's of business administration degree from West Virginia University.

Jamie Love, an open-source advocate at Ralph Nader's Consumer Project on Technology, said he had made some progress persuading Forman--Evans' predecessor--to move toward open standards and open file formats inside the federal government.

Love hopes Evans will continue that trend. "I want her to require Microsoft or Microsoft's competitors to provide the government with software that saves documents in an open standards-based format," Love said. "The U.S. government can legitimately make that a priority, to make the market more competitive and open."

In a Perspectives commentary published Wednesday on CNET News.com, Payton Smith of the market research company Input called for "an individual who can match or exceed Forman, with strong leadership to manage the still relatively new processes and to maintain good working relationships with the often diametrically opposed federal chief information officers and the U.S. Congress."

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