Kundra Reflects on Public Service Career, ‘You Have a Right to Dream Big and Act Boldly’

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2011_06_Vivek

Thursday marked Kundra’s final day in office after serving nearly two and half years as the nation’s first federal Chief Information Officer where, during his tenure, he stressed openness and transparency, lowering the cost of government, security, data democratization and innovation.

Kundra left his position as CIO for an academic fellowship at Harvard University to conduct research at both the Berkman Center for Internet & Society and the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy, will be remembered for projects like data.gov, the IT dashboard and the 25-Point Plan to Reform Federal IT.

Today Kundra shared his thoughts (pdf) and accomplishments on his public service career.

Key excerpts

Public service:

“For me, public service has been a way to give back to a country that has given me so much. Since I first arrived here as a kid all those years ago, I’ve been inspired by that fundamentally American notion that no matter where you come from, no matter what you look like or how much money you have, you have a right to dream big and act boldly. It’s an idea that’s etched into our nation’s DNA.”

Cloud computing:

“Reducing the Federal Government’s reliance on what we call “Big Iron” and shifting to the cloud not only frees up resources so federal agencies can focus on mission-critical activities, but also reduces the Government’s overall energy and real estate footprint and can improve its IT security posture.”

Cybersecurity:

“Too often this focus on security has been used as an excuse to prevent the government from adopting the sort of innovative technologies that could better serve and engage the American people. What’s true is the inverse: Done the right way, using more nimble, flexible, modern technology enhances security by freeing the government from decaying infrastructure and custom-made applications written in obsolete computer languages even pre-dating the personal computer revolution.”

Parting words (from former president Theodore Roosevelt, whose words he kept in his wallet):

“We are face to face with our destiny, and we must meet it with a high and resolute courage. For ours is the life of action, of strenuous performance of duty; let us live in the harness of striving mighty; let us rather run the risk of wearing out rather than rusting out.”

Full article. (pdf)

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