Chris Liddell Uses Private Sector Expertise to Revamp Federal IT

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Chris Liddell, director of strategic initiatives at the White House, brings private sector expertise to Federal IT.

Liddell and Reed Cordish, special assistant to the president for intragovernmental and technology initiatives, oversee a series of “high-impact task forces,” President Donald Trump’s appointment announcement said.

Those task forces include the White House Office of American Innovation, led by Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, and the American Technology Council. The council will be made up of 20 tech CEOs, who will discuss how to provide better digital services to the Federal government. The Silicon Valley representatives will attend a conference at the White House next month, to brainstorm ideas for the modernization.

“A lot of technology here is 20 years out of date,” Liddell said in an interview with the New York Times.

Liddell will be tasked with coming up with strategies for modernizing government technology, which has been pushed by the Trump administration with its support of Rep. Will Hurd’s Modernizing Government Technology Act. The Trump administration plans to document the Federal government’s legacy systems and prioritize the most vulnerable networks.

“When Chris Liddell came into the Federal government, one of the first things he wanted to do was he wanted to meet individually in a rapid fashion with all of the CIOs from the 24 CFO Act agencies. And those discussions were only 30 minutes,” said Margie Graves, acting CIO for the United States, at an Association of Government Accountants (AGA) event this month. “So you can imagine, it was very succinct and it was the opportunity for the CIOs to bring their top three challenges to the table.”

Liddell wanted to know what challenges CIOs were facing and whether there was anything the White House could do to help resolve or ease those challenges. Some of the administration’s primary objectives include examining the Federal Trusted Internet Connection (TIC) system and streamlining the authority to operate (ATO) process.

As the chief financial officer of General Motors, Liddell led the company’s global finance operations, including the $23 billion initial public offering (IPO), which was at the time the largest ever. Liddell was the senior vice president and CFO of Microsoft, from 2005 to December 2009, where he was responsible for overseeing corporate strategy, acquisitions, treasury activities, tax planning, accounting and reporting, internal audits, and investor relations.

Liddell’s previous experience in political work includes when he served as executive director of GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s transition planning team in 2012. He also authored Romney Readiness Project, a book on presidential transitions.

Liddell’s leadership of “large, complex companies in the private sector” should help the Trump team in their goal for “systemwide improvement to the performance of the government,” Trump said in a statement.

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