The Senate has confirmed Michael Kratsios as the Trump administration's first chief technology officer (CTO), elevating him to the White House's technology leader.
Trump nominated Kratsios in March and he was confirmed by the Senate in a voice vote following a hearing last week. He had been holding the post on an interim basis and serving as the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OTSP) since March 2017. The CTO job has been vacant for the last two years. Kratsios is the fourth federal government CTO, a position created by former President Barack Obama in 2009 that had previously been held by Aneesh Chopra, healthcare entrepreneur Todd Park and Google executive Megan Smith.
Security overlap? Judging from the technologies within his purview it doesn’t look like Kratsios will have his hand in formulating a federal policy on cybersecurity should one emerge at some point. On the federal level, he’s been involved technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), quantum computing, 5G and broadband communications, autonomous vehicles, commercial drones, STEM education, and advanced manufacturing. Trump has previously issued an executive order in support of AI development.
It appears Kratsios views his new job as an extension of what he’s been for the last two-plus years. “From the start, I united OSTP around a clear mission: ensure continued American leadership in emerging technologies,” he said. “Our goals are bipartisan. We all want American innovation, built by American workers and underpinned by American values, to lead the world, increasing our prosperity, enhancing our security and raising our quality of life in the process,” he said. (via FedScoop)
Kratsios reportedly sees his position as one of policy maker. His goal, Bloomberg reported is “to take the president’s message and map it to a tech agenda.” Kratsios' appointment drew praise from Chopra, who was the inaugural CTO in the Obama administration. “It gives me some hope,” he told Bloomberg. “I’ve had no conversations with him that make me think he’s partisan.”
Before joining the Trump White House, Kratsios served as chief of staff at investment management firm Thiel Capital. Billionaire tech entrepreneur Thiel is a Trump supporter and donor.