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FCW : March 15, 2013
X NASA was innovative enough to put a man on the moon, but just a few years ago, its IT department "couldn t install Adobe on your desktop," retir- ing CIO Linda Cureton said. That s "retiring" as in leaving govern- ment service, not as in "shy." Never one to hold back, Cureton told FCW that although innovation was always cen- tral to NASA s overall mission, its CIO of ce was mostly known for handling tech complaints and developing secu- rity policies before she became CIO in September 2009. That is not the case anymore. Cureton s drive to innovate pushed the agency to integrate its IT infra- structure, save millions of dollars by eliminating bad contracts and boldly go where few agencies had before by adopting an open-source cloud com- puting environment called Nebula in 2010. When Cureton retires from the government on April 1 after a 34-year career as a civil servant, she will leave behind a legacy of innovation and stra- tegic thinking. What she accomplished at NASA Before Cureton took over as NASA s agencywide CIO, she had already blogged regularly for more than a year, blazing a trail in social media that some federal executives have yet to follow. Under Cureton, NASA was light- years ahead of many agencies in cloud computing. In 2010, the agency installed Nebula, an infrastructure-as- NASA's departing CIO leaves a bold legacy --- and some challenges for her successor LINDA CURETON BY FRANK KONKEL IT innovator plans her a-service solution that helped NASA cut costs by improving resource use and reducing energy consumption and labor. The platform also provided an envi- ronment for the computation and stor- age of the agency s scienti c data and Web-based applications and improved how NASA shares complex datasets with the public and its partners in aca- demia and business. "It was a very tenuous time in cloud computing," Cureton said. "People real- ly didn t believe in it or in Nebula, and we had a hard time getting funding for it. It s taken off like wild re." Cureton also created the position of chief technology of cer for IT at NASA to lead the agency s technology and innovation efforts. Previously occu- pied by Nebula founder Chris Kemp and now by Sasi Pillay, the position is charged with providing NASA per- sonnel with the most innovative IT in the world --- exactly what you would expect from the agency that explores other planets and maps the universe. Cureton said the position ensures that NASA s IT department will never N MISSION X X N NE IS MIS T SI S March 15, 2013 FCW.COM 19 DAVID WIEGOLD
March 30, 2013