Aneesh Chopra

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Aneesh Paul Chopra (born July 13, 1972) is an Indian American government executive who served as the first Chief Technology Officer of the United States. He was appointed in 2009 by President Barack Obama and was at the White House through 2012. Chopra previously served as Virginia’s Secretary of Technology under Governor Tim Kaine. Chopra was a candidate in 2013 for the Democratic nomination for Lieutenant Governor of Virginia. He is the author of Innovative State: How New Technologies Can Transform Government (Atlantic Monthly Press, 2014) and co-founder and Executive Vice-President of NavHealth. He currently serves as a Senior Advisor at Albright Stonebridge Group.

Aneesh Chopra
Aneesh Chopra Portrait.jpg
1st Chief Technology Officer of the United States
In office
May 2009 – February 2012[1]
President Barack Obama
Preceded by Position established
Succeeded by Todd Park[2]
4th Secretary of Technology of Virginia
In office
January 2006 – April 2009
Governor Tim Kaine
Preceded by Eugene J. Huang
Succeeded by Leonard M. Pomata
Personal details
Born (1972-07-13) July 13, 1972 (age 44)[3]
Trenton, New Jersey [4]
Political party Democratic Party
Spouse(s) Rohini Dhir[5][6]
Alma mater Johns Hopkins University
Harvard University

Early life and education[edit]

Chopra was born in Trenton, New Jersey, the eldest son of Indian immigrants Ram and Neelam Chopra.[7] Chopra received his undergraduate degree in public health from the Johns Hopkins University and a Master of Public Policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.[8] After receiving his M.P.P., Chopra worked for The Advisory Board Company where he was a Managing Director.


Virginia Secretary of Technology[edit]

In 2006, Virginia Governor Tim Kaine appointed Chopra as the commonwealth’s Secretary of Technology. His service continued until his appointment as U.S. Chief Technology Officer in 2009. Chopra spearheaded a number of innovations in state government, including the creation of a Productivity Innovation Fund which provided resources for state agencies to pursue IT projects to improve efficiency.[9] In 2008 Chopra implemented a statewide performance management strategy, that Governing magazine described as “venture governmentalism.” Later that year, the Pew Charitable Trust and Governing Magazine announced Virginia was tied as the “best managed state” in the country.[10] Also during Chopra’s term he created a podcast to increase transparency on how his office operated.

U.S. Chief Technology Officer[edit]

Chopra’s appointment as the first Chief Technology Officer of the United States was announced by the White House on April 18, 2009. From the official release: “[a]s Chief Technology Officer, Chopra will promote technological innovation to help the country meet its goals from job creation, to reducing health care costs, to protecting the homeland.”[11] Chopra was confirmed by the United States Senate on August 7, 2009. The office of Chief Technology Officer was organized within the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. The C.T.O. also serves as a cabinet-rank member of the National Economic Council and the Domestic Policy Council.

President’s Strategy for American Innovation[edit]

In 2011, the White House announced the updated Strategy for American Innovation which was aimed at innovating a number of areas of the federal government. As part of President Obama’s goal to “win the future,” Chopra implemented a number of new programs focused on education, research, and infrastructure.[12]

Startup America[edit]

Startup America, launched in 2011, is a White House program aimed at spurring innovation through entrepreneurship. Chopra helped drive the Startup America effort worked to improve access to startup capital, reduce barriers to entry, connect entrepreneurs with mentors, and create new market opportunities in health care, clean energy, and education.[13] Along with the White House initiatives, the Startup America Partnership was created as an independent alliance of private sector leaders.

Open Innovator’s Toolkit[edit]

In 2012, Chopra announced the release of the Open Innovator’s Toolkit, a collection of 20 leading practices that 'open innovators' should consider when approaching policy proposals at all levels of government.[14] As noted in the memorandum to the National Science and Technology Council Committee on Technology, the goal was “rather than pursue traditional “top-down” models to spur breakthroughs ... President Obama emphasizes a “bottom-up” philosophy that taps into the expertise of the American people.”[14]

Blue Button and Green Button[edit]

Launched by Chopra and the White House in 2010, the “Blue Button” program gave military veterans a tool to download their individual health records from the Veterans’ Administration. This tool made it easy for veterans to obtain their medical records and coordinate care with healthcare providers. As of 2015, similar programs were unveiled by the Department of Defense and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. In the first five years of the Blue Button, nearly 3 million veterans, military personnel, and Medicare beneficiaries had obtained their medical records online.[15]

Likewise, the Green Button program was launched in 2012 and provided Americans with easy and secure access to their electricity usage data and was built on the success of the Blue Button program. The program provides energy consumption data in a standardized format that can easily be displayed on the web or via other applications.[16]

Campaign for Virginia Lieutenant Governor[edit]

In July 2012, The Washington Post reported that Chopra would run for the Democratic nomination for Lieutenant Governor of Virginia.[17] The primary election was held on June 11, 2013 and Chopra was defeated by State Senator Ralph Northam by a margin of 54-46%.[18]

Post-Obama administration career[edit]

Chopra co-founded Hunch Analytics with partners Sanju Bansal and Dan Ross. Hunch Analytics currently contains two portfolio companies: NavHealth, a healthcare data analytics firm, and Equate Analytics, a performance marketing firm. Hunch Analytics is currently operating in Arlington, Virginia.[19][20]

Civic and Academic Leadership[edit]

In 2014, Chopra was named to the inaugural class of Walter Shorenstein Media and Democracy Fellows at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. He led a program that addressed the role of data as public infrastructure and the challenges and opportunities involved with expanding open access to data.[21]

Later in 2014, Chopra was appointed by Governor Terry McAuliffe to serve on the Council on Virginia’s Future. From the Council’s description: “The Council works to help guide Virginia in improving outcomes for citizens. Membership is prescribed by law and includes top leadership from the executive and legislative branches of state government, as well as business and community leaders from across the Commonwealth.[22]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ashely Southall (2012-01-27). "Top Technology Official Leaving the White House". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-03-13. 
  2. ^ Hart, Kim (2012-03-11). "At SXSW, Todd Park talks startups". Politico. Retrieved 2012-03-13. 
  3. ^ Linnell, Lisa Prezioso; Hayes, Heather B. (1 Feb 2008), "The collaborative strategist", Virginia Business, Virginia Business Publications, 
  4. ^ "Introducing Aneesh Chopra: America's CTO", The Indofiles, 18 Apr 2009, archived from the original on 10 Feb 2010 
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ Tracy, Ryan. "Obama taps WW-PS alum for technology post", The Times (Trenton), April 21, 2009. Accessed February 22, 2011. "President Obama has picked a graduate of West Windsor-Plainsboro High School to be the nation's first chief technology officer. Aneesh Chopra, 36, graduated from West Windsor's south campus in 1990 and spent the last three years as secretary of technology under Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine."
  8. ^ School, Harvard Kennedy. "Chief Technology Noodge". Retrieved 2016-07-12. 
  9. ^ "Venture Governmentalist". Retrieved 2016-07-12. 
  10. ^ "Measuring Performance" (PDF). March 2008 – via Governing Magazine. 
  11. ^ "Weekly Address: President Obama Discusses Efforts to Reform Spending, Government Waste; Names Chief Performance Officer and Chief Technology Officer". 2009-04-18. Retrieved 2016-07-12. 
  12. ^ "Winning the future through innovation". Retrieved 2016-07-12. 
  13. ^ "President Obama Speaks about Startup America". The White House. Retrieved 2016-07-12. 
  14. ^ a b "In Parting Shot, Chopra Unveils Open Innovator's Toolkit". FedScoop. Retrieved 2016-07-12. 
  15. ^ "Celebrating the 5 Year Anniversary of Blue Button & Open Health Data". 2015-10-01. Retrieved 2016-07-12. 
  16. ^ "Green Button Initiative Makes Headway with Electric Industry and Consumers". 2015-07-22. Retrieved 2016-07-12. 
  17. ^ "Chopra to run for Virginia lietenant governor". Washington Post. Retrieved 2016-07-12. 
  18. ^ "Virginia Elections Database » Search Elections". Virginia Elections Database. Retrieved 2016-07-13. 
  19. ^ "Aneesh Chopra, the nation's first chief technology officer, has started a new venture". Washington Post. Retrieved 2016-07-12. 
  20. ^ "Aneesh Chopra, the First CTO of USA, starts Hunch Analytics". IANS. Retrieved 25 March 2014. 
  21. ^ School, Harvard Kennedy. "Aneesh Chopra and Nick Sinai Announced as Inaugural Walter Shorenstein Media and Democracy Fellows". Retrieved 2016-07-12. 
  22. ^ "About Us | Council on Virginia's Future". Retrieved 2016-07-12. 

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