On June 1, 2017, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed Executive Order 225 directing NJ’s Chief Technology Officer to set in motion actions to deliver a more secure, efficient, and reliable information technology platform and services across the Executive Branch.
Previously, each state department and agency oversaw its own information technology services, software and hardware integration. Under the new Executive Order, the Chief Technology Officer of the State of New Jersey is granted broad authority to oversee and integrate the hardware, software, and other information technologies used by departments and agencies within the Executive Branch. In speaking to the Chief Technology Officer at the signing of the Executive Order, Chris Christie stated:
“This is a big day in changing state government. To take away that authority and personnel from every one of the state departments and agencies and put it in your hands is a sea change in the way government is managed given how integral information technology is to the everyday operation of government. This is about a common-sense approach to taking us to a new level in terms of our information technology, and what we know is our customers, the 8.9 million people of the State of New Jersey are going to demand we do it.”
The position of Chief Technology Officer was established in 2016, oversees the New Jersey Office of Information Technology (“OIT”), and is responsible for developing and implementing strategic policies, information security standards and requirements for all State departments and agencies. David Weinstein, a former senior civilian at United States Cyber Command and a cyber risk consultant at Deloitte, currently serves as NJ’s Chief Technology Officer.
Under the Executive Order, the Chief Technology Officer will require all State agencies to provide him with an inventory of their hardware assets, including computer, storage, network and data center assets, within 30 days. Within 180 days after the issuance of the Executive Order, the Chief Technology Officer will inform the Governor of his plans to centralize these hardware assets with the OIT. The Chief Technology Officer is now authorized to transfer the ownership and management of any agency’s hardware assets to the OIT.
The Executive Order also calls for certain software decentralization. The Chief Technology Officer has previously undertaken a review of the State’s software that resides in OIT, and has identified other agency-specific software where the programs are used only by one State agency. Those agency-specific software programs, and the people and assets associated with them, will be decentralized from the OIT to that specific agency. Only software used by more than one agency or across the Executive Branch will remain with OIT.
Under the Executive Order the Chief Technology Officer is also authorized to ask each agency or department head to submit a list of legacy software applications that need modernization, and a proposal for modernization or decommissioning of such legacy software within 180 days.
Governor Christie stated that “I believe that we will lead the region and the nation by doing this in a way that makes sense, that’s efficient, and is effective for the people that you work with every day and that we serve as our customers”. “If any of you have gone through the nightmare of identity theft that I have, it’s ugly,” stressed Christie—whose identity was stolen in 2014. “Nothing less than the safety of every New Jerseyan’s personal data hangs in the balance”, the governor said.