Dem LG candidate Aneesh Chopra likes to tout his high-tech background. What he doesn’t like to tout are the specifics of his tenure as Virginia’s Chief Information Officer when there were ticking time bombs developing under his purview resulting in widespread computer outages impacting several state agencies. Much of this can be traced to the thoroughly botched multi-billion dollar deal between the Virginia Information Technologies Agency and Northrop Grumman.
The state’s $2.3 billion outsourcing deal with Northrop Grumman was signed in 2005, shortly before the appointment of Aneesh Chopra as Virginia’s Secretary of Technology. In April of  Chopra was named as the Obama Administration’s CTO for the federal government.
Since he arrived after the deal was signed, Chopra isn’t liable for the oversight in a network redundancy requirement for the outsourcing contract. But in nearly four years as the state’s Secretary of Technology, it appears Chopra either never realized or never addressed the scope of the problem.
Yet, Chopra’s successor apparently realized the problem immediately.
“The first thing I noticed was that the network that Northrop Grumman rolled out didn’t have redundancy, backup,” Coulter told the Richmond Times-Dispatch. “The contract does not call for redundancy in carriers . . . in the network. Why that wasn’t put into the network, I don’t know. This is a service we have to have.” The oversight is taking its toll. The Richmond paper reports that in just five weeks this fall, the Virginia DMV suffered 12 computer system outages, putting individual offices out of business for a total of more than 100 hours.
Chopra didn’t realize there wasn’t sufficient (if any) redundancy and backup for these systems? Really? This is supposed to be his field of expertise and now he wants to be the second highest constitutional office in the Commonwealth? (For the record, the position of LG exists almost solely for the purpose of redundancy and backup.)
But wait! There’s so much more…
Shortly after Chopra left Richmond for D.C., it was discovered that Northrop Grumman was at least six-months behind on its contract to upgrade the state government’s computer systems — a task that Chopra should have been overseeing — as well as significant cost overruns. Furthermore, the system that was put in place under him made state agencies less secure while reducing the level of control these same agencies had over their own infrastructure. The same month that Chopra was named as the Obama administation’s CTO, Virginia’s system was hacked resulting in 35 million prescription records and an untold amount of Social Security numbers being accessed.
If this is the best that the Democrats have on their bench, they are in some real deep trouble.