NASCIO updates mission for first time in 20 years

The National Association of State Chief Information Officers made some tweaks to its vision statement and goals, but the group's president said the changes are more than "a fresh coat of paint."
nascio fraud panel
From left, Utah CIO Alan Fuller, North Carolina CIO Jim Weaver and acting Illinois CIO Brandon Ragle discuss the widespread fraud against COVID-19 relief funds at the NASCIO midyear conference in Oxon Hill, Md. (Colin Wood / Scoop News Group)

For the first time in nearly two decades, the National Association of State Chief Information Officers on Tuesday updated the mission in its strategic plan, publishing to its website a reworded vision statement and goals.

To the casual observer, the changes are minor. The association, which represents statewide CIOs of the nation’s states and territories, tweaked its vision statement to include the importance of “trusted collaboration, partnerships,” where previously it only mentioned technology leadership, for instance. Doug Robinson, NASCIO’s executive director, told StateScoop the new vision statement is “reflective of the current environment and the future.”

“It’s unusual for organizations to change their mission, but I think you have to do it,” Robinson said. “You have to look at the external environment. We didn’t do any formal scenario planning, but that’s what [the executive committee] talked about. The executive committee talked about the external environment and what they’re operating in and the association needs to reflect that.”

While updates to its mission are rare, NASCIO updates its overall strategic plan every two years. A tweak made throughout the document in this plan is the replacement of the term “information technology” with simply “technology.” Jim Weaver, North Carolina’s CIO and NASCIO’s current president, told StateScoop that changes like this constitute more than “a fresh coat of paint.”


“We’re recognizing the fact that there’s more out there,” Weaver said. “When we think about the introduction of generative AI into a business process environment, that’s not infrastructure and operations.”

The role of state CIOs and their information technology departments has traditionally been that of support: standing up the basic infrastructure that undergirds other agencies’ websites, telephones and desktop computers. But the CIO role has changed, and in the past decade in particular, state CIOs’ roles have evolved to include a broader host of responsibilities. This was especially reflected several years ago when NASCIO began promoting the idea of the “CIO as a broker of services.”

Weaver said he spoke with a state legislator last week who thought the state CIO’s job was merely managing data centers and servers.

“That’s just a part of what we do,” Weaver said. “I’ve got the broadband program, I’ve got next-gen 911, I’ve got the health information exchange, I’ve got the Government Data Analytics Center. Our portfolio is so big, but everyone focuses back on that little server/data centers thing.”

Robinson said the only addition to the group’s goals was the inclusion of advocacy for a “highly skilled and resilient technology workforce,” a nod to state government’s perennial challenge in competing with the private sector for tech workers.


Robinson, who’s led NASCIO since 2004, pointed out that the group has undergone similar changes throughout its history, including two name changes. NASCIO was once called the National Association of State Information Systems, or NASIS, a name that Robinson said now includes an outdated term, but that also didn’t make sense.

“You’re an association of people, an association of leaders,” he said. “They named the association after inanimate objects, which is kind of weird if you think about it.”

Colin Wood

Written by Colin Wood

Colin Wood is the editor in chief of StateScoop and EdScoop. He's reported on government information technology policy for more than a decade, on topics including cybersecurity, IT governance and public safety.

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