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Department of Health and Human Services Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Council Charter


1.         Purpose

2.         Vision and Mission

3.         Scope

4.         Responsibilities

5.         Membership

6.         Meetings

7.         Meeting Minutes

7.1  Records  Management

8.         Agenda Items

9.         Voting Council Members

10.       Reports

11.       Approval

1.       Purpose

This Charter establishes the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Council.  The Charter defines the vision, mission, scope, responsibilities, membership, and administrative matters that govern the operation of the HHS CTO Council. All proposed changes to this document, with supporting rationale, are to be submitted in writing to the HHS Office of the Chief Information Officer.

Chief Technology Officers must keep current with emerging Information Technology (IT) developments in order to recommend and/or design appropriate IT solutions that support the strategic business objectives of the Department and its investments.  The process to document and seek approval of investments in IT (i.e., the IT Budget) requires the submission of an Exhibit 300 (Business Case) to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).  Therefore, HHS Business Cases shall be assessed by the CTOs to ensure proposed and/or selected alternative solutions are aligned with the strategic IT solutions that are recommended by the CTO Council. 

This Charter is a first issuance.

2.       Vision and Mission

The HHS CTO Council is being established to provide a vision, strategy and direction for technology by ensuring a strategic, standardized, service-wide approach to IT that minimizes duplication of effort; ensures transparency, openness, and compatibility; promotes knowledge sharing; fosters collaboration; and supports Department and Federal mandates.  The CTO Council serves as a forum for the exchange of information on emerging technologies.  The intent is to improve the awareness and understanding of HHS business drivers and IT infrastructure, reduce IT investment costs, and ensure consistency throughout the enterprise.

3.       Scope

This CTO Charter applies to all HHS OPDIVs and STAFFDIVS. The HHS CTO Council evaluates and recommends the strategic and tactical enterprise IT infrastructure architecture.  The CTO Council apprises the HHS CIO Council; the Enterprise Architecture Review Board (EARB); the Service and Supply Fund Board (SSFB); and, Information Technology Investment Review Board (ITIRB) on strategic initiatives and projects that meet the business objectives. The Council will:

  •  Identify and act upon opportunities to collaborate on major IT infrastructure projects that will advance HHS mission, goals, and objectives, leveraging the diversity of technical expertise and perspective of the Department’s various business components;
  • Evaluate, make recommendations for approval of  IT budget documents (e.g., Exhibit 300’s) to ensure compliance with applicable directives; 
  • Analyze and interpret OMB, NIST and HHS directives and forward its findings and recommendations to the HHS CIO Council;
  • Establish a Technical (Reference) Architecture (TRA) in collaboration with HHS Enterprise Architecture; and
  • Establish and manage the IT Configuration Change Board (CCB) Enterprise Services Committee (yet to be formalized) that will report through the CTO Council to the CIO Council regarding impact on the current infrastructure.

Furthermore the CTO Council shall:

  • Participate on configuration management boards impacting Department-wide infrastructure issues;
  • Review systems plans from a technology and infrastructure perspective prior to presentation of those plans to the CIO Council; and
  • Participate in the development and sustainment of the technical components of the enterprise architecture. 

The following principles, guidelines and processes described below are applicable to all HHS and Operating Divisions (OPDIVs) enterprise systems, and cross-OPDIV systems (systems that cross two or more OPDIVs and not the entire enterprise): 

ShareKnowledge - Provide a forum for senior technical personnel across the Department to share and gain consensus regarding information, directives, strategies, industry trends, and best practices relating to information technology.

TransferKnowledge – Disseminate information to CTOs about technology and application opportunities, etc. When appropriate, the industry is invited to participate in these efforts.

Technical Advisory - Serve as the senior advisory committee for setting the future IT landscape of the Department and provide technical policies, standards, architectures, and a consistent technical view of a matured IT Strategic Plan;

Technical Reference Architecture (TRA) - Support the Technical Reference Architecture (TRA) by providing input and feedback to the Department’s CTOs (OPDIVs) who are responsible for implementing standards, products, and system development methodologies.

4.       Responsibilities

Although the HHS CTO Council operates under the authority of and reports to the HHS CIO, the HHS CTO Council has independent authority to accept or reject technical recommendations, establish criteria for certifying proposed IT projects comply with established design standards, or review other matter relevant to its mission.  The Senior Technology Officer (STO) within the HHS OCIO office is the senior advisor to the CIO and Department management on future technology initiatives and investments and serves as the Chair for the CTO Council.  The CTO Council is responsible for:

  • Receiving, accepting, conferring, deferring, or rejecting recommendations from OPDIV CTOs, boards, panels, or committees on the future direction of IT for the Department;
  • Establishing the criteria for certifying that proposed IT projects comply with appropriate mandates;
  • Reviewing investments and/or technical designs at established stages to ensure that the design conforms to the Technical Architecture set by the Council;
  • Participating with CIO and other Senior IT leaders including Architecture and Security teams in planning the short and long-range technology strategies;
  • Providing leadership in ensuring appropriate technology usage;
  • Developing IT technology standards and protocols inline with federal requirements and industry “best practice;
  • Assessing new and emerging technologies to determine application to Department programs and services;
  • Identifying and overseeing business process driven technology improvements; and
  • Providing the STO as the chair for the IT Configuration Change Board.

 5.       Membership

Chair – The CTO Council will be chaired by the Senior Technology Officer (STO) within the HHS Office of the CIO.  The Chair provides direction to the team to carry out the roles and responsibilities outlined in this Charter.  The Chair’s role is to facilitate communications among the Department’s many formal and logical sub-organizations.  Collaboration is necessary in order to provide proper guidance to CTO members and ensure effective and efficient response to emerging technologies.


Facilitator The role of a Facilitator is necessary to ensure the efficient performance of the HHS STO’s duties.  The primary source of information regarding HHS’s position on emerging technologies will be the HHS CTO Council.  The HHS CTO Council Facilitator, provided by the Office of the CIO, shall perform all CTO Council activities, including:

    • Facilitating and contributing to CTO Council meetings.
    • Facilitating and coordinating communications with other IT Governance and Management committees, including the HHS CIO Council and the HHS IT Investment Review Board.
    • Coordinating meetings, communications, reports, and other interactions with and between HHS CTO Council members;
    • Receiving, reviewing, recording, and tracking all action and agenda items submitted to the CTO Council for consideration.
    • Preparing supplemental materials for each CTO Council meeting.
    • Maintaining current and historical CTO Council logs, distribution lists, and other records.
    • Serving as the liaison to the STO, the HHS CTO Council members, and the OPDIVs regarding information collection;
    • Reviewing technological initiatives that are submitted to the HHS STO for consideration and potential inclusion in the HHS enterprise;
    • Coordinating tasks identified by the HHS STO and requests made by HHS CTO Council members; and
    • Ensuring the HHS CTO Council staff is used effectively in support of the HHS Council and that they have appropriate access to related information.

Membership – The HHS CTO Council members include senior leadership representatives with expertise in information technology and information security.  These individuals are responsible for initiating necessary follow-on activities within their organization.  The HHS CTO Council is comprised of named representatives from the following organizations within HHS:

  • Chair, Senior Technology Officer within HHS OCIO
  • Operating Divisions (OPDIVs) CTO or equivalent
  • CTO or equivalent reporting to the OS CIO within the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Administration  (ASA)
  • Office of the Inspector General (OIG) CTO or equivalent
  • HHS OCIO Enterprise Technical Architect
  • HHS OCIO Chief Information Security Officer

A list of alternates who are granted full authority to act on the members’ behalf shall be available to the Chair. 

Subject matter experts (SMEs) and other advisory members may be invited to attend HHS CTO Council meetings as non-voting members with the concurrence of the Council Chair.  These participants may include any of the following disciplines:

  • Strategic Planning
  • Tactical Planning
  • Technical Architecture (data, system, infrastructure, etc.)
  • IT Investment
  • Business and Systems Applications Development
  • Database Design
  • Security
  • IT Infrastructure (hardware, system software, networks)
  • Quality Assurance

6.       Meetings

HHS CTO Council meetings and decision-making shall be presided over by a Chair or by another appointed representative of the HHS CTO Council. Formal discussion and decision-making procedure shall follow a consensus and collaborative approach


Meeting Frequency 

The HHS CTO Council shall meet regularly, at a time and place set by the Chair, to fulfill the responsibilities outlined in this charter.  The primary intent of each meeting is to achieve consensus on recommended actions as soon as possible and communicate these recommendations to the HHS CIO.  It is currently expected that the Council shall meet monthly.  Meetings shall be announced with adequate time for arrangements and preparation.  Background material and a final agenda shall be circulated in advance. Agendas will specify the topics of discussion, supporting information, and when a vote is scheduled.  Emergency sessions may be convened to address time-critical topics as deemed necessary by the Chair.

Principals are expected to attend all meetings.  Attendance may be in person or any two-way, interactive communications means, such as conference call or video conference acceptable to the Chair.  The sessions will alternate between conference calls/live meeting and face-to-face sessions.  The face-to-face meetings will be hosted by HHS OPDIVs on a rotating basis.  A proxy may attend in the place of a member that is unable to attend.  It is the responsibility of the Council member to see that the proxy is informed of the present state of HHS CTO Council business. 

Items presented for HHS CTO Council review shall be circulated electronically for members' review far enough in advance of the meeting to allow members time to review the documents in a meaningful way.  Disposition may be determined by virtual deliberation and voting of the members without convening a CTO Council meeting.


7.       Meeting Minutes

Meeting minutes taken at each HHS CTO Council meeting will be reviewed and approved by the Chair and Facilitator for release to the HHS Council Members for additional comments.  Identified changes and/or comments to be included will be incorporated and reviewed by the HHS CTO Council members.  The final notes will be uploaded to the HHS CTO Council website.

The final copy of the minutes shall be maintained by the HHS CTO Council and posted to the HHS CTO Council Website.

7.1  Records  Management

In accordance with 36 CFR Subpart B and General Records Schedule (GRS) 26, Records of Temporary Commissions, Boards, Councils and Committees (, the HHS CTO Council will create adequate and proper documentation of the work of the Council.  Records include, but are not limited to, membership rosters, agendas, meeting minutes, reports (including reports to the Secretary), decisions and votes, and working papers created and used in the course of the work of the CTO Council.  The HHS CTO Council shall designate a council member whose responsibility it will be to create and maintain the official records of the council.

8.       Agenda Items

Agenda items will be created for each HHS CTO Council meeting by the Facilitator.  Prior to each HHS CTO Council meeting, the Facilitator will distribute a meeting agenda for the Chair’s approval.  The agenda will be posted on the HHS CTO Council Website.

See Section 7.1 “Records Management.”

9.       Voting Council Members

Five (5) voting members, one of whom is the Chair, must attend the meetings to establish a quorum.

While the HHS CTO Council operates via consensus, there may be situations that require a vote.  Decisions shall be determined based on a quorum of all voting members.  Each principal has one vote.  In the event of a tie vote, the Chair shall cast a second vote to make the final decision.  The Chair shall communicate significant minority positions of the Council to the CIO when submitting Council recommendations.  Voting will be conducted as follows:

  • A vote on an issue may be called by the Chair or by any member of the Council.
  • Each representative organization has a single vote.
  • A simple majority vote will be required to approve a recommended action or position.  In the event of a tie vote, the Chair, with advisement from the Facilitator, will determine the appropriate actions to take moving forward.
  • A quorum is required to conduct voting.  A minimum of five HHS CTO Council members or their designated alternates constitutes a quorum.
  • At the discretion of the Chair, a vote via email may be conducted after the scheduled meeting.

See Section 7.1 “Records Management.”

10. Reports

Status reports prepared by the Facilitator and approved by the Chair, are prepared as necessary to keep the Secretary of HHS informed of the future direction of HHS enterprise.  The Chair may also request additional reports as necessary from the Facilitator.


See Section 7.1 “Records Management.”

11. Approval




_________     _________/s/___________________________

November_18, 2009__

Michael W. Carleton

Deputy Assistant Secretary for Information Technology and

HHS Chief Information Officer