The United States found itself without a Chief Technology Officer yesterday when Todd Park relinquished his post to go trawl Silicon Valley for IT types, but that spot may not stay open for long. Bloomberg claims that there's already a frontrunner for the job: Megan Smith, the 49 year old vice president of Google's moonshot-loving X division. If the rumors hold true, Smith would become the country's third CTO (succeeding Park and his predecessor Aneesh Chopra), and the first not to trade one government job for another.

But here's a question to ponder: what exactly does the United States' CTO do? The office's stated goal is to "promote technological innovation to help achieve our most urgent priorities -- from creating jobs and reducing health care costs to keeping our nation secure", but it can be a little tough to outline exactly what the men in the CTO seat have actually accomplished. Chopra's tenure for instance saw the development of a nationwide public safety broadband network, while Park's stint is probably best known for the tricky rollout of Healthcare.gov, a process that was... fraught with headaches, to say the least. Smith's lack of governmental experience could help or hurt here -- she's no stranger to wrangling resources and getting stuff done, but the amount of bureaucratic red tape that comes with a high-ranking spot like this would be nothing to sneeze at.