Technology heavyweights Marc Benioff and Michael Capellas have added their clout to a commission being formed to recommend public policies for advancing the Obama administration’s cloud-first strategy.

The TechAmerica Foundation, a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit tech lobbying organization, announced that Benioff, chief executive officer of, and Capellas, head of a joint venture formed by Cisco and EMC, would serve as co-chairman of the cloud initiative. Capellas has previously led Compaq Computer and MCI.

The commission, which will be comprised of representatives from industry, government and academia, will make recommendations on how government should deploy cloud technologies and address policies that might hinder U.S. leadership in the cloud commercial space.

“The significance of cloud computing in the world has accelerated with the rise of social technologies, proliferation of mobile devices, and openness of cloud platforms,” Benioff said in a statement. “The cloud is critical to future economic prosperity and we need the right mix of public policies to ensure that the cloud can continue the blistering pace of innovation that we have seen in the sector thus far.”

The group aims to have all of its members and representatives on board by the end of March. Following a period of consultation, it plans to present recommendations to Federal Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra in early summer. Commercial-facing recommendations will similarly be presented to Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and Under Secretary Pat Gallagher.

“The United States has no choice but to advance its leadership in cloud-based technologies, or we will lose the jobs of the future to our competitors,” Under Secretary Gallagher said in a supporting statement.



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