Jun 25 2015

5 Facts About New USDA CIO Jonathan Alboum

Former Food and Nutrition Service CIO takes over as USDA CIO on June 29.

Government veteran Jonathan Alboum was named the new chief information officer at the U.S. Agriculture Department on Friday, replacing Cheryl Cook, who retired from government service in March.

Although Alboum is well known in the government technology community, here are five facts about him and his new role at USDA, which he starts June 29.

1. Alboum most recently served as the program executive officer for the MIDAS program, an initiative of USDA’s Farm Service Agency aimed at creating a platform that would host data, tools and applications for administering farm program benefits to farmers. This program was shut down because of weak performance and uncertainty about plans for the future, according to the Government Accountability Office.

2. Prior to that, Alboum was the CIO of the Food and Nutrition Service (an agency within the USDA), where one of his major projects was creating a website for MyPlate, the successor to the Food Pyramid.

3. All that government experience will be beneficial to Alboum’s understanding of the USDA. The department is one of the largest inside the federal government, composed of more than 100,000 employees spread across offices in nearly every county of the United States. With a workforce that diverse, Alboum will build on Cook’s mobility efforts.

4. Alboum has other government experience as well, serving as the deputy CIO at the General Services Administration’s Federal Acquisition Service. He was also a consultant for PricewaterhouseCoopers and Ventera Corp.

5. Said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack: "I welcome Jonathan into his new role as chief information officer, where his vast experience in formulating IT strategies, polices and initiatives will help USDA continue to modernize its tools and resources, innovate our digital services, improve the way we deliver results and technology to our many customers, and protect USDA's IT assets and information."