Every new administration brings a new set of characters to Washington, D.C., and in most cases, new leadership at federal agencies. This often extends to agencies’ IT leadership roles, especially for political appointees.
For those keeping track of federal CIOs, the past few weeks have been extremely busy. Some CIOs have resigned, others have been reassigned within agencies, and some agencies have brought in new IT leaders to replace those who left.
Despite a great deal of debate about what all of the moves mean, there’s a variety of reasons for the changes. “It seems to me that when you’re looking at all the departures, they’re happening for different reasons,” Alan Balutis, director of Cisco’s Internet Business Solutions Group and founding member of the Federal CIO Council, told MeriTalk. “When you look at it one by one, and there’s a host of different reasons, I wouldn’t leap to the conclusion that it’s a purge.”
Here is a breakdown of some of the major recent CIO changes.
Federal CIOs Who Are Leaving
- Office of Personnel Management CIO David DeVries will leave the agency after serving for about a year in the role, according to reports last week. His last day will be Sept. 2, an OPM spokesperson told multiple outlets. DeVries joined OPM as CIO in August 2016. He came over from the Defense Department, where he had been principal deputy CIO under then-DOD CIO Terry Halvorsen. It’s unclear who will replace DeVries in the interim; Rob Leahy is currently the deputy CIO.
- Department of Homeland Security CIO Richard Staropoli abruptly resigned earlier this month. He had been on the job only since late April. It remains unclear why he suddenly resigned from the agency on Aug. 3. DHS told FCW and other news outlets that Staropoli's resignation is effective Sept. 1. Stephen Rice, who had been deputy CIO at DHS, will serve in the CIO role until President Donald Trump appoints a new CIO for the department.
Federal CIOs Who Are Moving
- Agriculture Department CIO Jonathan Alboum has been reassigned, according to both Federal News Radio and FCW. Alboum will become the agency’s deputy senior procurement executive, according to Federal News Radio. A replacement has not been named. Alboum had been CIO since June 2015.
- Similarly, Treasury Department CIO Sonny Bhagowalia was reassigned in late July after serving in that role since October 2014. Bhagowalia “has joined the leadership team at the Bureau of the Fiscal Service as a detailee to focus on a series of important cybersecurity and technology projects,” a Treasury spokesperson told FCW. The agency’s deputy CIO, Eric Olson, took over as acting CIO.
- Rob Foster, is leaving his role as the CIO of the Department of the Navy, and his last day will be Aug. 19, according to Federal News Radio. Foster will become the deputy CIO of the National Credit Union Administration, where he will be responsible for delivery of IT services, the outlet reports. Foster became the Navy’s CIO in June 2015 after being the deputy CIO at the Department of Health and Human Services. It’s not clear who will become acting CIO when Foster leaves. Kelly Fletcher is the principal deputy CIO.
Federal CIOs Who Are Coming In
- The Army got a new CIO earlier this month when Maj. Gen. Bruce Crawford took the role Aug. 1. Crawford, who has served for 31 years, will advise the Army chief of staff on “network, communications, signal operations, information security, force structure, and equipping,” according to FedScoop. Lt. Gen. Robert Ferrell, the previous CIO/G-6, had been in the role since December 2013 and retired in April.
- In June, Lt. Gen. Bradford Shwedo became the new CIO of the Air Force, FedScoop reported. Prior to this appointment, Shwedo served as commander of the 25th Air Force at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas. Former Air Force CIO Lt. Gen. Bill Bender announced earlier this year his plans to retire. His official last day was Aug. 1.
Nextgov has a handy list of the federal CIOs who remain in their posts.