Jun 25 2020

Federal CIO Suzette Kent Is Stepping Down

The government's top technology official is leaving the post after more than two years and significant progress on IT modernization.

Federal CIO Suzette Kent is stepping down from her role in government in July after serving as the government’s point person on technology issues and IT modernization since January 2018. 

“My commitment was to give 100% to improving government technology and citizen services. It is my hope that the outcomes achieved stand in evidence to that commitment,” Kent said in a statement, according to multiple news outlets. “It is with great pride in results delivered and confidence in [Deputy Federal CIO] Maria Roat, [Federal Chief Information Security Officer] Grant Schneider, and [OFCIO Chief of Staff] Jordan Burris’ leadership, the OFCIO team, and the leaders in the CIO Council that I depart. It has been an honor and a privilege to serve our nation.”

As Federal News Network reports, Kent’s decision to step down “comes just six weeks after Maria Roat joined as the deputy federal CIO. Roat came over to that role after serving almost four years as the CIO at the Small Business Administration.”

FedTech spoke with Kent during the Imagine Nation ELC 2019 conference about IT modernization.

It is unclear who will replace Kent as the government’s top IT official within the Office of Management and Budget. However, as FedScoop reports, “Roat is likely to fill in for Kent after her departure. There’s no word yet on an official replacement.”

“I want to thank Suzette for all of her work on behalf of the President,” said acting OMB Director Russ Vought in a statement. “During her time at the White House she’s had a remarkable impact on Agencies operations, helping to drive critical modernizations through the President’s Management Agenda. On behalf of the entire Office of Management and Budget, I want to express my deepest gratitude for Suzette and wish her all the best in this next chapter.”

During her tenure as CIO, Kent has spearheaded updates on key government IT policies around data center optimizationcloudthe Trusted Internet Connections program and more. She also pushed for the creation of a Federal Data Strategy, though target dates for achieving milestones in the plan were extended in May due to the coronavirus as work continues on the plan.

More broadly, Kent has focused on creating capacity for continuous improvement in government IT modernization and laying the foundation for strategies that future administrations can build upon. Those efforts include the Centers of Excellence program in the General Services Administration to help agencies make systemic modernizations, the Technology Modernization Fund to accelerate specific IT projects and a new approach to shared services

Kent has said she is proud of how the government IT community has proven to be agile and collaborative in the face of the pandemic. “I’m proudest of the way that the Federal community has collaborated," she recently told MeriTalk. “They shared people, they shared work products, they offered to come together in working groups to solve something on behalf of the entire group. They stepped to the forefront to take on challenges.”

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