USPS, VA shuffle chairs of IT executives

The Postal Service quietly named a new chief information officer while the Veterans Affairs Department continues to shift technology executives.

First, USPS called on Kristin Seaver to step into the CIO and executive vice president roles in April after spending the last two-plus years working as the vice president of area operations for the Capital Metro Area.

She replaces Randy Miskanic, who was Postal Service’s acting chief information officer since May 2015.

Jim Cochrane was the last permanent CIO, but moved to become the acting chief marketing and sales officer at the same time Miskanic was named acting CIO.

Seaver will oversee USPS’ initiatives to become more mobile and take better advantage of networked devices, commonly known as the Internet of Things (IoT).

She also will focus on everything from business analytics to cybersecurity to improving the Postal Service’s infrastructure around intelligent mail and payment technologies.

In her previous role, Seaver oversaw operations in eight districts stretching from Baltimore to Atlanta.

Postal Service named Kristin Seaver to be its new CIO and executive vice president in April.
Postal Service named Kristin Seaver to be its new CIO and executive vice president in April.

While USPS filled a vacant position, VA is looking for another chief information security officer.

Brian Burns, who had been CISO since February, is returning to the VA-Defense Department Interoperability Program Office (IPO) for electronic health records.

A VA spokesperson confirmed Burns remains at VA, but will focus exclusively on ensuring health records between VA and the DoD are interoperable.

The spokesperson said the CISO post will be filled on an interim basis by Ron Thompson, who came to VA in December to be the principal deputy assistant secretary and deputy CIO.

Other sources say VA assistant secretary for the Office of Information and Technology LaVerne Council wanted Burns to focus only on interoperability instead of both jobs.

VA now is looking for its fourth CISO in the last three years.

There are a couple of other interesting executives on the move.

First off, the House Armed Services Committee is getting a new procurement expert.

Emily Murphy is heading over the HASC after spending the last several years as the lead acquisition brain on the House Small Business Committee since 2011. She has been senior counsel and policy director leading an effort to get the Small Business Administration to change the way they count federal progress toward meeting small business goals. She also has been leading the effort to get several changes through to the Small Business Act.

Murphy starts in her new role in early May.

You may remember Murphy from her stint as the General Services Administration’s chief acquisition officer and SBA’s associate administrator for government contracting.

Murphy’s move to HASC is important as there are a dwindling number of people in Congress or on committees that have the depth and breadth of federal contracting that is needed to make changes and address long-standing issues.

The Defense Department is going through major changes to its acquisition processes, and HASC is promising another round of procurement reform legislation in the coming months. So having Murphy spearheading that effort ensures someone with the right skill set to listen to and understand DoD’s challenges.

Benjamin Huebner is the new privacy and civil liberties officer at the CIA. Director John Brennan named Huebner April 22 to become the first full-time PCLO.

“While the PCLO position and the duties it entails are not new to CIA, in the past the position has been occupied by a senior officer who had other CIA responsibilities as well,” the agency said in a release. “CIA has decided to create a full-time PCLO to strengthen the agency’s consideration of privacy and civil liberties in carrying out its mission.”

Huebner comes to the CIA on May 16 after having worked at the Department of Justice as the counsel for intelligence to the Assistant Attorney General for the National Security Division.

In that role, he advised department leaders on intelligence-related matters, including operations, litigation and oversight.

The CIA says Huebner “has extensive experience developing and managing oversight programs related to intelligence collection conducted under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.”

Finally, the Defense Department is on the search for a new undersecretary for policy.

That is because Christine Wormuth decided to step down in June.

“Throughout her career, Christine has devoted herself to enhancing America’s national security,” said Defense Secretary Ash Carter in a statement. “At the National Security Council and her many roles at the DoD, Christine has provided President [Barack] Obama, my predecessors and me invaluable counsel on the nation’s most challenging security issues. I thank Christine for her service and sacrifice and wish her all the best.”

DoD says principal deputy Brian McKeon will serve as acting undersecretary of Defense for policy.