DHS names new deputy CIO

The Homeland Security Department has tapped Charlie Armstrong to be its deputy CIO.
Armstrong, the former CIO of the department's Border and Transportation Directorate, started in mid-September and replaces Rear Adm. Ronald T. Hewitt, who had been acting CIO since April. Hewitt has returned to his previous position as Coast Guard CIO.

"We needed someone who knows the organization well," said DHS CIO Scott Charbo yesterday during the Identity Management Conference in Arlington, Va., sponsored by the Information Technology Association of America. "We make a good team."

Charbo took over for Steve Cooper in June after coming from the Agriculture Department.

Under the proposed DHS reorganization, the Border and Transportation Directorate would be eliminated, and Armstrong likely would have been looking to move elsewhere in the department.

Among his duties in his new role, Armstrong will lead the DHS CIO Council working groups identifying the barriers to integrating systems and defining the architecture for screening, information sharing and case management systems.

"Our CIO Council is pretty effective, and as we get into the business area I am pulling out the CIOs that have the most skin in the game," Charbo said. "They will identify these things so when we have a future business requirement we will be ready to deal with it."

Charbo said the screening working group got started a month ago, and that the information sharing group would be launched this month. The case management subcommittee will get started in the next month or so, he added.

DHS also will continue to focus on its top five priorities for 2006, Charbo said. These include:
  • Inventorying and aligning agency investments

  • Improving IT security ? Charbo expects to have all systems certified and accredited by Sept. 30

  • Infrastructure enhancements, such as data center, e-mail and help desk consolidation, and moving the WAN to a managed network

  • Doing a better job with sharing information and

  • Improving how DHS manages big projects.

The infrastructure improvements also will lead DHS to better use e-authentication technologies and identification management, Charbo added.

"We need to get our house in order, and then we can leverage our Active Directory and connect our applications through the e-authentication applications," he said. "We have a credentialing environment in place and can buy public-key infrastructure tools. We just need to look at how we plug the pieces together with the legacy applications."

Jason Miller is an assistant managing editor of Washington Technology's sister publication, Government Computer News.

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