DHS CIO Charbo promoted; other leadership posts filled

Homeland Security Department CIO Scott Charbo has been promoted to acting undersecretary for management, and will continue to hold his existing position. Separately, the Senate confirmed presidential nominees to three critical DHS positions.

Charbo's appointment and the additional confirmations on the eve of the holiday weekend filled notable gaps in the senior ranks of a department that has wrestled with a comprehensive leadership turnover for more than a year.

Many sectors, including influential lawmakers and the Government Accountability Office, long have advocated that the department's central CIO be given final say over all DHS technology. While technically the department's other CIOs still will report directly to the leaders of their respective components, Charbo's promotion in effect makes him the highest-ranking DHS technology leader.

Charbo succeeds Janet Hale, who was confirmed as the department's undersecretary for management on March 6, 2003. Hale in late March announced her plans to resign.

President Bush appointed Charbo to be the department's CIO in June 2005. Charbo followed the department's first CIO, Steve Cooper, who moved on to be the CIO of the Red Cross in March 2005. In the gap between the two permanent appointments, Coast Guard Rear Adm. Ronald T. Hewitt was acting CIO.

Senior DHS nominees confirmed

As the Senate closed legislative operations for a recess that likely will end June 5, the chamber confirmed three senior DHS nominees.

As the first named tropical storm of the 2006 season, Aletta, swirled off Mexico, the Senate confirmed R. David Paulison as undersecretary for the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The Senate's Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee had delayed Paulison's confirmation as a result of questions over deductions he took on his tax returns, but the panel was able to resolve that issue.

Paulison, a former fire and rescue department chief in Miami, has worked as U.S. fire administrator since 2001. He has been FEMA's acting director since September 2005.

Also on Friday, the Senate confirmed David Norquist as DHS' chief finance officer. Norquist formerly was deputy undersecretary of Defense for budget and appropriations affairs.

And to complete the hat trick, Senate confirmed W. Ralph Basham's nomination as commissioner for Customs and Border Protection.

Basham, a 29-year Secret Service veteran, was chief of staff of the Transportation Security Administration. He also worked as director of the Secret Service and of the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center.

Basham succeeds former CBP commissioner Robert C. Bonner, who announced his plans to resign in September 2005.

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