Customs CIO to retire

S.W. "Woody" Hall, assistant commissioner of the Office of Information and Technology for the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (CBP), will retire in November, and Charles Armstrong, who runs the Customs Modernization Program, will become the acting assistant commissioner.

Hall, who has been in government for more than 30 years, was chief information officer at the Customs Service Before it became part of the Homeland Security Department last year. He previously worked for the Energy Department, where he was CIO from 1994 to 1998.

In an interview, Hall said he planned to spend time with his family but eventually look for a job in private industry.

"With Hall at the helm, U.S. Customs' Office of Information and Technology has become a recognized government leader in providing information technology services and has been recognized for best practices in the fields of investment management, enterprise architecture and information systems security," customs commissioner Robert Bonner said in a statement.

Hall was instrumental in launching the Customs Modernization Program, including the Automated Commercial Environment project, a database that will link every U.S. port of entry and replace a paper-based system.

Reached in San Diego, where he has been seeing how the U.S. Border Patrol uses technology, Armstrong said Hall has provided an outstanding level of leadership to make customs one of the best agencies in government.

"When Woody arrived, we were a very good organization that wasn't well-organized and did not have good processes in place," Armstrong said. "We had good people and a strong will to get the job done but not the leadership. Woody provided the leadership to make [customs] the best in its class in government."

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