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Borras leaving DHS for private sector

Rafael Borras

Undersecretary for Management Rafael Borras' departure will shift responsibility for Homeland Security's $19 billion annual procurement budget.

Undersecretary for Management Rafael Borras will step down from his duties at the Department of Homeland Security next week, according to government and industry sources.

He is leaving for the private sector, they said, but DHS had no immediate comment on Borras' status.

Borras has been at DHS since his 2010 appointment by President Barack Obama. From September to December 2013, he stepped in as acting deputy secretary. In turn, Deputy Undersecretary for Management Chris Cummisky had stepped into Borras' slot, and he is a likely contender for the position when Borras leaves.

Borras has authority over all aspects of DHS management programs as the designated chief management officer and chief acquisition officer. As CMO, Borras oversees management of the department's nearly $60 billion budget.

As the agency's chief acquisition officer, he administers DHS' approximately $19 billion in annual procurement.

Borras was a rare constant during a tumultuous 2013 for DHS, which saw multiple senior-level managers leave the department. Secretary Janet Napolitano stepped down in September to become head of University of California system. And former CIO Richard Spires left under controversial circumstances last March and became chief executive officer at Silicon Valley-based Resilient Network Systems. (Spires writes a regular column for FCW.)

Borras also briefly replaced Rand Beers as acting deputy secretary. Beers had temporarily stepped into the position for then-acting deputy secretary Jane Holl Lute, who left DHS last May for the private sector. Beers was DHS acting secretary after Napolitano left. He has since become deputy assistant to the president for homeland security, a senior White House advisory position.

In the last few months, however, the department's management shelf has been restocked. The Senate confirmed Jeh Johnson as secretary on Dec. 17 and Alejandro Mayorkas as deputy secretary, the No. 2 position at DHS, on Dec. 20. Luke McCormack was named CIO in October and began his new job in December.

Washington insiders consider Borras a solid presence at DHS. His departure is part of a broader trend among senior agency managers to leave government as the current administration enters its final years. "It's not only [political-appointees] leaving -- which is typical as White House administrations wind down, but it's also senior level non-appointee talent leaving because they're burned out," said one observer.

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a staff writer at FCW.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, tele.com magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at mrockwell@fcw.com or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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