Seeking a good VA CIO

Testimony before the House Veterans Affairs Committee

The Department of Veterans Affairs' chief information officer will play a central role at the agency, says VA secretary Anthony Principi.

"The CIO will be a very, very important position," he said. That person is "going to have a very prominent role in our administration."

Principi is seeking someone from the private sector who can take on the daunting task of guiding the VA's disparate information technology efforts. But finding the right person willing to work for the $130,000 annual salary "is a tough feat," he said.

David McClure, the General Accounting Office's director of IT management issues, said appointing a CIO is "long overdue." But the job will be a challenge because of the VA's highly decentralized structure, which gives the CIO little leverage over subordinate organizations, he said.

In the meantime, Principi has named Guy McMichael III as acting CIO.

Principi may also ask Congress for authority to create a new undersecretary for management who would spearhead management reforms across the organization. That decision could come in a few months.

About the Author

Christopher J. Dorobek is the co-anchor of Federal News Radio’s afternoon drive program, The Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris, and the founder, publisher and editor of the DorobekInsider.com, a leading blog for the Federal IT community.

Dorobek joined Federal News Radio in 2008 with 16 years of experience covering government issues with an emphasis on government information technology. Prior to joining Federal News Radio, Dorobek was editor-in-chief of Federal Computer Week, the leading news magazine for government IT decision-makers and the flagship of the 1105 Government Information Group portfolio of publications. As editor-in-chief, Dorobek served as a member of the senior leadership team at 1105 Government Information Group, providing daily editorial direction and management for FCW magazine, FCW.com, Government Health IT and its other editorial products.

Dorobek joined FCW in 2001 as a senior reporter and assumed increasing responsibilities, becoming managing editor and executive editor before being named editor-in-chief in 2006. Prior to joining FCW, Dorobek was a technology reporter at PlanetGov.com, one of the first online community centers for current and former government employees. He also spent five years at Government Computer News, another leading industry publication, covering a variety of federal IT-related issues.

Dorobek is a frequent speaker on issues involving the government IT industry, and has appeared as a frequent contributor to NewsChannel 8’s Federal News Today program. He began his career as a reporter at the Foster’s Daily Democrat, a daily newspaper in Dover, N.H. He is a graduate of the University of Southern California. He lives in Washington, DC.


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