West to take over as FEMA CIO

Barry West, National Weather Service chief information officer, will take over the same post for the Federal Emergency Management Agency next month.

West officially becomes FEMA's CIO Nov. 3, he said today. Larry Curran, chief of the weather agency's telecommunications operations center, will take over as acting CIO, said West.

He takes over for Rose Parkes, who left FEMA Oct. 17 to take the Energy Department's CIO post, which was held by Karen Evans until she recently replaced Mark Forman as administrator of the Office and Management and Budget's Office of E-Government and Information Technology.

West has been the National Weather Service CIO for about a year and a half. He is the president of the American Council for Technology, formerly the Federation of Government Information Processing Councils. West said he is looking forward to moving to the new Homeland Security Department, which now oversees FEMA.

"I think is an exciting time right now to be part of that effort," he said. "A lot of the work I am doing here at the Weather Service is very similar to the work going on at Homeland, especially at FEMA."

For example, Homeland Security officials have been working on an All Hazards Alert System and are considering weather radios as a way to communicate hazards, West said. The National Weather Service has also been worked with the Disasterhelp.gov portal, part of the Disaster Management e-government initiative that heavily involves FEMA.

"There are a lot of connections," West said.

West spent seven years working in fire and rescue departments in Pennsylvania, which paved the way for emergency preparedness work. His strong leadership and ability to respond quickly to situations such as major weather events make him a good choice for the position, he said. "I think I will be a great fit," West said.

In his new position, West said he plans to work closely with Homeland Security CIO Steve Cooper to develop a single enterprise architecture. "I am really looking at helping move FEMA forward and move FEMA into an enterprise and an architecture that the Department of Homeland Security is laying out," he said.

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