Thornton to leave OMB

Jeanette Thornton, the government’s policy lead for E-authentication and Homeland Security Presidential Directive-12, is leaving government for the private sector, the Office of Management and Budget confirmed.

Thornton, a senior policy analyst for OMB, will become the director of health informatics for America's Health Insurance Plans, an association for health insurers in Washington.

Her last day at OMB will be April 21; she will be replaced by Carol Bales, who joined OMB’s office of e-government and IT last month after being on detail from the Energy Department.

Thornton has played a central role in developing policy and working with agency E-government project leaders to get E-authentication off the ground. E-authentication, which has long been thought of as a central cog in the e-government machine, according to OMB, “will provide a uniform process for establishing electronic identity and eliminate the need for each initiative to develop a redundant solution for the verification of identity and electronic signatures.”

Thornton more recently led the government’s move toward an interoperable identification card under HSPD-12. She worked with the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the General Services Administration to help issue standards and policy to help agencies meet deadlines.

Randy Vanderhoof, executive director of the Smartcard Alliance, an industry association in Princeton Junction, N.J., said OMB will have a hard time replacing Thornton.

“Jeanette has had a very challenging job in bringing the policy and new standards development aligned in a very tight timetable and everybody appreciates how difficult that job is and how much progress has been made in such a short amount of time,” he said. “Jeanette has been very available to meet with our organization and the industry to discuss issues that were not being addressed under the NIST standards process.”

Thornton started with OMB in January 2002 after completing a two-year Presidential Management Internship at the Social Security Administration. Thornton holds a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Pittsburgh and a bachelor’s from Western Illinois University.

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