USDA CIO Combs to leave

Agriculture Department Chief Information Officer Dave Combs has resigned and will leave at the end of this month. He has been CIO there since 2005.

Combs earlier this week submitted his resignation, which is effective June 30. He plans to return to North Carolina.

Combs is half of one of the federal government’s power couples. Linda Combs, his wife, is controller for the Office of Management and Budget's Office of Federal Financial Management. She continues in that position, an OMB spokeswoman said today.

Dave Combs became the department's CIO after Scott Charbo left to become CIO at the Homeland Security Department. Combs, who had been acting deputy CIO since 2004, came to the CIO’s office in 2003 from the USDA Rural Development Mission Area, where he was Special Assistant to the Administrator of Rural Utilities Service.

During his time as CIO, Combs made significant progress in information technology consolidation, data security and e-authentication across the enterprise. USDA has started examining its systems for Social Security numbers and other personally identifiable information, ahead of directions to do so from OMB. USDA also has reduced its e-mail versions and platforms to one and is working on data center and local-area network consolidations.

The department does business spanning research, geospatial, health care, bioterrorism, commodities and recreation. It also is a financial institution providing grants and loans.

Combs has had a varied career. He was an industry IT executive, having spent 20 years at AT&T in North Carolina. He also was a music producer and composer with his own company, Combs Music, prior to coming to USDA. His instrumental, “Rachel’s Song,” topped easy-listening charts in the mid-1980s, and he has written or produced 15 albums.

A native of Erwin, Tenn., Combs earned his bachelor’s degree from East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, Tenn., and an M.B.A. from Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C.

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