DHS promotes Essig to chief procurement officer

Tom Essig will replace Elaine Duke as chief procurement officer at the Homeland Security Department, officials announced today.

Essig had been deputy chief procurement officer since he joined the department in May 2006.

He will assume much of Duke’s responsibility for management, administration and oversight of DHS’ acquisition, financial assistance, strategic sourcing and competitive sourcing programs.

In October, Duke became the department’s first deputy undersecretary for management, and her oversight responsibilities expanded to include budget, technology and facilities. Duke replaced Paul Schneider, who became DHS’ deputy secretary.

“Tom's knowledge and experience will be tremendous resources for the department as we continue to build a strong acquisition workforce, make strategic procurement decisions and perform sound contract administration,” DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff said in a statement today.

A DHS spokesman said Essig will continue Duke’s three often-stated goals of:



  • Building the DHS acquisition workforce.

  • Making good business deals.

  • Performing effective contract administration.



Greg Rothwell, a former chief procurement officer at DHS, said Essig’s experience in the Defense Department will serve him well in his new position.

“Tom has a great policy and operational background and great interpersonal skills,” said Rothwell, who now is president of Evermay Consulting Group. “There are a lot of procurements going on at the directorates which will impact major mission-critical programs. He will have to keep his eye on them.”

Some of those acquisition programs include the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s multimillion-dollar flood-map modernization effort, the Coast Guard’s $276 million Automatic Identification System Increment Two, DHS’ OneNet program, and the Customs and Immigration Services Directorate’s $100 million business transformation initiative.

Rothwell said Essig’s biggest challenge will be hiring and retaining acquisition workers.

“He needs to help move the department into a leadership role in the procurement community because it buys so much,” Rothwell said.

Before coming to DHS, Essig worked in the Navy’s Office of the Assistant Secretary and was the service’s director of the Program Analysis and Business Transformation Division.

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