Two eyed for CIO posts at DHS, FEMA

revolving door

DHS is moving to name a new top information technology officer with previous experience at the agency, say sources, while one of the agencies' components also closes in on a new IT boss.

Current Justice Department CIO Luke McCormack, according to several Washington sources, will be named DHS's new head IT executive in the coming days, formally replacing Richard Spires. McCormack became CIO at the Justice Department in February 2012 after moving over from the CIO position at Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Additionally, Adrian Gardner, current CIO at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, will become CIO at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The position is currently held by acting CIO Rob Thomas II. The agency began accepting applications for the job in March.

Sources praised the choice of McCormack for DHS CIO, saying his previous work at ICE gives him valuable experience with DHS and its IT leadership and operations. McCormack's move "makes sense," said one source. "He's highly thought of there."

McCormack rejoins DHS at a time of turmoil in the top ranks.

Margie Graves has been acting CIO at DHS since March 15, when Spires went on leave from the position after four years of service. Spires officially resigned in May after two months leave that remains unexplained.

At least 16 top positions across the department, including the secretary's slot, are vacant or have been temporarily filled. Rand Beers became acting secretary on Sept. 6, after Janet Napolitano left to become president of the University of California system. Beers had been acting deputy secretary since May.

There is speculation among some familiar with DHS management that the agency will soon officially name Undersecretary for Management Raphael Borras to the acting deputy secretary position.

McCormack had worked alongside Spires when McCormack was ICE CIO. At a farewell event for Spires in August, McCormack joked about Spires' intense work ethic, but highlighted the need for a sometimes-tenacious CIO at the sprawling department.

Frank Konkel contributed to this story.

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, tele.com magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


  • IT Modernization
    shutterstock image By enzozo; photo ID: 319763930

    OMB provides key guidance for TMF proposals amid surge in submissions

    Deputy Federal CIO Maria Roat details what makes for a winning Technology Modernization Fund proposal as agencies continue to submit major IT projects for potential funding.

  • gears and money (zaozaa19/Shutterstock.com)

    Worries from a Democrat about the Biden administration and federal procurement

    Steve Kelman is concerned that the push for more spending with small disadvantaged businesses will detract from the goal of getting the best deal for agencies and taxpayers.

Stay Connected