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DHS departure raises questions for cloud

Keith Trippie

Keith Trippie, executive director for DHS' Enterprise System Development Office

The Department of Homeland Security's cloud computing efforts might have hit a bump in the road as one of the technology's most vocal champions leaves. But DHS watchers are confident that Keith Trippie's departure will turn out to be only a speed bump, not a roadblock.

A report by FedScoop, based on an internal email sent to DHS staff by Chief Information Officer Luke McCormack, said Trippie, executive director for the Enterprise System Development Office in DHS's Office of the Chief Information Officer, is set to leave the department for the private sector on March 7.

Trippie has been at DHS since the department was stood up in 2002 and has become one of its biggest champions for cloud-based services. He has been a key player in DHS's transformation from a laggard in deploying such solutions to a model for other agencies to follow, serving in a number of capacities at the agency over the years.

His departure, said a source familiar with his work, will leave a noticeable hole in the department’s cloud efforts, but not one that can’t be patched over. "Any time anyone closely identified with a projects leaves, that project can lose momentum," the source told FCW. "It's a real concern, but there are other competent people that can step in over there."

More troubling than Trippie's resignation, said another source familiar with DHS management, is a continuing gap in top management.

Some high-level replacements have recently filled top slots, including Jeh Johnson as DHS secretary and McCormack as CIO. But the list of vacancies and temporary fill-ins remains high. On Feb. 28, the department website listed 16 top positions across the department that have been temporarily filled and three that are vacant.

Trippie's resignation comes only a few weeks after Raphael Borras, the agency's undersecretary for management, left for the private sector. left the department on Feb. 21 after only five months on the job.

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 mrockwell@fcw.com or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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