Veterans Affairs

VA picks NASA executive for CISO slot

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Senior NASA IT manager Roopangi Kadakia will take over the top IT security job at the Department of Veterans Affairs, FCW has learned.

In an internal memo dated July 19 obtained by FCW, LaVerne Council, assistant secretary for information and technology and CIO at the Department of Veterans Affairs said NASA's Kadakia, who is Program Executive for Security Operations, Web Services, and Information Management at NASA, will start July 24.

Brian Burns, the previous CISO, left VA in June.

Council touted Kadakia's solid information management, governance, and security operations foundation built in both the federal government and private industry.

In her work at NASA, Kadakia has managed the transfer of more than 160 systems to the cloud, in one of the federal government's largest cloud deployments.

The VA is looking to move some of its diverse portfolio of applications to the cloud. They have a major cloud solicitation planned for this year. The agency recently announced that it would be using the National Institutes of Health's NITAAC contract vehicle for cloud acquisition.

At a March 30 industry event hosted by FCW, Kadakia praised a proposal to streamline the FedRAMP cloud approval process to bring cloud providers onboard at federal agencies.

"From an agency perspective, I don't need to re-do a deep dive on their security plan," she said.

Before joining NASA, Kadakia served as CISO at the International Finance Corporation and the Department of Homeland Security's Science and Technology organization.

Council said Kadakia will leverage that experience in the VA's IT transformation. 

"As we prepare for our next sprint toward our transformation goals, Ms. Kadakia's unique experience will help us eliminate IT as a material weakness for VA, safeguard our employees' and Veterans' data, move some of our own systems to the cloud, and strengthen security and oversight of our IT assets, systems, and applications, all while ensuring all employees have the privileges and resources they need to perform their jobs," Council wrote.

Information security has been listed as a material weakness at VA by their internal watchdog for many years running. Council has make closing any IT related recommendations from their Office of Inspector General a priority of her term as CIO.

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, 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 or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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