Karen Mummaw named acting CIO at State


Deputy CIO and longtime State official Karen Mummaw is serving as acting CIO as the department looks for a permanent replacement. Former CIO Frontis Wiggins retired Dec. 8.

Mummaw has held a variety of posts inside the Bureau of Information Resource Management at State's Foggy Bottom headquarters and in the field, holding senior information management posts at embassies in Kabul, Nairobi and Moscow.

As a deputy CIO, Mummaw is responsible for capital planning and budgeting. It's not clear whether she is a candidate for the CIO job. According to an internal email obtained by FCW, Mummaw took over on Dec. 9, the day after Wiggins officially retired. FCW initially reported, based on a Nov. 20 email from State's press office, that Principal Deputy CIO Robert Adams would assume the CIO duties. FCW has not learned whether the press office communication was in error or if the decision to install Adams as acting CIO was altered before it could take effect. Wiggins recently started a new position as director for strategic engagement at Northrop Grumman.

State has had many public struggles with technology over the past few years, including repeated crashes of the visa processing system, the fallout from Hillary Clinton's use of a private email system while secretary of State and, more recently, low grades on scorecards rating performance under the Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act. State earned a C- in the most recent round of grading from November 2017, flat from the agency's performance in June 2017 and up from a D- in late 2016.

Part of the issue facing any CIO at State is that many tech programs are owned by individual bureaus. State's CIO is responsible for IRM's $569 million annual budget and has oversight of a $1 billion tech budget. But the visa system, for instance, is controlled by the Bureau of Consular Affairs. Most cybersecurity functions fall under the Bureau of Diplomatic Security.

Currently, State is also dealing with uncertainty in the executive ranks. Press reports have indicated that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson may be on his way out. The department is also awaiting Senate confirmation of a new undersecretary for management, the post that has executive oversight of IRM and the CIO.

Eric Ueland, a former top aide to Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) and the Trump administration's pick for the management job at State, had a confirmation hearing in September and won the approval of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, but the nomination is still awaiting a vote in the full Senate.

Editor's note: This story was updated Jan. 4 to note that Karen Mummaw began serving as acting CIO at the State Department one day after the retirement of her predecessor.

About the Author

Adam Mazmanian is executive editor of FCW.

Before joining the editing team, Mazmanian was an FCW staff writer covering Congress, government-wide technology policy and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to joining FCW, Mazmanian was technology correspondent for National Journal and served in a variety of editorial roles at B2B news service SmartBrief. Mazmanian has contributed reviews and articles to the Washington Post, the Washington City Paper, Newsday, New York Press, Architect Magazine and other publications.

Click here for previous articles by Mazmanian. Connect with him on Twitter at @thisismaz.


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