Two eyed for CIO posts at DHS, FEMA

DHS finds a replacement for Richard Spires, while FEMA welcomes a NASA veteran.

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.

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