HHS turns to familiar face to be its ‘new’ CIO

The Department of Health and Human Services turned to a familiar face for its new chief information officer.

Acting HHS Deputy Secretary Mary Wakefield announced Friday that Beth Anne Killoran has been promoted from acting CIO to permanent CIO.

Beth Anne Killoran has been promoted to be the HHS CIO.
Beth Anne Killoran has been promoted to be the HHS CIO.

“As our new CIO, Beth will focus sharply on collaborating with offices in HHS, and partners outside of the department,” Wakefield wrote. “She’ll direct high priority projects like our work on cybersecurity and privacy protection. She’ll engage in strategic IT investment planning, to make sure our resources are going to the most productive places. And she’ll keep our entire workforce at HHS moving safely and securely into the digital age.”

Killoran has been HHS’s acting CIO since Frank Baitman resigned in November to return to the private sector.

Killoran came to HHS in October 2014 from the Homeland Security Department, and has also served as the acting deputy CIO and executive director for the Office of IT Strategy, Policy and Governance.

As full-time CIO, Wakefield said Killoran will continue to focus on four cyber priorities:

  • Cybersecurity communication, awareness, response and education, known as the CyberCARE initiative.
  • Phishing campaign to continue to educate HHS employees on reporting suspicious emails by conducting simulated attacks.
  • Healthy technology initiative to share non-technical and easy to understand facts about cybersecurity with employees.
  • Workforce development to identify and define requirements a tech-savvy workforce needs today and in the future.

“From the beginning of the administration, President [Barack] Obama emphasized that cybersecurity is one of the most important challenges we face as a nation. That is why here at HHS we have put into place a broad strategy to strengthen our IT services and cybersecurity, and to tackle today’s increasingly sophisticated cyber threats,” Wakefield wrote. “To protect all of our IT systems — from desktops to the personally identifiable information and protected health information our department works with — we need more than an investment in funding or new technology. We need a cyber-savvy workforce.”

HHS has the largest civilian agency IT budget of $12.5 billion for fiscal 2016, and has requested just over $12 billion for 2017, according to the Office of Management and Budget’s fact sheet.

Killoran has her work cut out. HHS is spending almost 70 percent of its IT budget on operations and maintenance, 29 percent on development, modernization and enhancement and just under two percent on provisioned services.

The Federal IT Dashboard reports that out of 108 major investments at HHS 83 percent are on schedule and 79 percent are on budget.