Exclusive

DHS to hire a familiar face as its new CIO

Karen Evans has found a new home. The former federal chief information officer and assistant secretary at the Energy Department will be named the new CIO at the Department of Homeland Security.

Multiple sources confirmed she will be appointed by President Donald Trump in the coming days. The DHS CIO is presidentially-appointed, but not Senate confirmed.

A DHS spokeswoman in the management directorate said there were no personnel announcements at this time.

Karen Evans is expected to be the new DHS CIO.

But Hill and industry sources said Evans will replace John Zangardi, who left in November and now works for Leidos. Beth Cappello, the DHS deputy CIO, has been acting since Zangardi left.

Emails to Evans seeking comment were not returned.

Evans has been with the Energy Department since September 2018 as the first assistant secretary in the new Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security and Emergency Response (CESER).

In February, Secretary Dan Brouillette replaced her with Alexander Gates, who came over from the National Security Agency where he worked in intelligence analysis, cyber operations, cybersecurity, research and tool development.

Evans will be the agency’s third permanent CIO during the Trump administration.

She inherits the largest civilian agency IT budget of more than $7 billion in fiscal 2020. The Federal IT Dashboard says of the 40 major investments, 85% are on schedule and 85% are on budget.

On the latest Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA) scorecard, DHS received a B+ grade, up from a D- previously.

Before leaving Zangardi said in an interview with Federal News Network that he was focusing on accelerating the cybersecurity approval process for applications and reworking the agency’s cyber instructions.

He also said the cloud center of excellence will help the agency adopt dev/sec/ops and cloud services more quickly.

One of Evans’ biggest challenges will be to complete the DHS data center consolidation effort and speed up the network modernization effort under the Enterprise Infrastructure Solution (EIS) program.

At the same time, Evans is one of the few federal IT executives who can walk into DHS and begin running. She served as the Energy Department CIO in the early-2000s before becoming the administrator of e-government and IT at OMB in 2003, which for all intents and purposes was the federal CIO — even though the Bush administration didn’t want to use that term.