White House names OPM’s Martorana as new Federal CIO

Clare Martorana, the current chief information officer for the Office of Personnel Management, is the new Federal CIO.

The White House announced Martorana’s appointment today. Her first day at the Office of Management and Budget’s Office of E-Government and IT is Thursday.

Clare Martorana is the new federal chief information officer.

“Clare is an exceptionally well-qualified leader who has already improved countless lives through innovative technologies and human-centered design,” said an OMB spokesperson. “Together with Deputy CIO Maria Roat, a dedicated and talented career civil servant, Clare will lead an ambitious governmentwide effort to modernize and strengthen federal information technology (IT) systems in order to bolster cyber defenses, drive value in IT investments, and better deliver government services for all Americans at a time when they expect and need them the most.”

Fast Company first reported Martorana’s appointment.

Martorana replaces another OPM colleague Basil Parker, who served in the role for about two months at the end of the Trump administration.

In coming to OMB, Martorana brings a varied set of experiences.

She joined the government as part of the US Digital Service where she worked on projects with the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Martorana came to OPM in February 2019 after three and-a-half-years with USDS. Before coming to government, she served as general manager for the WebMD Network and other health and media related organizations.

Guy Cavallo, OPM’s deputy CIO, will be acting until the agency names a permanent technology executive.

Former Federal CIO Suzette Kent applauded Martorana’s appointment.

“Clare knows firsthand how the various components of technology capability work,” she said in an email to Federal News Network. “Her experiences will help shape the next chapter of modernization.”

Martorana’s ascension to the Federal CIO role is a little surprising.

She wasn’t someone who spoke often to the federal community, which almost is a pre-cursor to the Federal CIO role. As the Federal CIO is part cheerleader, part bully pulpit and part herder of cats—both from agencies and from industry.

Her testimony before the House Oversight and Reform Subcommittee on Government Operations in August was among the first updates on OPM’s IT modernization efforts since her arrival. She told the committee how the agency rolled out about 2,800 laptops to employees and moved to Microsoft Windows 10 and cloud-based Office 365 email.

OPM received a “C+” on the latest Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act scorecard, up from a “D+” when Martorana arrived at the agency.

As Federal CIO, Martorana will face a much different set of challenges ranging from the good—the $1 billion in the Technology Modernization Fund—to the bad—the continued need to upskill and reskill federal employees—to the ugly—the continued clean up from the SolarWinds and Microsoft email cyber incidents.

Kent left Martorana in a good space by cleaning up a lot of old policies that had served as obstacles to IT modernization. She also inherits a CIO Council that is more collaborative and coordinated to address long-standing challenges.

“Throughout her career, Clare Martorana worked to improve and simplify the digital experiences people have when interacting with businesses and government. Martorana most recently served as chief information officer of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, where for the past two years she stabilized and secured agency operations to deliver better digital-first services for the federal workforce,” President Joe Biden said in a statement. “Martorana began her public service career as a member of the U.S. Digital Service team at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, establishing the agency’s enterprise-wide Digital Modernization effort to deliver for veterans the 21st-century digital experience they deserve.”

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