Energy deputy to take over as new Commerce CIO

Brian Epley, the principal deputy CIO at the Energy Department, will start at Commerce in early June as its CIO.

The Commerce Department made fairly quick work in hiring a new chief information officer.

Brian Epley, the principal deputy CIO at the Energy Department, will be the new technology leader at Commerce, Federal News Network has learned.

Brian Epley will be the new CIO at the Commerce Department, starting in early June.

Epley replaces Andre Mendes, who left in in January to join Tarrant County, Texas to be its CIO. Epley will join Commerce on June 3.

Epley joined Energy in September 2022 as its principal deputy CIO and previously worked at the Environmental Protection Agency for six years as the deputy CIO and as the deputy assistant administrator for administration and resources management.

Multiple emails to Commerce seeking comment were not returned.

Epley has been in and out of government for his entire career. He served as the Homeland Security Presidential Directive-12 (HSPD-12) program director at the Department of Veterans Affairs from 2005-2007. He worked as a program manager at Northrop Grumman and CSC, and worked as a consultant for North Highland and for his own company InterSolve-IT.

During his time at Energy, Epley has led the CIO office’s day-to-day operations and assisted with the formation of the office’s strategic direction for the protection and modernization of IT, cybersecurity and data usage across the DOE enterprise.

Over the last two-plus years, Epley also led several specific IT initiatives. He helped moved the department forward to modernize its network and telecommunications infrastructure through the Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions (EIS) contract from the General Services Administration. In its April 2024 report, GSA says Energy has moved more than 80% of circuits to its new contract.

Additionally, Epley lead the effort to develop an artificial intelligence sandbox to safely test out capabilities and tools and led the recent project to establish a five-year enterprise license with Microsoft that is costing the department 19% less than previous contracts.

A third big focus areas for Epley over the last few years has been to update the Energy Department’s five-year IT strategic plan, which hadn’t been updated since 2022, and play a significant role in hiring the CIO office’s senior leadership team.

In coming to Commerce, Epley inherits a $2.9 billion IT budget, according to the Federal IT Dashboard. Of that, $2.1 billion is considered operations and maintenance or about 72% of all spending.

The dashboard also shows most of Commerce’s 98 major IT investments are in good shape, with 78 receiving a “green” rating, meaning low risk of failure. On the most recent Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA) scorecard, Commerce earned a “C” grade, receiving low scores on its cybersecurity, transition to the EIS contract and its adoption of cloud computing requirements.

Epley also inherits a Commerce IT modernization strategy that has been focused on moving to software-as-a-service (SaaS) and a troubled financial management modernization project.

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