FBI joins growing list of agencies with IT executive turnover

The FBI is the latest agency to make major changes to its IT organization. First, Jerry Pender, the FBI’s chief information officer, left after more than three years to join the private sector.

Now sources say Dean Hall is retiring in early October.

Pender left the FBI Aug. 25 and now is the managing director and operating partner at Z Capital Group, an investment-management firm.

Sources say they didn’t know what Hall would do next.

An FBI spokesperson said Brian Truchon is the acting executive assistant director and CIO of the FBI’s Information and Technology Branch.

So this means the FBI is losing two-long serving IT executives at a time when cyber, mobile and other capabilities are more vital than ever.

Pender has been CIO since 2012 and Hall has been with the FBI since 2002 when he came over on a detail from the CIA.

He has been deputy CIO since 2007.

It’s not that Truchon doesn’t know the FBI. He started as a special agent in 1987 and in 1996 was promoted to supervisory special agent in the Criminal Investigative Division’s Safe Streets and Gang Unit. He became assistant director of the IT division in May 2014.

Along with the FBI, NASA and the Energy Department are among the agencies beginning a significant overhaul of their CIO’s office.

It seems like the FBI is on better footing than maybe others. The FBI inspector general hasn’t put the bureau’s IT management on its management challenges since 2011. Pender and previous CIOs have been implementing a five-year IT modernization plan, which needs updating this year.

In addition to the changes at the FBI, the National Archives and Records Administration is losing a long-time executive.

Paul Wester, NARA chief records officer, is moving to be director of the Agriculture Department’s National Agriculture Library starting Oct. 19.

In an email sent to record managers across government, Wester said he’s proud of the efforts and accomplishments of the record management community over the last several years, including on the director to better manage government records from NARA and the Office of Management and Budget.

Larry Brewer, director of National Records Management Programs, will serve as acting chief records officer.

There also were two Defense Department personnel changes worth noting.

First, President Barack Obama nominated Navy Rear Adm. Elizabeth Train to the rank of vice admiral and for assignment as deputy chief of naval operations for Information Dominance, N2/N6, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations/director of Naval Intelligence.

Why is Train’s nomination noteworthy?

She would replace Vice Adm. Ted Branch, who has been in that role since July 2013 and hasn’t been allowed to see any classified information since December 2013—meaning he can’t do a major part of his job.

As my colleague Jared Serbu wrote in August 2014 that the suspension of Branch’s access to classified material has nothing to do with his current role, but relates back to Branch’s unclear involvement with Glenn Defense Marine, the Singapore-based company at the center of the bribery and fraud scandal. Branch served as commander of Carrier Strike Group One for a little more than a year starting in October 2009.

Even though the case, which involved colorful characters such as Fat Leonard, has been slowly coming to a head over the last year, the Navy or Branch must have decided enough was enough and it was time to move on.

Train currently is the director of the National Maritime Intelligence Integration Office in the Office of Naval Intelligence.

Finally, Defense Secretary Ash Carter appointed Navy Rear Adm. Raquel Bono to the rank of vice admiral and as the new director of the Defense Health Agency.

Bono would replace Lt. Gen. Douglas Robb, who led DHA through a huge consolidation of military health services and the award of the new electronic health records system.

Bono comes to DHA from after being the director of the National Capital Region Medical Directorate/chief of the Medical Corps at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.

This post is part of Jason Miller’s Inside the Reporter’s Notebook feature. Read more from this edition of Jason’s Notebook.

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