Transportation’s Roat headed to SBA as CIO

Maria Roat is leaving the Transportation Department to become the new chief information officer of the Small Business Administration.

Roat, DoT’s chief technology officer since August 2014, confirmed to Federal News Radio that she will start at the SBA on Oct. 3.

Maria Roat will become the SBA chief information officer on Oct. 3.
Maria Roat will become the SBA chief information officer on Oct. 3.

Roat will replace Renee Macklin, who left SBA in September 2015 to work at the Commerce Department. Keith Bluestein has been the acting CIO since then.

NextGov first reported Roat’s decision to join SBA.

Roat also worked at the Homeland Security Department and was the first director of the cloud cybersecurity program called FedRAMP during her 30-plus year career in government.

In coming to the SBA, Roat takes on a big challenge of old technology and a declining IT budget.

Bluestein worked over the last year to modernize SBA’s network infrastructure, specifically moving enterprise systems such as email to the cloud.

SBA’s fiscal 2016 IT budget is $95 million, down from $102 million in 2015. The agency requested an increase of $6 million for fiscal 2017. SBA has had a fairly flat IT budget over the last three years, in the $100 million to $101 million range.

The agency, like others, also is spending a majority of its IT budget on legacy systems, more than 65 percent, according to the Federal IT Dashboard. It’s also spending about 18 percent on development, modernization and enhancement efforts and 16 percent on provisioned or cloud technologies.

Roat inherits eight major IT investments, including the $20 million IT infrastructure program and two mission critical projects — a $15.2 million effort to modernize its disaster credit management system and a $13.6 million capital access financial system.

Additionally, SBA has been troubled by cybersecurity challenges. The agency’s inspector general detailed 30 cyber weaknesses in late 2015 and the House Small Business Committee gave SBA until June 30 to fix them. Additionally, the Government Accountability Office highlighted 69 cyber recommendations in September 2015.

Bluestein told Federal News Radio in June SBA was making progress, including hiring a new chief information security officer.

Roat comes to SBA after having helped turn around DoT. She led an effort to consolidate duplicative technology investments and bring the agency into the cloud.

Roat worked with DoT CIO Richard McKinney to better control spending across the department and its bureaus.

Before coming to DoT, Roat helped launch the FedRAMP cloud security program, worked for DHS for 10 years and retired from the Navy after 26 years.

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