DHS, EPA fill key cyber, IT executive roles

The Homeland Security Department has filled another key cybersecurity position that had been in an acting status for about a year.

Robert Silvers takes over as the permanent assistant secretary for cyber policy, where he oversees the development of department-wide cyber policies and strategies.

Silvers replaces Rosemary Wenchel, who came to DHS in 2012 as the deputy assistant secretary for cybersecurity coordination, where she coordinated joint cybersecurity efforts between DHS and the Department of Defense.

Wenchel is retiring after more than 25 years in government. Wenchel served as acting assistant secretary since May 2015 and before that served as the principal deputy assistant secretary in the same office since December 2014.

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Silvers has been with DHS since 2012 when rising to become deputy chief of staff, overseeing all policy development, operational implementation and budget issues across the entire department.

In his new role, Silvers will lead DHS’ engagement on cyber defense with the private sector, its response during significant cyber incidents and its pursuit of law enforcement cyber investigations.

He also served as the senior counselor to the Deputy Secretary of DHS, and before that as senior counselor to the director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Prior to coming into government, Silvers was an attorney at the international law firm O’Melveny & Myers, where he handled complex transnational disputes and investigative matters for his clients.

The Environmental Protection Agency continues to reshape its chief information officer’s office.
Steve Fine joined March 20 as the new principal deputy assistant administrator for the Office of Environmental information and deputy CIO.

An email from EPA CIO Ann Dunkin, which Federal News Radio obtained, said Fine comes to EPA from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), where he has served as deputy assistant administrator for laboratories and cooperative institutes since 2013.

Dunkin said that Fine replaces Mike Kenyon, who had be interim principal deputy and deputy CIO since January. Kenyon will return to his permanent role as assistant regional administrator for Region 1 in Boston.

Kenyon had been acting since  Renee Wynn left in July to join NASA and now is their CIO.

Over the last year, Dunkin has brought in several new technology executives, including Greg Godbout to be her chief technology officer and digital services lead in April 2015, and Robin Thottungal, as her chief data scientist and director of analytics in September.

All of this is related to Dunkin’s push to reorganize her office. Sources say the reorganization plan is close to being finalized, but hung up in some truly bureaucratic challenges.

As for Fine, this is his second stint at EPA. He joined the agency from NOAA on a detail to work in the National Exposure Research Laboratory in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, leading efforts to develop tools to support environmental modeling and analysis and helped to lead EPA’s high performance computing activities.

Fine holds a Ph.D. in meteorology, a Master of Science in computer science, and a Bachelor of Science in meteorology and computer science, all from the Pennsylvania State University.

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