Leslie Beavers is an Air Force brigadier general and spent the last three years running the Defense Department’s enterprise capabilities office for the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security.
Michael Chappell is a systems engineer by training and spent most of his career working for federal contractors.
While it seems Beavers and Chappell come from different worlds, both are taking on similar new roles.
DoD named Beavers as its new principal deputy chief information officer, replacing Kelly Fletcher, who left in October to be the State Department’s CIO.
Meanwhile, Chappell is the new CIO at the Army’s Program Executive Office Enterprise Information Systems (PEO-EIS). This is a semi-new role as PEO-EIS hasn’t had a formal CIO 2018 when it reorganized under two assistant PEO portfolios.
These are two of the latest shuffling of chairs in the federal technology community.
Along with the DoD, Army PEO-EIS, the General Services Administration, Special Operations Command and the National Institutes of Health all saw changes over the past few weeks.
Let’s start with DoD where Beavers comes to the CIO shop starting on May 8. Dave McKeown had been acting principal deputy CIO since Fletcher left and will resume his duties as DoD chief information security officer and deputy CIO for cybersecurity.
“I’d like to welcome Leslie to the DoD CIO! Her most recent experience in OUSD(I&S) as the director of intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance enterprise capabilities leading the Defense Intelligence Digital Transformation Campaign Plan will enable her to hit the ground running on initiatives such as zero trust, joint warfighting cloud capability (JWCC), software modernization and electromagnetic spectrum operations (EMSO),” wrote DoD CIO John Sherman on LinkedIn. “I’d also like to thank Dave McKeown for the terrific work he has done filling in as the acting principal deputy for the last six months. Dave’s experience, leadership, and drive have been invaluable as we rolled out zero trust and awarded JWCC.”
Among her duties as principal deputy CIO, Beavers will advise the lead the engagement with the defense agencies and field activities CIOs and drive strategic resource planning across the IT and cybersecurity domains.
In addition to running the enterprise capabilities office, Beavers is the mobilization assistant to the vice commander of the Sixteenth Air Force (Air Forces Cyber), in Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas. She has been an Air Force reservist for more than 30 years.
Beavers also worked for NBC Universal and GE Healthcare in assorted executive positions.
As for Chappell, he brings 18 years of experience as a contractor including most recently working for EY as a senior manager for the past four-plus years. In that role, he was a global solutions architect working with the Army to establish its data quality plan, with the Defense Health Agency and the FBI.
Additionally, he worked for Accenture, Moog and GE.
Search began in 2022
Army PEO-EIS began its search for a new CIO in November.
“The new CIO will enable us to better support the Army’s evolving vision and priorities. One of our greatest strengths in the past has been our organization around two portfolios — the Business Mission Area and our Networks, Cyber and Services portfolio; this structure has allowed our PMs to perform their mission with additional support from the headquarters. But, to best support the Army’s Digital Transformation vision, we need to change the way we do business and integrate across the entire PEO. We need to bring together the cloud, data, network and cyber pieces from a technical and programmatic perspective to support the Army’s new strategic guidance, particularly the Army Data Plan, Cloud Plan and Unified Network Plan,” said PEO-EIS spokesperson in an email to Federal News Network in November. “To that end, we’re creating a Chief Information Office (CIO) by the end of this quarter, led by a new chief information officer. The CIO will be headquartered at Fort Belvoir but have a PEO-wide focus. It will consist of the chief information officer, technical integration lead and three sub-directorates, most of which already exist at our organization and simply will be consolidated under the CIO.”
The spokesperson said the decision to bring back the CIO role is based on two basic needs. First the focus on a data-centric environment and second the need to better technically integrate across all their networks and software portfolio to rapidly and effectively support digital transformation efforts.
Transformation is the key word for three other moves in the federal sector.
GSA announced Mukunda Penugonde is the new deputy director of the Technology Transformation Service. He comes to GSA from Hulu/Disney where he was the director of technical program management and has focused on strategic and business initiatives in high-growth digital product organizations.
“Mukunda has a strong background in leading and managing organizational change, including driving the introduction and adoption of new frameworks to increase collaboration across products and programs, and creating reliable and sustainable organizational structures for growth and scale,” said Ann Lewis, the director of TTS in an email statement.
This looks to be Penugonde’s stint in the federal sector. He spent his entire career working for the entertainment companies, including Sony Interactive Hulu and Disney.
Additionally, GSA is bringing is deputy CFO Mehul Parekh to the Federal Acquisition Service to serve as senior advisor for operations for TTS.
FAS Commissioner Sonny Hashmi said in an email to staff, which Federal News Network obtained, that Parekh “brings a wealth of experience as a financial executive, and has been recognized for his ability to lead diverse teams. His appointment will be crucial to bringing stability and support to the TTS organization.”
Parekh has been with GSA for five years and previously worked at the National Labor Relations Board and the Homeland Security Department.
GSA is bringing in a third new person to FAS to focus on human resources. Region 2 Commissioner Jeff Lau is joining FAS on detail to lead efforts in maintaining and growing our acquisition workforce.
“Our agency’s biggest contribution to the federal government is our world-class acquisition professionals. Jeff has substantial experience developing strategies in the area of human capital and employee engagement, and has been a proactive leader on DEIA issues, areas that will serve him well in this new role,” Hashmi said.
Tony Frater will serve as acting regional commissioner for our Northeast and Caribbean Region while Lau is on detail.
NIH, CISA people on the move
One other big change in the CIO ranks. Alastair Thomson, the CIO at the NIH National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, is moving over to a 50% detail to be a senior advisor at the new Advanced Research Projects Agency-Health (ARPA-H).
“I’m excited to share that I’m starting a new 50% detail as senior advisor for data technology innovation at Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H)!” Thomson wrote on LinkedIn.
Finally, there is one departure of note in the federal community. Kiersten Todt, the chief of staff for the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, is leaving after 22 months to return to the private sector.
Kathryn Coulter Mitchell, currently the deputy undersecretary for the DHS Science and Technology Directorate (S&T), will become CISA’s new chief of staff. In that role, Coulter Mitchell will support the planning, allocation of resources and implementation of the agency’s strategic plan.
“I want to thank my dear friend and our fabulous outgoing chief of staff Kiersten Todt,” said CISA Director Jen Easterly in a statement. “Kiersten’s contributions to this administration cannot be overstated – helping to transform CISA into America’s cyber defense agency, while spearheading a number of CISA priorities including collaboration with industry, corporate cyber responsibility, the stand up of our Cybersecurity Advisory Committee and the co-creation of our People First culture. All of us at CISA are grateful to Kiersten for her tireless work over the past 22 months and look forward to her continued engagement with CISA as we execute our agency’s critical mission.”
Coulter Mitchell has been a chief of staff before, working from May 2021 to September 2022 for the senior official performing the duties of the undersecretary of S&T.
Prior to joining S&T, she worked in the private sector for CSRA, Booz Allen Hamilton and MITRE, and on Capitol Hill for former Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.).