New HHS CIO to Focus on Cyber

Gil C/

Beth Anne Killoran will direct projects related to cybersecurity and privacy protection.

The Health and Human Services Department has filled its long-vacant chief information officer seat.

Beth Anne Killoran, previously the acting deputy CIO and executive director of HHS’ Office of IT Strategy, Policy and Governance, will take on the title, according to an HHS blog post. Frank Baitman, the previous CIO, stepped down in November.

Killoran will direct efforts related to cybersecurity and privacy protection, according to the HHS blog post written by Mary Wakefield, HHS’ acting deputy secretary.

HHS had posted the position on USAJOBS in February, months after Baitman’s departure. According to that posting, the CIO’s duties would involve implementing the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act -- legislation passed in 2014 that gives CIOs more authority over budgets -- and creating a 5-year strategic IT investment plan.

Killoran’s priorities will include a “Cybersecurity Communication, Awareness, Response and Education” program that sends staff weekly tips about guarding against cyberthreats; running simulated phishing attempts to reduce the effectiveness of those campaigns; and pilot projects that would help HHS build a workforce “as tech-savvy as possible," Wakefield wrote.

“To protect all of our IT systems — from desktops to the personally identifiable information and protected health information our department works with — we need more than an investment in funding or new technology. We need a cyber-savvy workforce,” the blog post said.

Killoran joined HHS in 2014 from the Homeland Security Department, where she held several positions over 11 years.