Federal Tech-Focused Officials Are on the Move

Vice President Kamala Harris listens as President Joe Biden speaks about the economy, in the East Room of the White House May 10.

Vice President Kamala Harris listens as President Joe Biden speaks about the economy, in the East Room of the White House May 10. Evan Vucci/AP

Both new and familiar faces are taking on information technology-aligned positions.

The slate of government appointees poised to serve in the first years of President Joe Biden’s administration continues to evolve.

Here’s a rundown of some recent, senior personnel moves in the federal technology realm.

Incoming CIO at Energy

The Energy Department on Monday announced that Ann Dunkin is the Biden-Harris appointee tapped to become the agency’s chief information officer. 

A licensed professional engineer, Dunkin served as the Environmental Protection Agency’s CIO under President Barack Obama. More recently, she worked at Dell Technologies as the chief strategy and innovation officer, and as the County of Santa Clara’s CIO. She also spent much of her career in a variety of senior roles at Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

Dunkin was listed among several other new appointees to join DOE, including Kathryn Huff, who will be the principal deputy assistant secretary for nuclear energy.

“During the first 100 days of this administration, the DOE team has been working quickly and urgently to deliver on President Biden’s bold climate and clean energy goals—and these latest additions bring even more muscle to our efforts,” the agency’s Chief of Staff Tarak Shah said.

Outgoing CIO at HHS

The Health and Human Services Department’s Chief Information Officer Perryn Ashmore is preparing to exit the federal workforce, Nextgov confirmed Monday.

“He did announce he will be retiring at the end of May,” an agency spokesperson said in an email. 

Janet Vogel, HHS’ chief information security officer, will take over as acting CIO when Ashmore departs on May 31. The role of HHS deputy CIO is currently vacant, according to the official.

HHS named Ashmore acting CIO in September 2020—and he became the permanent information technology leader in December.

Ashmore joined the department in the summer of 2014 and served in a variety of capacities during his tenure. He was the previously HHS’ principal deputy CIO and customer experience executive, for instance, and also worked in the human resources office, where he helped steer the revamp of a major management system. With more than 30 years of experience in the federal government, Ashmore also served at the Federal Communications Commission and at the General Services Administration, where he worked as deputy CIO and chief technology officer.

He’s a U.S. Air Force Veteran.

Reports of Ashmore’s retirement announcement first surfaced on Friday.

Fresh CDO at DHS

The Homeland Security Department recently named Mike Horton, a well-versed federal IT professional, as chief data officer. Agencies are now mandated to fill this role, and he’ll follow acting CDO Carlene Ileto.

With more than a decade spent at the agency, Horton has served as DHS a senior adviser in the Office of Chief Information Officer, among other roles.

Others on the Move

Brett Goldstein is set to step down from his position leading the Pentagon’s Defense Digital Service, Politico reported Monday. Though it was a possibility, he did not opt to serve for a second term as his predecessor did. 

And shortly after he was confirmed as NASA’s administrator, former Sen. Bill Nelson announced Susie Perez Quinn will serve as the space agency’s new chief of staff.

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