White House Official Steps In as OPM's IT Chief

Mark Van Scyoc/Shutterstock.com

Lisa Schlosser, the deputy U.S. federal chief information officer, will join OPM as a senior adviser and acting CIO.

The Office of Personnel Management is hauling in a White House official to temporarily serve as the agency’s IT chief.

Lisa Schlosser, the deputy U.S. federal chief information officer, will join OPM as a senior adviser and acting CIO.

The agency’s previous tech chief, Donna Seymour, stepped down last month after facing months of criticism, mostly from Republican members of Congress, over her handling of the massive data breach of background investigations disclosed last summer.

Acting OPM Director Beth Cobert announced the move in an email to staff. Federal News Radio first reported the news.

In the email, Cobert said OPM is continuing its search for a permanent CIO and that Schlosser would join the agency on a short-term detail from the Office of Management and Budget. Schlosser’s official OMB job title is deputy administrator of the Office of E-Government and Information Technology.

Cobert, a former OMB official herself, is awaiting confirmation by the Senate to serve as OPM director. President Barack Obama named Cobert the agency's acting director in July after the resignation of Katherine Archuleta.

“I worked with Lisa for two years while I was at OMB and can tell you from personal experience that she will bring incredible talent, leadership, and a commitment to public service that will serve this agency well,” Cobert said.

Schlosser has served as deputy federal CIO since 2011, including filling in as acting chief for about six months before Tony Scott joined the Obama administration in February 2015. She previously served as the CIO of the Department of Housing and Urban Development and as a chief information security officer at the Transportation Department.

Cobert told a House committee earlier this week that Dave Vargas, a senior executive in OPM's IT shop, had been serving as the agency's acting CIO since late last month. He will remain the associate CIO, Cobert said in the email.

Schlosser is expected to help OPM continue its major IT upgrade plans, including helping the agency stand up a new component that will be responsible for conducting background investigations.

Overall, OPM is seeking a 75 percent increase to its IT budget next year to accelerate tech upgrades.

Separately, Margie Graves, the long-time deputy CIO at the Department of Homeland Security, will temporarily join OMB to serve as deputy e-government administrator.