Update: VA taps Dominic Cussatt to serve as the new Acting CIO

“The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) released the names of current senior career executives who will perform the duties of senior department leadership in acting capacities until additional Biden administration appointees are confirmed and sworn in.”  

The list includes the following: 

  • Secretary (Acting) – Dat P. Tran, principal deputy assistant secretary for Office of Enterprise Integration. 
  • Deputy Secretary (Acting) – Carolyn M. Clancy, MD, assistant undersecretary for Health, Discovery, Education and Affiliate Networks. 
  • Under Secretary for Health (Acting) – Richard Stone, MD, principal deputy undersecretary for Health. 
  • Under Secretary for Benefits (Acting) – Thomas Murphy, director for Northeast District, Veterans Benefits Administration. 
  • Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs (Acting) – Ron Walters, principal deputy undersecretary for Memorial Affairs. 
  • Assistant Secretary Information & Technology/Chief Information Officer (Acting) – Dominic Cussatt, principal deputy assistant secretary for Information & Technology/deputy Chief Information Officer. 
  • Assistant Secretary Enterprise Integration (Acting) – John Medve, executive director for Policy and Interagency Collaboration, Office of Enterprise Integration. 
  • Principal Executive Director for Acquisition, Logistics, and Construction (Acting) – Phillip Christy, deputy principal executive director for Office of Acquisition, Logistics & Construction. 
  • Chief Veterans Experience Officer (Acting) – Barbara Morton, deputy chief Veterans Experience Officer.”

See the full list here.   

G2X TAKE: The new Administration brings change, and part of that change will be the appointment and confirmation of a new permanent Chief Information Officer. If recent history is any indicator, this is unlikely to happen quickly. Until that time, Dominic Cussatt, the current Principal Deputy Chief Information Officer (CIO), is understood to be taking over the Acting CIO role.  

Given the perspective Dominic can bring from his experience serving as the highest ranking career civilian IT executive overseeing the $5.6B VA IT organization supporting a $220B Fortune 10-sized nationwide Health/Benefits/Memorials/Facilities management agency, we would expect the VA IT organization to keep humming along as they tackle a number of the most high-profile and complex IT modernization and transformation programs happening in the Federal sector today.   

Prior roles for Dominic include:

  • Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary/Deputy CIO – U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs 
  • Deputy Assistant Secretary for Information Security/CISO – U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs 
  • Deputy CISO/Director of Cybersecurity Policy & Strategy – United States Department of Defense 
  • Senior Managing Consultant – IBM

Posted January 12, 2021

“Seven agencies will be looking for new chief information officers next week…”

“The departments of Homeland Security, Defense, Housing and Urban Development, State, Transportation and Veterans Affairs, as well as the Social Security Administration, will be saying good-bye to their political appointee CIOs — as will the Office of Management and Budget where Basil Parker, the federal CIO, and Camilo Sandoval, the federal chief information security officer, also will be exiting after a short tenure…”

“Jim Gfrerer, VA —Joined VA in January 2019, focusing on IT modernization, especially during the pandemic where he upgraded network capacity and addressed the challenges with the Trusted Internet Connections (TIC) requirements…” Read more here. 

Source: These seven agencies will be looking for new CIOs next week – By Jason Miller, January 11, 2021. Federal News Network.

G2X TAKE: A new Administration brings change and a new agenda. According to this Federal News Network article, come next week it appears as if the current VA CIO, James Gfrerer, as well as a former acting VA CIO and current Federal chief information security officer, Camilo Sandoval, are among several Federal IT leaders who will be departing. 

After having what feels like a revolving door that included several different leaders at the helm in the recent past, Gfrerer’s vision and open and transparent communication style have quickly made him a very popular leader to Veterans Affairs IT leadership both internally, and with industry partners alike, while offering critical stability to this heavily scrutinized Agency charged with the important mission of supporting our Veterans. 

More will be shared here as we learn more about next steps. 

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