VA Appoints a new Interoperability leader and a new CISO

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VA Appoints New Interoperability, Cybersecurity Leaders, Dan Verton, Meritalk, July 19, 2016

The Department of Veterans Affairs this week appointed two veteran government IT leaders to key agency posts responsible for data sharing with the Defense Department and cybersecurity.

In two consecutive emails this week, obtained by MeriTalk, VA Chief Information Officer LaVerne Council announced Steve Schliesman will lead VA’s Interagency Program Office and longtime NASA security executive Roopangi Kadakia will take over as the agency’s new chief information security officer.

Both posts are high profile positions that get a lot of attention on Capitol Hill and both are considered critical to VA’s transformation efforts.

Established by Congress in 2011, VA’s Interagency Program Office is responsible for leading VA’s efforts to ensure health record interoperability with the Pentagon. The two agencies have been criticized in the past for their reluctance to cooperate on a common electronic health record system. The Pentagon awarded a $9 billion contract last year for the MHS Genesis system developed by Cerner, Leidos, and Accenture. VA, on the other hand, has been wrestling with developing a strategy for moving beyond VistA—the Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture. However, the two agencies have made significant progress on sharing veterans data during the past several years…

G2X TAKE: In consecutive moves, the VA CIO announced that she has filled the spot for VA’s Interagency Program Office and that she had recruited a current NASA security executive to take over as the agency’s new chief information security officer. Steve Schliesman is a familiar face to those at VA as he is the VA’s former assistant deputy CIO for project management and product development.

Active in industry groups, Roopangi Kadakia, is well known to thoe outside of VA, but will be a new face to many at Vermont Ave. You can anticipate that a number of contractors who maintain relationships with Ms. Kadakia will be reaching out to see how they can support her as part of any new efforts. 

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