VA Gets New CIO, New VA Secretary Sworn-in

In a busy week for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the agency saw its new secretary sworn in and also received word that President Trump will seek to fill its open slot for a chief information officer to oversee VA’s data, technology, and cyber initiatives – a post that has remained vacant since the Trump administration began.

Robert Wilkie, the VA’s new secretary, was sworn in Monday by Vice President Mike Pence in an Oval Office ceremony also attended by President Trump. Wilkie will replace the embattled David Shulkin, who was forced to resign following a series of ethics probes and questions regarding the role of privatization within the VA.

Wilkie was previously confirmed by the U.S. Senate by an 86-9 vote, promising during considerations of his nomination that privatization would play no role in the priorities guiding his tenure as secretary.

The White House also announced that James Paul Gferer would be nominated to fill the role of assistant secretary for information technology at the VA, a role that, according to Federal Times, “also serves as the agency chief information officer.”

Gferer will inherit a post that has, in recent history, been a fairly tumultuous one. Gferer will be the first permanent CIO at VA in this administration.

As summarized by Federal Times, VA “has not had a permanent CIO since the departure of LaVerne Council, who left with the Trump presidential transition. Since then, the agency has had a spate of acting CIOs. Rob Thomas headed the agency’s IT from January 2017 to October 2017, when he retired from government service. Scott Blackburn then took over the role, before abruptly resigning via Twitter in April 2018.”

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