DHS Latest Agency to Lose CIO
Last Thursday, the Chief Information Officer (CIO) for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Richard Starapoli, resigned unexpectedly, according to an announcement made by Stephen Rice, DHS’ deputy CIO, at a meeting of the agency’s CIO Council.
Starapoli’s resignation comes a mere three months after he was appointed to the position by President Donald Trump. Starapoli was appointed to replace former CIO Luke McCormack, who left his post in January.
According to Federal News Radio’s coverage of the decision, updated on August 7th, there is not yet a succession plan for filling Starapoli’s role as the top-level manager of the agency’s information technology efforts. Starapoli’s resignation will be effective September 1st.
Federal News Radio’s Jason Miller previously noted the reassignment of Treasury Department CIO Sonny Bhagowalia, suggesting that the decision “should sound the alarm bells for all ‘legacy’ federal agency CIOs,” and that his being moved into a new position could be “the first shoe to drop in the Trump administration’s plan to replace most, if not every, department CIO aside from the ones they named, such as Richard Staropoli at the Homeland Security Department, or Johnson Joy at the Department of Housing and Urban Development.”
Starapoli’s tenure ended up being unexpectedly short-lived, however, with Federal News Radio citing varying accounts from sources within the agency:
“Sources say Rice told DHS IT executives that Staropoli’s reason was the commute from New Jersey was weighing too much on his family.
“But other sources say Staropoli had a run-in with former DHS Secretary John Kelly over comments he made at an industry event.
“Other sources say Staropoli’s resignation was only mildly surprising as he was a bit disengaged and didn’t necessarily have the background to be a federal agency CIO.”
Starapoli is one of several CIOs to vacate their positions in recent months. Other departures include Navy CIO Rob Foster, Army CIO Robert Ferrell, Air Force CIO Bill Bender, USCIS CIO Mark Schwartz, Treasury Department CIO Sonny Bhagowalia, and NSF CIO Amy Northcutt, who tragically passed away in May.
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