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Karen Evans Takes Over as CIO at Department of Homeland Security

Former Energy Department Assistant Secretary Karen Evans has taken over as the new chief information officer at the Department of Homeland Security.

Deputy CIO Elizabeth Cappello had been serving in the role since November, when CIO John Zangardi left for the private sector as senior vice president of business initiatives and strategic partnerships at Leidos Civil Group. Zangardi just joined Redhorse Corporation as company president.

Evans was confirmed as assistant secretary of the Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security and Emergency Response at DOE in August 2018. She previously served as administrator of the Office of Electronic Government and Information Technology at the Office of Management and Budget in the George W. Bush administration, the equivalent of what’s now the federal CIO post. After Donald Trump won the 2016 election, she advised his transition team to help prepare OMB staff on cyber issues.

Before her DOE appointment, Evans was national director of the U.S. Cyber Challenge, a public-private program designed to help address a skills gap in the cybersecurity field.

Alexander Gates from the National Security Agency replaced Evans at DOE in February.

Evans takes over as DHS CIO as work on sweeping, critical tech initiatives from data center optimization to network modernization continue despite the department concurrently dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, Cappello said on a recent webinar with the Government Technology & Services Coalition and Women in Homeland Security.

“We have an architecture in the DHS-area-wide network that is somewhere between 12 and 16 years old and it was designed to support the fixed data center construct, and as DHS has migrated to the cloud and is really embracing the cloud adoption we need to look at ways to modernize that network infrastructure to support a hybrid cloud environment,” Cappello said.

DHS Tech Initiatives Continue Despite COVID-19 Crisis, Says Acting CIO Cappello

Bridget Johnson
Bridget Johnson is the Managing Editor for Homeland Security Today. A veteran journalist whose news articles and analyses have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe, Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor and a foreign policy writer at The Hill. Previously she was an editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and syndicated nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. Bridget is a terrorism analyst and security consultant with a specialty in online open-source extremist propaganda, incitement, recruitment, and training. She hosts and presents in Homeland Security Today law enforcement training webinars studying a range of counterterrorism topics including conspiracy theory extremism, complex coordinated attacks, critical infrastructure attacks, arson terrorism, drone and venue threats, antisemitism and white supremacists, anti-government extremism, and WMD threats. She is a Senior Risk Analyst for Gate 15 and a private investigator. Bridget is an NPR on-air contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, New York Observer, National Review Online, Politico, New York Daily News, The Jerusalem Post, The Hill, Washington Times, RealClearWorld and more, and has myriad television and radio credits including Al-Jazeera, BBC and SiriusXM.

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