The State Department confirmed late today the appointment of Keith A. Jones as agency CIO, and Assistant Secretary-level head, effective on Jan. 20.

Jones was deputy CIO at the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) component from 2012 to 2018. Since leaving DHS in 2018, he has been president and CEO of Edgewater Group (DC) LLC.

Separately, the Federal CIO Council has named acting CIOs at four of the seven agencies where the position is helmed by political appointees who are obliged to step down at the end of presidential administrations.

The CIO Council elevated longtime agency veterans to acting CIOs at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Department of Defense (DoD), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and Department of Transportation (DoT).

The CIO post for the Department of Housing and Urban Development is listed vacant on the CIO Council site, while the CIO post for the Social Security Administration (SSA) was updated to reflect an October change.

Dominic Cussatt was named acting CIO at the VA, after being deputy CIO at the agency since July 2018, according to his LinkedIn. He’s served in various positions at the agency since 2016 and has previously spoken highly of the VA’s cybersecurity efforts.

John Sherman was named acting CIO for the DoD. Sherman was also serving as deputy CIO under the prior administration and held other titles at the agency as well. Sherman was the unlimited warrant procuring contracting officer (PCO) at DoD since June 2017 and simultaneously was PCO for the Air Force since 2009.

Beth Cappello will take over in her second stint as acting CIO at DHS, having spent her entire government career in different departments within DHS.  Most recently, she has been Deputy CIO at DHS and was acting CIO previously from November 2019 until May 2020. Before that, Cappello was acting CIO at Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for six months in 2016, after serving as deputy CIO at ICE for the prior two years, according to her LinkedIn. She discussed her pride in DHS’s ability to quickly pivot to telework during the pandemic last year as part of MeriTalk’s CIO Crossroads interview series.

Jack Albright is another Deputy CIO being elevated to the top tech job at DoT, where he is also associate CIO for IT shared services (ITSS) at DoT. Albright has been in the latter position at ITSS since early 2016, after spending the prior 10 years as CIO for DoT’s Pipeline and Hazardous Material Transportation Administration, according to his DoT bio.

The CIO Council also updated the site to reflect Sean Brune as the acting CIO at the SSA, though he is actually the longest-tenured acting CIO of the bunch. Brune has held the title since October 2020, when SSA CIO Rajive Mathur stepped down from the position. Before taking over for his boss, Brune was the SSA assistant deputy commissioner and Deputy CIO/IT Modernization.

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Lamar Johnson
Lamar Johnson
Lamar Johnson is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.