Veterans Affairs shuffles cyber leadership



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The Department of Veterans Affairs has appointed a new acting chief information security officer, moving its most recent CISO, Roopangi Kadakia, to a role in its Enterprise Program Management Office.

Dominic Cussatt, an executive of the VA Office of Information and Technology’s Enterprise Cybersecurity Strategy team, will serve as acting CISO as Kadakia assumes a new role as cloud implementation expert in the EMPO.

“As you know, cybersecurity was job number one when we began OI&T’s transformation,” acting CIO Rob Thomas wrote in a letter to staff obtained by FedScoop. “It is critical to improve VA’s ability to secure Veteran data, and we made great strides over the past 18 months. We must keep our momentum in cybersecurity, and also place an emphasis on modernizing our systems and using the cloud to work more efficiently and effectively. To accomplish these priorities, it is important to align the right leaders with the right positions.”

Cussatt, who served as a deputy CISO with the Defense Department prior to joining the VA, “excels at analyzing the cybersecurity landscape and developing plans that will ensure secure and reliable operation of VA information systems to protect Veteran data,” Thomas wrote. “He will do just that as acting CISO: develop and implement a plan for VA’s forward looking information security posture in our current environment and ensure that Veteran data remains protected.”

Kadakia joined the VA as its CISO in July from NASA, where she spent time as a web services executive and “orchestrated the transfer of more than 160 systems into the cloud at National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), one of the federal government’s largest cloud deployments to-date,” Thomas wrote. “She is uniquely qualified to lead cloud implementation and help OI&T modernize and drive improved outcomes.”

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Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Dominic Cussatt, Rob Thomas, Roopangi Kadakia