Steve Cooper to leave DHS

Steve Cooper to leave DHS

Steven I. Cooper, the Homeland Security Department's first CIO, is resigning from the department, he confirmed today.

Cooper's work as the IT leader of the nation's homeland security effort began when he joined the White House's Homeland Security Office as CIO at the request of Tom Ridge, who later became DHS secretary. President Bush subsequently appointed Cooper CIO of the fledgling department in January 2003 [see GCN coverage].

Over the past 2 1/2 years, Cooper has worked with other department CIOs, the DHS senior leadership and lawmakers to shape IT policy and structure for the department, including:

  • Building an enterprise architecture, now in its second version, that correlates the department's systems with its mission [see GCN coverage]

  • Inventorying systems used by the department's more than 22 agencies and beginning to prioritize those to be upgraded, retained or replaced

  • Shepherding DHS' IT planning and budget through a relentlessly inquisitive legislative process

  • Establishing a technical reference model for systems to be used at the department

  • Fostering technical means of information sharing within DHS and with other agencies at the federal, state and local levels

  • Helping recruit a technical and management cadre of federal professionals and contractors to carry out DHS' technology work.

Before joining the White House Homeland Security Office in 2002, Cooper worked as CIO of Corning Inc. of Corning, N.Y., and as director of corporate information systems at Eli Lilly and Co. of Indianapolis.

His successor will face tasks that kept the CIO office on an accelerated schedule for months, such as consolidating DHS systems procurement, activating major programs such as the U.S. Visit virtual border system and closing the gaps in the department's IT infrastructure.

Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), a member of the House Select Homeland Security Commitee, commented, "Much remains to be done to get the department's IT systems integrated and working. It is also critical that the department serve as an example to the nation and have secure systems that are protected against cyberattacks. I hope Mr. Cooper's successor is named quickly so that the department can move forward on this front."

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