Cadenas gets added VA responsibilities

The Veterans Affairs Department has named Pedro Cadenas Jr. acting deputy CIO and acting deputy assistant secretary for the Office of Information Technology, effective April 30.

Cadenas, VA's associate deputy assistant secretary for cyber and information security since June 2004, will take on the acting deputy CIO position when CIO Robert McFarland leaves at the end of this week. Cadenas will continue as chief information security officer. Ed Meagher previously was deputy CIO before he took the deputy CIO position in the Interior Department.

Cadenas came to VA in 2002 to become director of VA's critical infrastructure protection program. Prior to that, he held professional positions in information security in the private sector, including for Science Applications International Corp. Cadenas received his Master of Science from George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and his Bachelor of Science from Park University in Parkville, Mo.

McFarland, a retired Dell Computer Corp. executive, announced his resignation last month, after serving as CIO and assistant secretary for information and technology since January 2004.

The reorganization of VA's IT budget, operations and management under the department CIO had 'produced a contentious atmosphere at the executive level, and my continued presence in it would be detrimental to the department's implementation of it,' McFarland said.

McFarland outlined the realignment of affected IT employees and an interim restructuring of the Office of the CIO in a recent memo. VA will complete the detailing of IT employees from the benefits, health care and burial administrations to the department's Office of Information and Technology by April 30. Jeff Shyshka, McFarland's reorganization adviser, will oversee operations, maintenance and consolidation until VA chooses a chief operating officer. The reorganization ultimately will affect up to 5,000 employees, McFarland has said.

VA will begin to centralize operations and maintenance across VA in about three months, once the reorganization is in place.

'The goal is to implement a series of network support/regional support centers to leverage field leadership and expertise and to begin the process of standardizing IT infrastructure operations to gain compatibility, interoperability and resource savings,' McFarland said in the memo, dated April 21.

VA also reorganized e-government, privacy, records management and Freedom of Information Act activities into a separate office, led by Sally Wallace, who has been associate deputy assistant secretary for IT operations. Linda Voges, the new director for data center operations, will develop protocols to standardize and enhance the capabilities of VA's data centers.

VA plans to make sure that best business practices are included in IT operations and maintenance that the department CIO manages and development, which will remain in the benefits, health and burial administrations, McFarland said. An independent contractor will validate the IT management set-up as it is organized under the federated model and recommend changes that will promote best business practices within VA.

About the Author

Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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