DHS' Charbo promoted

Senate also confirms three department nominees

The Homeland Security Department's CIO, Scott Charbo, has been promoted to the job of acting undersecretary for management and will continue to hold his existing position. Separately, the Senate confirmed presidential nominees to three critical DHS positions.

The slew of confirmations and the appointment on the eve of the holiday weekend filled notable gaps in the senior ranks of a department that has wrestled with a comprehensive leadership turnover for more than a year.

Many sectors, including influential lawmakers and the Government Accountability Office, long have advocated that the department's central CIO be given final say over all DHS technology. While technically the department's other CIOs still will report directly to the leaders of their respective components, Charbo's promotion in effect makes him the highest-ranking DHS technology leader.

Charbo succeeds Janet Hale, who was confirmed as the department's undersecretary for management on March 6, 2003. Hale in late March announced her plans to resign.

President Bush appointed Charbo to be the department's CIO in June 2005. Charbo followed the department's first CIO, Steve Cooper, who moved on to be the CIO of the Red Cross in March 2005. In the gap between the two permanent appointments, Coast Guard Rear Adm. Ronald T. Hewitt was acting CIO.

Secretary Michael Chertoff called Charbo 'a strong and capable manager' in a March 26 statement announcing the promotion. Chertoff said, 'Scott will oversee a wide range of functions including budgeting, procurement, human resources and information technology.'

Chertoff added, 'I look forward to working with Scott as we continue to fully integrate our management architecture and strengthen accountability in our financial and personnel systems.'

As the Senate closed legislative operations for a recess that likely will end June 5, the chamber confirmed three senior DHS nominees.

As the first named tropical storm of the 2006, Aletta, swirled off Mexico, the Senate confirmed R. David Paulison as undersecretary for the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The Senate's Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee had delayed Paulison's confirmation as a result of questions over deductions he took on his tax returns, but the panel resolved that question quickly.

Paulison, a former fire and rescue department chief in Miami, worked as U.S. Fire Administrator starting in 2001. He has been FEMA's acting director since September 2005.

Also on Friday, the Senate confirmed David Norquist as DHS' chief finance officer. Norquist formerly was deputy undersecretary of Defense for budget and appropriations affairs. 'He will be responsible for the management of the department's budget, finances and accounting, and he will be integral in strategic planning,' Chertoff said of Norquist. 'Dave will strengthen financial controls and overall accountability,' he added in the May 26 statement.

And to complete the hat trick, Senate confirmed W. Ralph Basham's nomination as commissioner for Customs and Border Protection. 'Ralph is an incredibly experienced law enforcement professional who is uniquely qualified to lead the 41,000 employees of this vital agency,' Chertoff said.

Basham, a 29-year Secret Service veteran, was chief of staff of the Transportation Security Administration. He also worked as director of the Secret Service and of the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center.

Basham succeeds former CBP commissioner Robert C. Bonner, who announced his plans to resign in September 2005.

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