VA security officer resigns

The Veterans Affairs Department chief information security officer Pedro Cadenas Jr. has resigned effective July 13.Cadenas cited personal reasons for leaving.

He has been VA's associate deputy assistant secretary for cyber and information security since June 2004.

VA has made several department changes in the wake of the theft of the laptop and hard drive, which VA said yesterday had been recovered. There also have been other high-level personnel changes in recent months.

Since first publicly reporting the record data theft, VA has taken disciplinary action against several department employees. The agency fired the data analyst who took home sensitive data. The career employee had authority to access the information but not to take it from the premises. Michael McLendon, deputy assistant secretary for policy, resigned and Dennis Duffy, acting assistant secretary for policy and longtime career official, is on administrative leave.

But shortly before the data theft, then-CIO Robert McFarland resigned in the wake of what he called 'a contentious atmosphere at the executive level' over pressure to centralize the VA IT organization. He said he left because 'my continued presence in it would be detrimental to the department's implementation of it [centralization].'

VA has begun to centralize management and operational IT and the associated IT personnel under acting CIO Robert Howard, but IT project development and software developers remain under the authority of VA's health, benefits and burial administrations.

Cadenas became VA's acting deputy CIO and acting deputy assistant secretary for the Office of Information Technology after McFarland's departure. Cadenas became CISO when Bruce Brody resigned.

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.

About the Author

Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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