SBA CIO Bluestein Takes Vacation – Federal News Network | Region & Cash

Three more big losses in the federal technology leadership ranks.

Federal News Network has confirmed that Keith Bluestein, the Small Business Administration’s chief information officer, has been suspended from his position effective today.

In addition, Paul Cunningham, the chief information security officer in the Department of Veterans Affairs, is retiring at the end of February, Federal News Network also learned.

And finally, Rona Bunn, the CIO of the International Trade Administration…

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Three more big losses in the federal technology leadership ranks.

Federal News Network has confirmed that Keith Bluestein, the Small Business Administration’s chief information officer, has been suspended from his position effective today.

In addition, Paul Cunningham, the chief information security officer in the Department of Veterans Affairs, is retiring at the end of February, Federal News Network also learned.

Finally, Rona Bunn, CIO at the International Trade Administration in the trade division, left on January 28th to become CIO at the National Association of Corporate Directors.

Bluestein’s departure comes as a surprise. He returned to SBA in June 2020 after four years with NASA. Bluestein inherited a technological infrastructure and organization that had undergone a major transformation that seemed to be paying off in the first year of the pandemic.

Keith Bluestein has taken a leave of absence as CIO at the Small Business Administration.

SBA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

An email to Bluestein’s SBA account has bounced an out-of-office reply confirming he has taken time off from the SBA: “I will be out of the office beginning January 31, 2022. If you require immediate assistance in my absence, please contact Luis Campudoni (SBA Acting CIO) at CIO@sba.gov. Otherwise I will respond to your emails as soon as possible upon my return.”

A message to Bluestein on LinkedIn asking for comment was also not immediately answered.

While Bluestein is gone, Campudoni takes over the technological leadership. He joined SBA in January 2021, coming from the Department of Homeland Security where he spent 12 years in various technology roles.

During his tenure, Bluestein continued modernization efforts, drawing on saved money that went into the working capital fund. He told the House Oversight and Reform Subcommittee on Government Operations last July how the SBA uses funds deposited in the WCF. He said his focus is on modernizing SBA’s infrastructure, unifying and enhancing their customer experience tools internally and externally, and updating their support technology for small business certification programs. and improving the systems that govern entrepreneurial development and learning.

It’s unclear when or if Bluestein will return to the SBA.

VA CISO retires

As for Cunningham, Virginia loses a CISO and an assistant secretary who has been with the agency for more than three years.

Cunningham joined VA in 2019 from the Department of Energy. He began his federal career in 1984 when he enlisted in the Navy, enlisted as Lt. Commander and retired after 22 years of service.

As CISO, Cunningham faced the difficult task of modernizing VA’s cybersecurity efforts. The most recent Federal Information Security Management Act report found that VA continues to struggle, earning a 2.4 out of 5 maturity rating from the Inspector General and meeting only 70% of the Office of Management and Budget’s interagency priority goals. The Government Accountability Office awarded VA a “D” grade on the most recent Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA) scorecard for its FISMA efforts.

Despite that score, VA’s IG said the agency is making progress. In its FY2020 FISMA report, pending the release of the 2021 report, VA has enhanced its security documentation, matured its predictive scanning process, enhanced border protection, and further enhanced the use of its centralized audit log collection and analysis tool .

Cunningham helped drive VA’s efforts by supporting the move to DevSecOps, where cybersecurity is part of the foundational capability.

He also helped lead the move to implement a risk management framework to improve decision making related to systems and data.

Most recently, VA’s network was subjected to a test with the SolarWinds hack and escaped unscathed.

VA launched a new cyber strategy in October, the first update since 2016, that focuses on five goals that “consider existing and emerging federal cybersecurity requirements, technological advances, innovations, and world events that are affecting the way VA delivers services, have further developed. It also considers new and innovative ways to protect against today’s most sophisticated cybersecurity threats.”

VA did not say who the acting CISO would be until a permanent CISO is named. Only at the end of December did the Senate confirm Kurt DelBene as the new permanent CIO.

Over at the International Trade Administration (ITA), Bunn is leaving after more than three years, including the last two as acting CIO and then as permanent CIO. She has worked in the federal government since 2015, when she joined the Justice Department after more than 20 years in the private sector.

Rona Bunn left the company after having worked as the CIO of the International Trade Administration at the Department of Commerce for the last more than two years.

In her new role, Bunn is responsible for leading the National Association of Corporate Directors’ (NACD) digital transformation strategy, including acquiring, evaluating and implementing IT investments and managing corporate risk.

As CIO of ITA, Bunn had a head start on IT modernization. Former ITA CIO Joe Paiva moved most of the agency’s infrastructure to the cloud, leaving Bunn focused on the next steps of digital transformation.

“We are working intensively on the development of solutions. We manage 50+ applications supporting 300+ products and services, so we’re rolling out new DevOps tools that will ensure we have integrated and seamless processes,” Bunn said in November 2020. “We’re also working on a mature implementation of the Technology Business Management (TBM) so we can gain new insights into the cost and value of new services, which is critical for us to ensure we are making the right investments.”

May Cheng is Deputy CIO of ITA but has not yet been appointed Interim CIO.

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