NIST's Furlani to retire in early 2012

Thursday - 10/27/2011, 1:53pm EDT

Cita Furlani, a long-time fixture in the federal technology community, is retiring in early 2012.

Furlani will leave her position as the director of the Information Technology Laboratory for the National Institute of Standards and Technology after spending six years as head of the lab and 30 years with the agency.

Charles Romine, a senior advisor to the NIST director, has been tapped to be her successor. NIST is waiting for approval from the Office of Personnel Management for Romine to move into the management position.

Cita Furlani (Photo from NIST.gov)

"Knowing that Chuck will take over makes leaving a little bit easier," Furlani said during NIST's Information Security and Privacy Advisory Board meeting Wednesday in Washington.

Furlani said the exact timing of when she will leave still is being worked out, and she plans on staying two or three months after OPM approves Romine's move into management to help with the transition.

Romine has worked at Oakridge National Lab for the Energy Department and the Office of Science and Technology Policy in the White House before coming to NIST in 2009. At OSTP, Romine provided technical and policy advice to the President's Science Advisor for all areas related to information technology.

At Oakridge, he worked on advanced algorithms for supercomputers and spent four years at the Department of Energy Office of Science as program manager for the Office of Advanced Scientific Computing Research.

The IT Lab is one of NIST's largest and most recognized organizations. Its budget is $120 million and has 367 employees and about 160 guest researchers from industry, universities, and foreign laboratories.

Romine will oversee the research program that works with industry to develop and disseminate standards, measurements and testing for interoperability, security, usability and reliability of information systems, including cybersecurity standards and guidelines for federal agencies and industry.

"I got to know Cita when I was on the ISPAB and got to work closely with her while I have been at the White House and it's been a real pleasure," said Howard Schmidt, the White House cyber coordinator. "You've provided great support and intellectual capacity. I thank you and I will miss you."

During her career, Furlani oversaw an increase in the IT Lab's standing in the federal community as well as an increase in its reliance by the Office of Management and Budget. Under her leadership, NIST plays a big role in a host of initiatives from continuous monitoring to secure identity management to smartgrid technologies to cloud computing.

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