Dean of federal CIOs, Van Hitch, to retire

Friday - 6/17/2011, 7:32am EDT

By Jason Miller
Executive Editor
Federal News Radio

The dean of federal chief information officers is calling it quits. Vance Hitch, the longest service cabinet level CIO, told Justice Department colleagues he's retiring at the end of July.

"It has been an honor and privilege to work with the extremely talented technology experts of the department and with all of my esteemed colleagues across the federal government for the past nine years," Hitch wrote in an e-mail to staff obtained by Federal News Radio. "At the department, we strived every day to further enhance information technology to support the department's critical missions. We have had significant achievements in many areas, including cybersecurity and information sharing, and I know that the department will continue to thrive in those and other aspects of information technology."

Hitch came to Justice in 2002 after a 28-year career at Accenture. He also served in the Navy and earned a rank of lieutenant.

Hitch didn't say what he will do next, nor did he say who will be the acting CIO in the interim.

Jeremy Warren is the chief technology officer and there are five deputy CIOs, each working in a different functional area, according to DoJ's CIO website.

Hitch's retirement also means a new co-leader of the CIO Council's Information Security and Identity Management Committee. Hitch has led that body for several years and played a key consultant role on several Obama and Bush administration initiatives, including the Cyberspace Policy Review and the Security Line of Business.

During his nine years at DoJ, Hitch has helped transform the agency's technology in managing one of the largest IT budgets, $3.1 billion in 2011, in government.

In a 2008 interview with Federal News Radio, Hitch said projects such as the Law Enforcement National Data Exchange (N-Dex) and the Integrated Wireless Network (IWN) are examples of Justice projects that are making it easier to share information.

Hitch also has consolidated Justice's network and made laptops and mobile device part of the agency's culture.

"We have implemented departmentwide capabilities for enterprisewide vulnerability scanning, patch management, and network security through our Justice Security Operations Center (JSOC)," Hitch wrote in a recent blog post on CIO.gov. "In the next year, we will continue to expand our JSOC capabilities and toolsets."

Hitch said in his email he will let the staff know how they will operate in the interim.

"In the interim please remember that each of you performs a vital function in assisting our components with accomplishing their mission," he wrote. "Once again thank you for your continued hard work and for all that you have done that contributed to our successes over the years."

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