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Maria Roat Assumes Top CIO, CISO Roles Amid Departures

The career leader in government IT, deputy federal CIO becomes acting federal CIO and federal CISO.

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Photo Credit: Office of Management and Budget. Illustration Credit: GovCIO Media & Research

Office of Management and Budget’s Deputy Federal CIO Maria Roat has become acting federal CIO and acting federal CISO Jan. 20 after recent departures from Basil Parker and Camilo Sandoval, Roat confirmed to GovernmentCIO Media & Research.

Roat became deputy federal CIO May 2020, previously serving as CIO of the Small Business Administration from 2016 to 2020 and CTO of the Department of Transportation from 2014 to 2016. She was also director of FedRAMP in 2013 and has extensive experience at the Department of Homeland Security, where she was deputy CIO of FEMA and chief of staff in the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of the CIO.

Roat started her career in the U.S. Navy, where she served as a data processing technician and in various technological and engineering positions. She was in active duty for 26 years of her career, retiring in 2007.

In more recent years, Roat has focused on IT modernization, data governance, the Technology Modernization Fund, customer service and IT workforce development. She has overseen the execution of the President’s Management Agenda in IT, data and modernization cross-platform goals, and she is one of the development leads of the Federal Data Strategy.

At GovernmentCIO Media & Research’s Cloud Summit in November, Roat emphasized that long-term IT modernization is at the core of the work she’s done in her federal leadership.

The outgoing federal CIO and CISO appointments were rather short lived. The White House, under former President Trump, selected Parker for federal CIO in November, and he began the position last month. He stepped into the role after his predecessor Suzette Kent resigned in July 2020. Sandoval entered the federal CISO position after his predecessor Grant Schneider left the role in August 2020 to enter the private sector.

Roat’s shift in position also comes with some recent changes in CIO leadership across various agencies. Agencies like the Department of Health and Human Services have lacked a CIO since last August when Perryn Ashmore assumed acting CIO after Jose Arrieta resigned. The departments of Defense, Veterans Affairs, Homeland Security and State, among others, are also expecting CIO leadership changes and departures amid the inauguration of the Biden administration.

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