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Beavers takes over from Sherman as acting Department of Defense information officer

Leslie Beavers has been named the new acting CIO of the U.S. Department of Defense.

“I am pleased to announce that I will be starting a new job as the acting CIO for the United States Department of Defense,” Beavers wrote on LinkedIn in July. The department’s website now lists her as acting CIO.

A Pentagon spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Beavers, the chief information officer to the defense secretary, replaces former CIO John Sherman, who resigned in June to become dean of the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University, a non-government position.

Having previously served as deputy CIO at the Pentagon, Beavers is familiar with the many Department of Defense initiatives aimed at securing the defense industrial base, advancing 5G technologies and exploring artificial intelligence.

Since joining the department, Beavers has worked on groundbreaking initiatives like Project Herald, the Pentagon’s plan to transform digital intelligence sharing, and Fulcrum, the recently announced IT transformation strategy. It’s the latter that she’s most focused on building momentum on, she said in her LinkedIn post.

“(It) gives you tangible steps to turn that strategic vision into an operational reality,” Beavers said at the TechNet Cyber ​​​​2024 conference in Baltimore, June 25-27. “Then there will be an implementation plan that will provide more information.”

The former Air Force intelligence officer and retired brigadier general takes over as the Defense Department begins to put many of its theories on zero trust, cloud computing, machine learning and cybersecurity into action.

The department has been issuing guidance for several years, with the help of working groups and testing approaches through pilots. Now, officials say, it is in a position to actually implement solutions. The department has a goal of developing a data tagging and labeling strategy by the end of the calendar year.

Beavers also told TechNet Cyber ​​that she expects the Joint Warfighting Cloud Capability project to grow as other contracts begin to expire.

At the same time, Beavers and her office continue to grapple with challenges, including cybersecurity staffing shortages, funding unpredictability and technical debt, that separate the services they offer from the modern approaches they expect.

Meanwhile, China is emerging as the United States’ primary adversary on the digital battlefield, with attacks on public infrastructure underscoring the urgent need to anticipate and intercept cyber threats.

DOD is seeking $14.5 billion in fiscal year 2025 for its cyber programs. According to the DOD website, Kevin Mulvihill is the new acting deputy CIO.

Molly Weisner is a reporter for the Federal Times, where she covers labor, politics and government workforce contracts. She previously worked at USA Today and McClatchy as a digital producer and at The New York Times as an editor. Molly earned a degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.