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Department Of Commerce Names CIO

Simon Szykman comes from NIST to replace Suzanne Hilding and manage Commerce's $2.6 billion annual IT budget.

The Department of Commerce on Monday named Simon Szykman as its new CIO. Szykman joins Commerce from the National Institute of Standards and Technology, where he had been CIO for the last three years.

Prior to that post, Szykman was director of the National Coordination office for Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NITRD), which manages federal research and development spending on IT under the auspices of the White House's Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Szykman replaces Suzanne Hilding, who had held the position since March 2008. Hilding's tenure at Commerce, which came after a long career at NASA, was a relatively quiet one, as she did not take on much of a public face. Szykman, by comparison, is a relatively regular public speaker.

Commerce has a $2.6 billion annual IT budget, though much of that resides with sub-agencies like NIST, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Bureau of the Census, and the Patent and Trademark Office.

The largest central investment for the agency is the Department of Commerce Consolidated IT Infrastructure, on which the agency will spend $491 million in 2010. That includes agency desktop management, help desk services, voice and data networks, cybersecurity, and data center spending. It points the agency's federated IT infrastructure toward a more consolidated future, according to the IT Dashboard, the government Website tracking federal IT investments.

The Commerce CIO job caps a long career in government service for Szykman, who also spent time working on cybersecurity R&D for the Department of Homeland Security, analyzing technology policy for OSTP, and serving on NIST's technical staff.

Szykman has a doctorate and master's degree in science from Carnegie Mellon University, and a master of engineering management from George Washington University.

Susannah Schiller, who was deputy CIO under Szykman, becomes NIST's acting CIO. She's spent 23 years at NIST, beginning as a statistician before moving into technical and IT-related roles.

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