Spires will oversee the department's $6.2 billion IT budget and an array of important national security programs, including a digital overhaul to border security, cybersecurity, ongoing data center consolidation, and financial systems modernization.
"In today's digital age, the role of information technology at DHS has never been more critical," Napolitano said in a statement. "Richard has an impressive record of managing large-scale IT programs, and I look forward to working with him to find more efficient and innovative ways to help the Department meet its strategic and information resource management goals."
As former CIO of the Internal Revenue Service, Spires has experience managing government IT operations. At the IRS he led a complex, long-term effort to modernize tax processing systems that were fraught with problems. Since leaving government last year, he has run a consulting business.
Spires brings experience in the private sector as well, including 17 years at SRA International and as president and COO of financial services business intelligence software company Mantas.
Richard Mangogna, the previous DHS CIO, stepped down in March, and Margie Graves had been acting CIO since then.