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Potomac Officers Club Hosts Are We There Yet? Cloud Event; Dr. John Zangardi Gives Keynote

John Zangardi

On Thursday, Nov. 29th, GovCon leaders from the public and private sector gathered for the Potomac Officers Club’s Are We There Yet? Your Journey to the Cloud and the Pit Stops Along the Way Agenda event, featuring a keynote address from Dr. John Zangardi, chief information officer for the Department of Homeland Security. Before his role with DHS, Dr. Zangardi served as the principal deputy CIO for the Department of Defense.

An expert panel followed his speech, consisting of: Dr. Emma Alexander and Kshemendra Paul of the DHS, Don Parente of AT&T and Chris Cummiskey of Cummiskey Strategic Solutions, LLC. The event was moderated by Frontis Wiggins, of Northrop Grumman.

Dr. Zangardi detailed the impact cloud migration has on the workforce and discussed the creation of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency as well as the changes occurring at the National Risk Management Center. ExecutiveGov reported on Nov. 19th that the new DHS  agency is designed to lead the federal government’s civilian response to cyber threats. Dr. Zangardi addressed whether CISA has changed his work process and what his ambitions are for the new agency.

“CISA will be taking the lead more and is DHS’ focus. For me, I’m still working with the same people. What changes for me is how to figure out how to support them to take the lead efficiently moving forward. How do I help them to be successful? We’re working through those things and we’re trying to meet their needs. They’re part of the DHS family. I have to ensure that everything I’m doing enables their success. That’s my objective.”

Dr. Zangardi also discussed how to ensure his team doesn’t work itself into a corner trying to break new ground.

“In terms of being more agile and moving out more rapidly, that’s on the plate. Where I am, most of the bandwidth on my staff is on those fair opportunities. You have to think about the scope of the workload because it takes some time to figure out. What are the requirements? If there’s a 10-year period, what does that mean in terms of security? How do we keep from boxing ourselves in with something that works now, but could be very different in the future.”

In addition to cloud migration, Dr. Zangardi shared an update on his team using AI solutions. His team is working on a “winter study” and they are looking into the direction of CDO. His team just needs some more time to research and figure out their options.

“We’re doing something called a ‘winter study.’ At the end of it, we’ll have a much better idea of our options. I think we’re moving in the direction of CDO, but there are a lot of questions. What does the CDO look like? Where would it reside within the organization? You need to give them time to work through those questions before we start making decisions for AI Solutions, but we are looking into that.”

After Dr. John Zangardi’s keynote, the panel discussed the challenges facing the future of cloud migration, and addressed national security threats.

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