Exclusive: VA Chief Information Security Officer Resigns

VA HQ Veterans

Brian Burns, the Department of Veterans Affairs’ chief information security officer, has resigned, according to an internal agency memo obtained by MeriTalk.

Brian Burns
Brian Burns

Burns submitted his resignation to VA Chief Information Officer LaVerne Council last week. His last day with VA will be June 10. According to Council, Burns is transitioning to another Federal agency.

Burns took over the CISO post last November. However, during his brief tenure as CISO, Burns served simultaneously as deputy director of the Interagency Program Office (IPO), established jointly by the VA and the Department of Defense to lead data sharing and interoperability efforts. His CISO duties were reportedly taken over in April by Ron Thompson.

“Brian joined VA in 2014 to lead our efforts toward interoperability. I appreciate his efforts in helping us to achieve interoperability with DoD,” Council wrote, referring to the certification of data sharing interoperability sent to Congress in April. “I will share more details about who will assume Brian’s responsibilities in the next few days.”

Burns has held senior IT positions at the Defense, Education, Health and Human Services, Interior, and Treasury departments.

Dan Verton
About Dan Verton
MeriTalk Executive Editor Dan Verton is a veteran journalist and winner of the First Place Jesse H. Neal National Business Journalism Award for Best News Reporting -- the highest award in the nation for business/trade journalism. Dan earned a Master's Degree in Journalism and Public Affairs from American University in Washington, D.C., and has spent the last 20 years in the nation's capital reporting on government, enterprise technology, policy and national cybersecurity. He’s also a former intelligence officer in the United States Marine Corps, has authored three books on cybersecurity, and has testified on critical infrastructure protection before both House and Senate committees.
8 Comments
  1. Anonymous | - Reply
    Brian joined VA in 2014...Burns has held senior IT positions at the Defense, Education, Health and Human Services, Interior, and Treasury departments. "I am very pleased to announce that Mr. Brian Burns has accepted the job as the new chief information security officer for the Department of Veteran Affairs," VA CIO LaVerne Council wrote in an email to staff on Nov. 6 (2015) Aug 20, 2015 -"Department of Veterans Affairs officials have tapped Associate Deputy Assistant Secretary for Security Operations Daniel Galik to take over as acting chief information security officer for the agency when current CISO Stan Lowe retires from government next week."
  2. Anonymous | - Reply
    Brian Burns left the CISO position at VA in early April. He went back to his previous position (VA/DoD Interagency Program Office). Ron Thompson took over the CISO role in early April, but is still performing his duties as PDAS for IT Enterprise Strategic Initiates.
  3. Anonymous | - Reply
    Why is it a surprise that he would leave that CISO role? I am surprised he lasted as long as he did. While he is solid executive and no one would doubt his expertise in a senior general IT position, he is not an information security professional and was not qualified to run a program like that in the first place. When will the government get it that you can't just throw any Senior Executive (no matter how good they are elsewhere) into a complex Cybersecurity role and expect miracles? D.W. Stender
  4. Anonymous | - Reply
    Why are the posting of previous news clips "comments?"
    1. Anonymous | - Reply
      Probably because the story is inaccurate. Brian Burns stopped being the CISO in April. Ron Thompson is the acting CISO. The other clips were from internal email communications at VA. It showed the string of disasters that is the Office of Information Security since the new VA CIO took over.
  5. Anonymous | - Reply
    Because these people are so busy playing roles and getting titles and moving from job to job so as to hide the fact that no real work gets done. They clearly forgot that they were there to take care of our veterans. Instead they loose their identity info and fail at simply getting the veterans and appointment.
    1. Anonymous | - Reply
      Instead they loose their identity info and fail at simply getting the veterans and appointment. ??? LOSE their identity info and fail at simply getting the veterans AN appointment. Guess what, the CISO has nothing to do with appointments. The appointment problem is a PERCIEVED problem. Urgent medical care is delivered timely. Routine care may take some time. How long did it take you to get an appointment with your doctor??? It can take 6-8 weeks or more. 30 days was a goal and not a mandate. Someone determined, however, that 31 days is TOO LONG to see a doctor for a regular check up. NO ONE is dying WAITING IN LINE for care.
  6. Anonymous | - Reply
    "Burns has held senior IT positions at the Defense, Education, Health and Human Services, Interior, and Treasury departments." Oh, and at the VA. And we wonder why nothing ever gets done within the government. Come January 2017, we'll be seeing another across the board shuffle of all SES staff, just like we did in January 2009, and it will take another 12 months beyond that for the dust to settle.

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