U.S. President Donald Trump (C) holds an event highlighting emerging technologies, in the East Room at the White House in Washington, U.S., June 22, 2017. 
Jonathan Ernst / REUTERS

Foreign Affairs LIVE: Federal CIOs and their Evolving Role in Government

Washington D.C.


The Chief Information Officer of a federal agency must provide innovative solutions in a challenging budget environment. The CIO is also charged with establishing a government-wide system that ensures information-sharing and maintains effective information security and privacy controls across the Federal Government.  In partnership with the Advanced Technology Academic Research Center (ATARC), this Foreign Affairs LIVE event will examine the dynamic role that the Chief Information Officer plays in a Federal agency. 

During the half-day program, agency CIOs will engage in a comprehensive discussion on emerging technological challenges and solutions for the government and private sector IT professionals in attendance. The depth of knowledge and experiences shared by these federal CIOs will allow the audience to gain greater insight into the crucial role of how a Chief Information Officer runs systems in the new administration.



7:00 - 8:00 a.m. | Registration and Breakfast  

8:00- 8:30 a.m. | Keynote:

Suzette Kent, Federal Chief Information Officer, U.S. Office of Management and Budget

8:30 - 9:00 a.m. | Keynote:

Rod Turk, Acting Chief Information Officer, Department of Commerce

9:00 - 10:00 a.m. | Panel 1: Innovating Federal IT in a Challenging Budget Environment

Jason Gray, Chief Information Officer, U.S. Department of Education 

Vicki Hildebrand, Chief Information Officer, U.S. Department of Transportation

Chad Sheridan, Chief Information Officer, Risk Management Agency, USDA

Moderator: Rick Holgate, Research Director, Gartner, Inc.

10:00 - 10:30 a.m. | Coffee Break 

10:30 - 11:00 a.m. | Foreign Affairs Fireside Chat:

Karen Kornbluh, Senior Fellow for Digital Policy, Council on Foreign Relations in conversation with Stuart Reid, Managing Editor, Foreign Affairs

11:00 - 12:00 p.m. | Panel 2: Federal IT Challenges in a Foreign Environment 

Benjamin Bergersen, Chief Information Officer, Senior Agency Officer for Cyber Security Risk Management, U.S. Trade and Development Agency 

Andre Mendes, Chief Information Officer, International Trade Administration (TBC)

Ken Rogers, Acting Deputy CIO for Business Management & Planning, U.S. Department of State 

Howard Spira, Chief Information Officer, Export-Import Bank of the U.S.

Moderator: Tom Suder, Founder & President, Advanced Technology Academic Research Center (ATARC)

12:00-12:30 p.m. | Closing Remarks:

David Bray, Executive Director, People-Centered Internet coalition and Visiting Executive at Harvard and Singularity Universities on Leadership in a Networked World 




Benjamin Bergersen is an IT executive and cloud security expert. He is the first full-time CIO and Senior Agency Official for Cyber Risk Management (SAO-RM) for the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA). Mr. Bergersen transforms IT services for the Agency to utilize a hybrid strategy of shared services and cloud services with increased savings and efficiencies. Using IT accelerators and analytic IT systems, Mr. Bergersen supports the Agency’s important mission of helping companies create U.S. jobs through the export of U.S. goods and services for priority development projects in emerging economies.

Before joining USTDA Mr. Bergersen, served as the Information Security Officer for MAX.gov providing cloud shared services to 180 CIO’s and their federal agencies across government at the Office of Management and Budget, White House. In this role, he oversaw the transformation of continuous monitoring and enterprise risk management across software development through to operations. This work led to Mr. Bergersen receiving the Government Information Security Leadership Award (GISLA) from (ISC)2 for best information security business process improvement.

As the Chief Information Officer for the Office of Inspector General at the Department of Commerce, Mr. Bergersen provided collaborative nationwide services for mission security and assurance. This included developing technology services to accelerate and enhance the capabilities of special agents, auditors, and attorneys to perform investigations and audits across five operating locations. Mr. Bergersen received a Commerce Bronze medal and a GovTek Executive Collaboration award for his accomplishments in this role.

As the Information Security Program Manager in the U.S. Antarctic Program he provided shared services to 51 universities, the U.S. Navy, and the National Science Foundation. Mr. Bergersen earned A+ FISMA grades two years in a row for information security as rated by U.S. Congress.

Benjamin created the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) executive education program at Carnegie Mellon University. He holds multiple cyber security and governance certifications including CISSP, ISSAP, and ISSMP from (ISC)2; CGEIT, CISA, and CISM from ISACA; as well as being an ITIL Service Manager. His education includes an MBA from George Mason University, a Bachelor’s of Science in Criminal Justice from SUNY Brockport, and a CIO certification from the U.S. Federal CIO Council / CIO University.

David Bray, was named one of the top 24 Americans Who Are Changing the World under 40 by Business Insider in 2016. He was also named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum for 2016-2021. He also accepted a role of Co-Chair for an IEEE Committee focused on Artificial Intelligence, automated systems, and innovative policies globally for 2016-2017 and has been serving as a Visiting Executive In-Residence at Harvard University since 2015. He has also been named a Marshall Memorial Fellow for 2017-2018 and will travel to Europe to discuss Trans-Atlantic issues of common concern including exponential technologies and the global future ahead. See also David's full biography »

Jason Gray, was selected in May 2016 to serve as the U. S. Department of Education’s chief information officer (CIO). In this position he oversees an information technology (IT) portfolio of $689 million in programs.  As the CIO, Gray serves as a principal advisor to the under secretary, deputy secretary, and secretary with respect to the astute use of IT to exceed the expectations of the Department's customers. He serves as the day-to-day lead for coordinating and managing the various functions within Office of the Chief Information Officer, coordinates with and provides advice to the Department's senior leadership regarding IT, information management, information assurance, and website activities management and operations.

Prior to his selection as CIO, Gray served as the associate chief information officer for the Department of Transportation (DOT), where he provided executive leadership on IT policy and oversight for information governance, compliance, and departmental policy, as well as managed DOT’s $3.5 billion IT portfolio.

Gray has held several leadership roles in the information technology and healthcare administration fields.  He has nearly 20 years of experience in the planning, development, delivery, and monitoring of technical solutions that address the needs of his customers in support of their missions.

Gray received his M.B.A. from Colorado Technical University, completed the Key Executive Leadership Certificate at American University, and holds a variety of technical and professional certifications, including the Project Management Professional (PMP) and Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) certifications.  

Vicki Hildebrand, was named Chief Information Officer (CIO) of the U.S. Department of Transportation by United States Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.  As the CIO, she is the principal advisor to the Secretary on all information technology related matters.   

Prior to her position at the Department of Transportation, Vicki served as the Vice President for Customer& Partner Advocacy at Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), a relatively new function in the industry.  She leveraged her extensive technology background to empower HPE Account Leaders and Executives with actionable insights to help drive new business value and form lasting customer relationships.

Vicki’s career includes over three decades at Hewlett-Packard. Her experience includes management of R&D, Software Development, Operations and Support, Architecture, Program Management, and Acquisition Integration. 

She was the Senior Director and Chief of Staff for Global Business Services, an 18,000 person organization that managed HP’s common services. She has also led various enterprise level programs across Hewlett Packard Company, from the first rollout of the HP-UX server platform to the consolidation and transformation of HP’s 200+ Marketing applications, including HP.com and @hp. She led the Marketing IT development teams through the acquisition of Compaq and EDS.

Richard Holgate, PhD is a Research Director supporting government CIOs generally and specifically in the U.S. Federal Government. He covers topics including digital government; cloud; blockchain; mobility; digital workplace; information (cyber) security; IT procurement; shared services; case management; and legacy system modernization.

Previous Experience

Dr. Holgate served as Assistant Director for Science & Technology and Chief Information Officer at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF), where he was responsible for strategy, planning, management, and delivery of ATF's IT and forensic services. He oversaw all aspects of IT services, systems and security for ATF's 7,500 users. Within the forensic services portfolio, he led ATF's financial investigative services and oversaw ATF's three forensic science laboratories and its fire research laboratory. He was also responsible for formulating and executing an overall technology strategy in support of ATF's mission and served on the Department of Justice CIO Council. Dr. Holgate also served as the President of the American Council for Technology (ACT), has been a member of the Federal CIO's Digital Services Advisory Group, and was the government co-chair of the ACT Industry Advisory Council (IAC) Advanced Mobility Working Group. He currently serves as a member of the IAC Executive Committee. Dr. Holgate was also the Executive Assistant Director for Information Technology and Command Information Officer at the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), where he was responsible for: delivery of IT services to NCIS's more than 2,400 employees worldwide; transition of NCIS to the Navy Marine Corps Intranet (NMCI); management of NCIS's application portfolio; and IT strategy and planning.

Suzette Kent, is an industry leader of large-scale business transformation using technology, for the world’s most complex organizations. She most recently served as a principal at EY and has been a partner at Accenture, consulting president at Carreker Corporation and a Managing Director at JPMorgan.

Although technology change has been at the core of her professional career, retooling the workforce and creating new opportunities for people has been an essential element of efforts that she has led. She has served as an enterprise leader for organizational learning, diversity and inclusiveness, and career development at every organization in which she has worked.

Suzette is a frequent speaker in global industry forums, publisher of thought leadership pieces and holds patents in banking processes.


Karen Kornbluh, is senior fellow for digital policy at the Council on Foreign Relations. Previously, Kornbluh was executive vice president of Nielsen, responsible for global public policy, privacy strategy, and corporate social responsibility.

Stuart Reid, is a Managing Editor at Foreign Affairs. He has written for such publications as The Atlantic, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Bloomberg Businessweek, Politico Magazine, and Slate. He holds a bachelor’s degree in government from Dartmouth College. Follow him on Twitter @stuartareid.

Ken Rogers, 

Ken Rogers is an entrepreneurial, results-driven professional with over 30 years of experience working with multinationals, US & foreign government agencies, non-profit organizations, and small business start-ups.  Ken currently serves as the Deputy Chief Information Officer (acting) for Business Management and Planning at the US Department of State supporting a $2.4B global IT portfolio servicing an 85K person workforce operating in over 300 locations around the world.  In this position, Ken provides executive leadership for IT strategy, portfolio management, enterprise architecture, digital diplomacy, policy and performance and IT workforce planning.  Before this position, Ken served as the State Department Chair at the Department of Defense, National Defense University, College of Information & Cyberspace.  

Ken's public sector career includes serving as the Chief Strategist at the U.S. Department of State overseeing IT strategy, architecture, portfolio management and budget. Before that Ken served as the Chief Information Officer at the Department of Homeland Security's, Science & Technology Directorate.  Ken also held leadership positions at the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis as the Chief Enterprise Architect, and as the eCommerce Strategist at the U.S. Export-Import Bank. 

Ken's private sector experience includes financial management, government relations, and information systems management in the banking, aerospace, and commercial electronics industries.  Ken also served as an international consultant where he provided international trade, development, and e-business assistance to government agencies and organizations in the US and throughout the developing world where he gained a firsthand understanding of the challenges confronting small and medium-size firms working in these regions. 

Howard Spira, was named the Chief Information Officer of the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM) in December 2014. He was promoted to Senior Vice President at the bank in 2016. Howard came to EXIM from the United States Treasury where he led the technology team for the Office of Financial Stability – the team that ran the rescue program in response to the financial crisis of 2008.

Prior to his federal service, Howard was a senior IT executive in the financial services industry with an extensive background in international and domestic commercial finance. His past employers include Goldman Sachs, General Electric, Smith Barney and Andersen Consulting. He brings to EXIM a wealth of industry technology experience.

Howard’s responsibilities at EXIM include overseeing the complete information technology portfolio that support’s the Bank's $80 billion portfolio including infrastructure, networks and telecoms, application development, program management, information security, data quality and records management. In addition, his area serves as the agency's representative for Open Data, Privacy and Records.

Mr. Spira holds a BS from Cornell University’s school of Agriculture and Life Sciences and an MBA from Cornell’s Johnson School of Business. Howard and his family live in Bethesda, Maryland.

Tom Suder, a respected thought leader in the Federal IT community, is the Founder and President of the Advanced Technology Academic Research Center (ATARC), a non-profit organization that provides a collaborative forum for Federal government, academia and industry to resolve emerging technology challenges.

Tom is a two-time winner of a Federal 100 Award, a prestigious honor that recognizes government and industry leaders who played pivotal roles in Federal IT and made a made a difference in the way technology transformed the government. He is the co-author of 26 White Papers that were jointly published by the MITRE Corporation and ATARC following collaboration sessions during the ATARC Federal IT Summit Series. Topics of these educational symposiums include Mobile Technology, Cloud & Data Center, Data & Analytics, DevOps, Cybersecurity, Health IT, Network Transformation and the Internet of Things. Tom is also the President of Apcerto, a mobile DevSecOps company, and he serves on a variety of technology advisory boards, including the Professional Science Master’s Advisory Board, which is a part of the Telecommunications Management graduate program at the University of Maryland University College (UMUC).

Rod Turk, joined the Department of Commerce's Office of the Chief Information Officer in November 2015. Prior to being named Acting CIO, he was the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) and Deputy Chief Information Officer. In this role, he managed and had oversight over the

Department of Commerce's compliance with the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) and implementation of IT security best practices. He and his team manage Department-wide cybersecurity initiatives, programs, and monitoring at DOC, including Enterprise Security Operations Center (ESOC), risk assessment of the information technology owned or operated on behalf of DOC.

Prior to joining Commerce, he was the Associate Chief Information Officer for Cybersecurity at the Department of Energy. He provides executive leadership and guidance for joint agency and Administration cybersecurity initiatives including for the Comprehensive National Cybersecurity and Initiative, safeguarding of the Defense Industrial Base and critical infrastructure protection, and assistance to the Mission Executive Council in establishing cybersecurity Research and Development (R&D) priorities to improve the national cybersecurity posture.

Mr. Turk has extensive experience advising the Secretary, Deputy Secretary, CIO, and senior officials on IT, cybersecurity and risk management, as well as providing administration and executive leadership for joint agency cybersecurity initiatives such as the Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative.

Mr. Turk began his career in the US Navy. After 26 years, Turk joined Senior Executive Service with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and as CISO at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

Turk holds an MBA from Temple University and a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Wisconsin. He is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and a Certified Information Security Manager (CISM).


Watch Webcast


The Advanced Technology Academic Research Center is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides a collaborative forum for the Federal government, academia and industry to resolve emerging technology challenges. Founded in 2013 by industry thought leader Tom Suder, ATARC organizes educational events for Federal IT practitioners on topics such as Big Data, Cloud & Data Centers, Cybersecurity, DevOps, Mobile and Internet of Things. ATARC also introduces innovative technology from research labs to the government and private industry, and provides the government with recommendations for using cutting-edge technology to increase efficiency and reduce cost.

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