Virginia CIO Nelson Moe reappointed by Gov. Northam

The technology leader will help usher the commonwealth into a new IT services model as it escapes a contract with Northrop Grumman.

Virginia Chief Information Officer Nelson Moe will keep his job under new Gov. Ralph Northam.

It was initially uncertain if Moe, who was appointed by former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, would be retained permanently across administrations as Northam filled out his roster of government executives. 

Under McAuliffe, Virginia’s IT leadership was divided between a cabinet-level IT secretary — formerly Karen Jackson — and a CIO that serves under the secretary. Jackson was not retained through the transition, and Northam has since dissolved her role, leaving Moe to report to the Secretary of Administration.

Moe’s main task is clear. He will continue to help the state disentangle itself from a 13-year single-service-provider contract with vendor Northrop Grumman. Virginia switched to a multi-vendor IT sourcing model in anticipation of the Northrop contract’s end date of June 30, 2019. The decision, which has been supported by reports issued by the state’s Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission as in the best financial interest of the state, has resulted in a contentious and sometimes dramatic relationship between Virginia and its contractor.


The state’s new multi-sourcing service integrator, Science Applications International Corp., is expected to help Virginia prevent from taking on as much as $14 million in total financial liabilities. The vendor is assisting the state as it upgrades and replaces old systems and migrates more services to the cloud.

Before joining the Virginia Information Technologies Agency (VITA), Moe, who is a former nuclear submarine officer in the U.S. Navy., served as CIO for the U.S. House of Representatives.

Northam, elected in November 2017, replaced the cabinet-level IT secretary position with two new deputy technology roles whose appointees have not yet been announced.

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