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Steve Cooper, the former chief information officer at the Homeland Security Department, today begins his latest government assignment as the CIO of the Commerce Department.

Cooper confirmed his appointment in a June 12 email to FedScoop. He replaces Simon Szykman, who announced his departure in February.

Cooper is among the most experienced CIOs in government. As the first CIO of DHS, he led the development of the agency’s IT strategy, guided the implementation of the unclassified and classified networks of the new department, oversaw the creation of the DHS enterprise architecture and provided the vision for the use of IT across the department.

He’s also served in CIO roles at the Federal Aviation Administration, American Red Cross and Corning Inc.

After spending the last year working as a private consultant, a guest lecturer at the National Defense University’s iCollege and a partner with the Strativest Group, Cooper said it was the forward-thinking senior leadership at Commerce that convinced him to return to government.

“[I am] impressed with Secretary [Penny] Pritzker – she is dynamic and talented and a huge supporter of IT as a strategic business partner,” Cooper said in his email. “The members of her executive team whom I’ve met thus far are fantastic – they are forward thinking, want to enable positive transformation to achieve the department’s strategic plan, and are really nice people!”

“I’m very excited about this opportunity, and am very grateful to have been selected to serve,” he said.