Tara O’Toole to Step Down as DHS Undersecretary for Science and Tech

DHS - ExecutiveMosaicTara O’Toole will step down on Sept. 23 as undersecretary for science and technology at the Department of Homeland Security after nearly five years on the job, Federal News Radio reported Wednesday.

Jason Miller writes O’Toole led programs for biodefense, cybersecurity, first response and homemade explosives detection.

She implemented a portfolio review aimed to examine the effectiveness of the directorate’s research and development projects, according to a Congressional Research Service report, the radio station says.

Federal News Radio reports O’Toole also helped develop a foot-and-mouth vaccine and build technology that is meant to secure agency websites.

Prior to her confirmation in November 2009, she worked in health and safety areas related to the U.S. nuclear weapons complex.

O’Toole served as founding editor of Biosecurity and Bioterrorism: Biodefense Strategy, Practice and Science and principal author and producer of the Dark Winter bioterrorism drill held in June 2001.

Dan Gerstein, DHS deputy undersecretary for science and technology, will succeed O’Toole on an interim basis, Miller writes.

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