Air Force chooses Hobbins for top CIO job

The man who said he hoped to lead the Air Force's new information technology organization got his wish. Lt. Gen. William Hobbins will direct the newly created Office of the Secretary of the Air Force, Chief Warfighting Integration and Chief Information Officer, said Maj. Barb Carson, a spokeswoman for the Air Force, in a May 5 statement.

The new organization centralizes all the service's business and warfighting IT policy formulation, execution, resources and workforce governance into a single organization.

Hobbins is currently the Air Force's deputy chief of staff for warfighting integration, the service's top warfighting IT official. He oversaw the Air Force's policy and strategy for integrating its command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems and will continue to do so in his new position.

He also developed the Air Force's flight plan to improve how its ground, air and space systems work together and coordinated that plan with officials in other military services and Defense Department agencies, said Jack Woodward, a retired Air Force lieutenant general who last served as director of communications and information systems and deputy CIO. Woodward is now executive vice president of Accenture's National Security Systems business unit.

"Hobbins is a very logical choice to be the senior leader for this new IT organizational structure in the Air Force," Woodward said. "He is very personable, has a strong personality, is believable and delivers."

Hobbins' appointment as CIO was widely expected. Soon after the Air Force announced plans last December to create a new IT headquarters, officials said a three-star general would oversee it, and Hobbins said he would like the job. The reorganization consolidates the offices of Communications Operations, Chief Information Officer and Deputy Chief of Staff for Warfighting Integration.

Hobbins entered the Air Force in 1969 after completing Officer Candidate School. He became deputy chief of staff for warfighting integration in 2003.

He is a pilot who has logged more than 4,275 flight hours, including flying the A-10 Warthog attack aircraft and tank killer and the F-15 Eagle jet fighter. He also served in Vietnam. He has commanded five Air Force organizations, most recently the 12th Air Force and U.S. Southern Command Air Forces, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., from 2002 to 2003.

Meanwhile, Air Force officials formally announced last week that CIO John Gilligan will leave the service May 10. They said Gilligan has not finalized his post-Air Force plans, but he previously said he would most likely take a job in the private sector after the new Air Force office was established.

Gilligan became the Air Force's fourth CIO in 2001, after holding the positions of principal deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force for business and information management and deputy CIO. As CIO, he was the main adviser to service leaders on business processes, information management and IT standards.

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