Teri Takai appointed DOD's CIO

Long-vacant position set to finally be filled

Former California CIO Teri Takai has been appointed by Defense Secretary Robert Gates as the Defense Department's CIO, DOD announced this morning. The action comes after Takai was nominated to that post and the nomination was withdrawn.

According to the announcement, Takai will also temporarily serve as the acting Assistant Secretary of Defense Networks and Information Integration as the office faces transition under Gates' plans to restructure some DOD organizations -- including closing that assistant secretary's office, which currently houses the DOD CIO postion.

President Barack Obama nominated Takai to be the DOD CIO earlier this year. Senate confirmation hearings were expected to begin Aug. 3, but were then pulled pending further review of Gates' plans. The White House withdrew Takai's nomination on Sept. 29. According to the DOD announcement, she is now poised to begin work as CIO on Nov. 7.

Because the position no longer includes the permanent assistant secretary title, Senate confirmation is not required, said Dave Wennergren, who was recently named assistant deputy chief management officer, Office of the Deputy Secretary of Defense.


Related stories:

Takai nomination for DOD CIO withdrawn

Takai may yet become DOD CIO


In an exclusive interview recently, Wennergren, the former deputy DOD CIO, confirmed the department's hope that Takai would become CIO, despite the procedural changes that led to the withdrawal of her initial nomiination.

“There’s a lot of public discussion that’s causing some consternation…but the guidance is clear: There will still be a DOD CIO and it will be a strengthened CIO,” Wennergren said Oct. 7. "It’s still our hope that Teri Takai will come be our DOD CIO."

"Takai brings her wealth of experience to this critical task and will help lead the effort to disestablish NII and define the successor CIO organization," DOD said today.

The DOD CIO position has been vacant since the George W. Bush administration.


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Amber Corrin is a former staff writer for FCW and Defense Systems.

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Reader comments

Thu, Apr 28, 2011 concerned

Ms. Takai recetly met with an orgnization I work with. Feedback was that she did not listen to people, constantly talked, and did not conduct any fundamental research prior to her engagement. Concerns were that another political apointee will now take down critical national capabilities - Auto Industry and Lib California CIO experience do not prepare one to understand DoD missions.

Fri, Nov 19, 2010 Aparna Agrawal State of Michigan

From my Michigan connection working in Ms. Takai's IT organization where she brought transformational changes, I am confident that the same will happen in her new role. Michigan had just gotten the mandate to consolidate 19 agencies IT departments in one consolidated Department of Information Technology. It presented challenges that required a very tough leadership stance and Teri met with the challenges head on. Michigan is touted as leader in IT with many national awards for consolidation and innovation and a lot is attributed to Teri's efforts.

Mon, Nov 1, 2010 John Weiler Alex VA

Teri will bring a breath of fresh air needed to breath life back into the DoD CIO job, and innovation into the IT Acquisition process. Teri has a long string of accomplishments, and will not be your typical trade association lackie. She will seek to hold DoD IT suppliers accountable and with the right support, will take on the root causes of IT failure that cost DoD $20B per year. She has already proven her ability to cope with adversity by not walking away from this appointment when her name was withdrawn the first round. Welcome to Washington Honorable Tekai. Honorable Mike Wynne and the IT Acquisition Advisory Council stand at your ready.

Thu, Oct 28, 2010 Ken Powell

Takai’s appointment to DoD CIO is a huge step forward for the defense department.

Facing a $100 billion cost-cutting plan under Secretary Gates, and the increased scrutiny of OMB in the handling of major modernization projects, the DoD’s need for a dedicated CIO has been more urgent than ever.

As Takai moves to the Pentagon, her first priority should be to rein in inefficient IT spending. Across the DoD, agencies are spending as much as 80 percent more than is necessary to operate and maintain mission-critical legacy applications. These legacy applications, typically hosted on the mainframe, have been around for decades, and are the ones that run the daily business of DoD operations.

While still extremely valuable, as these legacy applications have aged, they have become increasingly expensive to maintain and operate. In maintenance costs alone, Gartner estimates that large public sector agencies, on average, have a $200-million+ backlog of application maintenance that needs to be performed.

There is a huge opportunity to cut IT spending across the DoD by migrating these key legacy applications onto lower-cost platforms (from the mainframe onto platforms like Linux, Windows, UNIX, or the cloud). Through the use of low-cost and low-risk strategies (which leave existing code and business intelligence untouched) application modernization and migration is the low-hanging fruit that defense leaders, including Takai, will need to be talking about if they wish to quickly streamline and improve the cost efficiency of defense IT operations.

Ken Powell, President of Micro Focus North America

Wed, Oct 27, 2010 huh?

"There is a huge opportunity to cut IT spending across the DoD by migrating these key legacy applications onto lower-cost platforms (from the mainframe onto non-proprietary platforms like Linux, Windows, UNIX, or the cloud). " correction: Windows is proprietary and closed software

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