Top DISA information strategist John Garing retires

Garing was a leading force in innovation for the military

John J. Garing, a leading force for advancing information systems at the Defense Information Systems Agency, announced April 30 during an internal staff meeting that he was retiring from the agency and his position as DISA’s director for strategic planning and information.

Details on the announcement were not available and a spokesperson for DISA said no decisions had been made on who would replace him. Garing had planned to attend the DISA’s annual Customer Conference this week and then go on leave, according to a DISA spokesperson. But the four-day conference in Nashville, Tenn., was unexpected cancelled after record rainfalls and flooding forced DISA and show organizers to cancel the event.


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In his most recent assignment, Garing was responsible for advising DISA Director Lt. Gen. Carroll Pollett on strategy development and communicating DISA’s strategies internally and externally within the Defense Department. He was responsible for planning, engineering, acquiring, fielding, operating, and supporting the DOD enterprise infrastructure, command and control services, and information sharing services. He was also responsble for the funding tied to the services the agency provides. 

Garing previously served as DISA’s chief information officer and before that, as director of the Computing Systems Directorate, where he was responsible for information processing and information technology services provided by DISA's Defense Enterprise Computing Centers (DECC), which provide combat-support processing services globally.

He also had been responsible for developing and managing the business aspects of the information processing and information technology services provided by the DECCs and DECC detachments.

“John is a high energy strategic thinker,” commented former DISA director, Lt. Gen. Charles Croom, now vice president of Cyber Security Solutions at Lockheed Martin Information Systems & Global Services. “He always pushed the DISA senior leadership to think about the customer, the processes and the technology in different ways." Croom noted that Garing was instrumental in connecting DISA to the innovators working in the west coast technology firms.

Croom recalled “John’s exuberance for mission accomplishment and the pure joy he derived from serving the warfighter was catchy to all of us who worked around him.”

Garing began his career in the U.S. Air Force in 1965. He commanded two communications squadrons, served for four years with the White House Communications Agency, served in the International Military Staff of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and served as both a division chief and director at Headquarters Air Force, before retiring as a colonel from the Air Force in 1989.

About the Author

Wyatt Kash served as chief editor of GCN (October 2004 to August 2010) and also of Defense Systems (January 2009 to August 2010). He currently serves as Content Director and Editor at Large of 1105 Media.

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