NASA CIO Ronald West announces retirement plans

Ronald West chief information officer at NASA last week announced plans to retire within the next few months.

West who was named CIO in March 1996 said he will retire to his native Texas when he leaves the government. His replacement has not yet been appointed he said.

Before accepting the CIO position West worked in various information technology-related roles at NASA. He joined the agency in 1980 as a senior systems engineer for database software development for the space shuttle.

Immediately before accepting the CIO position West performed dual assignments in support of the CIO and as manager of the Headquarters Consolidated Information Resources and Management Support contract. For the CIO he managed the development of common standards for the establishment of a NASA-wide IT architecture.

Joe Bredekamp NASA senior science program executive for information systems in the Office of Space Science said that West worked hard to move the CIO position to higher visibility and helped garner it "a place at the table" as part of the agency's overall operations.

West also was responsible for moving several IT projects forward despite internal resistance according to Bredekamp including the five-year Outsourcing Desktop Initiative for NASA (ODIN) worth an estimated $750 million to $1 billion.

Mark Walther CIO at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center said that West took "personal ownership" of the Year 2000 issue despite the tendency of some to distance themselves from the political hot potato.

Since the agency has begun developing its Year 2000 strategy Walther said West has required each NASA center to file its quarterly Year 2000 progress report with him so he could coordinate the overall agency

strategy before forwarding the reports to the Office of Management and Budget.Alan Balutis deputy CIO at the Commerce Department described West as one of the "founding fathers" of the Chief Information Officers Council.

Before his employment with NASA West worked for Lockheed Electronics and TRW Systems Inc. as project manager for information management system development for the Space Shuttle program and other space missions.

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