Hamre announces departure from Pentagon

John Hamre, who put the clout of his office behind information technology policies, issues and causes during his term as deputy secretary of Defense, will leave the Pentagon March 31 to become president and chief executive officer of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington, D.C., think tank.

Secretary of Defense William Cohen said he recommended the presidential appointee Rudy De Leon, under secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, as Hamre's replacement.

Hamre supported IT issues and policies — ranging from cybersecurity to electronic commerce to the Year 2000 bug — with high-level visibility during the two years he served in the Pentagon's No. 2 post, which followed a four-year stint as comptroller starting in 1993. Prior to joining the Defense Department, Hamre spent 10 years on Capitol Hill as a staff aide. De Leon served as a Congressional aide on the staff of Les Aspin, the first secretary of Defense in the Clinton administration.

Olga Grkavac, senior vice president with the Information Technology Association of America's Enterprise Solutions Division, said Hamre "served as a champion" of IT issues and policies to an extent not seen with previous deputy secretaries, adding "he gave IT real visibility." Whether De Leon will have the same interest "is a good question," Grkavac said, "right now I just don't know."

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