GEIA wants DOD CIO confirmed

The head of an industry trade group urged Aug. 5 that Congress and the Pentagon “find middle ground” over the pension issue that has stalled the nomination of Raytheon executive John Grimes for Defense Department chief information officer on Capitol Hill last week.

“He is exactly the guy at the stage in his life we want to attract,” said Dan Heinemeier, president of the Government Electronics and Information Technology Association.

Grimes has almost 50 years of IT experience in the White House, the military, the intelligence community and industry. He would make an excellent DOD CIO, he said.

Heinemeier said he understands that some senators’ concerns of a conflict of interest regarding Grimes wanting to draw from a Raytheon pension as DOD CIO. However, he said lawmakers need to trust people wanting to serve their country because they are coming in with the best intentions.

“If we lose John Grimes, it is a travesty to this country,” Heinemeier said. “Government would be ill-served.”

Grimes’ nomination did not get voted out of the Senate Armed Services Committee July 28 after he testified before the committee. And the Senate did not vote on him to become the next DOD CIO July 29, said a DOD CIO office official Aug. 3, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

DOD officials in similar situations as Grimes have bought an expensive insurance policy from a U.S. company, but that company has gone out of business. The only insurance policies available are much more expensive, and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld believes the department or the individual should not have to pay that high price to serve his country, the official said.

Heinemeier said there are “three strikes” currently against political appointees serving their country. He said they are asked to take pay cuts, forego pensions and pay insurance.

The salary of the assistant secretary of defense for networks and information integration and CIO is $140,300. The salaries of DOD political appointees range from $131,400 to $180,100, said the official in the DOD CIO office.

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