Mike Gaffney takes centerfield for CSC

New fed business unit chief wants more branding of services

It’s second nature for Michael Gaffney, who was born and raised in the Bronx, to use the New York Yankees as a metaphor for the responsibilities of his new position at Computer Sciences Corp. and for his determination to succeed.

Mike Gaffney Gaffney recently became CSC’s president of business development for the federal sector unit, an office Milt Cooper and Austin Yerks previously occupied. Reflecting on the high regard of his predecessors, Gaffney said, “It’s like coming in behind [Joe] DiMaggio in centerfield. You say, ‘God, don’t let me drop any pop-ups.’”

Gaffney joined CSC in 1991 as “just a business development individual working my way through Navy programs,” he said. By the end of the decade, he had moved into a vice president’s position in charge of defense business development, which accounts for about 40 percent of CSC’s federal sector and is worth about $5 billion, he said.

Gaffney is particularly proud of his work on the Army’s Flight School XXI training program, a 12-year deal signed in September 2003 that is potentially worth more than $1.1 billion. The program called for CSC to build and maintain a state-of-the-art simulated instruction facility for Army helicopter pilots at Fort Rucker, Ala.

Gaffney said Flight School XXI and other defense programs have taught him how to take advantage of results.

At the same time, his years in federal sales have convinced him that today’s market is becoming evermore competitive. “The fact that you’ve got relationships and clients today doesn’t mean that they’re not going to find a better, more attractive deal elsewhere,” he said.

To continue to win new business, “you have to say, ‘How am I going to help the client go to a new level?’”

Kevin Carroll, the Army’s program executive officer for enterprise information systems, has worked with Gaffney for more than 10 years. He said Gaffney has always been a team player and a consensus builder even when serious problems or delays arise in implementing a contract.

“We can communicate with him,” Carroll said. “We can say what we, the Army, think he’s doing right or wrong. And he can say the same thing back to us. There are no hidden agendas.”

In this era of tight budgets, Gaffney said he wants to broaden CSC’s identity.

“Because of how long we’ve been in the [defense] market, people know who we are,” he said. “But, for example, would we be considered one of the first guys you go to for modeling and simulation training? I’m not sure. Would they know that we’re one of the largest health care folks in the market? I don’t think so.”

The Mike Gaffney file:Current position: President of business development in Computer Sciences Corp.’s federal sector unit.

Career highlights: Gaffney started in sales at Burroughs in 1978. He transferred to the company’s federal office in Washington, D.C., in 1982, staying on when Burroughs bought Sperry in September 1986 and created Unisys. He joined CSC in 1991. He serves on the board of directors of AFCEA International and is a member of the National Defense Industrial Association, the Association of the U.S. Army and the Navy League of the United States. Education: He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Fordham University and attended the Advanced Management Program at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business.

Family: He is the only son in a family of six children. He is married and has four children.

Hobbies: Tennis and reading history.

Last book read: “The World Is Flat,” by Thomas Friedman.

Hero: Abraham Lincoln, “because he held this country together almost through force of will.”

Business tip: “Past performance and qualifications are where you do the work. Clients really put a premium on past performance.”

About the Author

David Hubler is the former print managing editor for GCN and senior editor for Washington Technology. He is freelance writer living in Annandale, Va.

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