DOD's Wennergren named 'chief change maker'

American University has bestowed its Roger W. Jones Award for Executive Leadership to DOD's Dave Wennergren and the Census Bureau's Thomas Mesenbourg Jr.

Dave Wennergren

DOD CIO Dave Wennergren, honored as 'chief change-maker' by American University.

Dave Wennergren, assistant deputy chief management officer at the Defense Department, received recognition Oct. 22 for his ability to be the “chief change-maker” inside the federal government.

The American University’s School of Public Affairs presented the Roger W. Jones Award for Executive Leadership to Wennergren and to Thomas Mesenbourg, Jr., acting director of the U.S. Census Bureau.

The two men have led to the improved quality of government services to Americans, and in addition, influenced the careers of the next generation of federal employees, said Barbara Romzek, dean of the university’s School of Public Affairs.

“They epitomize dedication to public service, and we challenge our students to strive to emulate these two outstanding individuals as they embark on their future careers,” she said.

For more than three decades, Wennergren has worked to bridge organizational boundaries and rally all sides to reach shared goals. In 2007, he brought together several agencies, aligning their computer security controls under the Homeland Security Presidential Directive 12. The point is to enhance network security, minimize costs and enable vendors to develop products that are shared across agencies. Wennergren received a Federal 100 award for his HSPD-12 work, as well as the prestigious Eagle Award that year too.

More recently, he persuaded DOD and the Veterans Affairs Department to adopt a common health record system. Inside DOD, he led the way in setting up Common Access Cards to secure both computer networks and military bases around the globe from intrusion. And the Enterprise Software Initiative, which Wennergren championed, saved more than $4 billion for DOD by consolidating licensing agreements. The General Services Administration has adopted the model.

Mesenbourg, who became deputy director of the Census Bureau in 2008, received the award with Wennergren. As acting director, he faced unforeseen budgetary and technological hurdles. His leadership and innovation led to the bureau partnering with thousands of groups and hiring more than 600,000 enumerators to contact the millions of Americans who did not complete and return their Census forms.

The award is named for Roger W. Jones, a leader in government for more than four decades. Jones served as chairman of the Civil Service Commission, deputy undersecretary of State for administration, and senior consultant and special assistant to the director of the Bureau of the Budget.

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