Wennergren to retire

DOD's assistant deputy CMO, a three-time Fed 100 winner, wraps up a 32-year federal career.

Dave Wennergren

David Wennergren, DOD's assistant deputy CMO and a three-time Fed 100 winner, wraps up a 32-year federal career.

The Defense Department's assistant deputy chief management officer is retiring from government service. David Wennergren, whose 32-year federal career has centered on change management and IT for DOD and the Department of the Navy, told FCW that his final day on the job will be Aug. 2.

"I remember when I went to work for the Department of the Navy in 1980, and they told me, 'In 2012, when you turn 55.... you'd be eligible for retirement,' Wennergren said. "And that just seemed like forever. And the next thing you know, the decades have flown by."

"For me it was fairly simple," he explained. "It's been a great ride, I've had jobs that I'd never even dreamed I would've had, and have had some amazing adventures. But, you know, I've sorta climbed the mountains that there were for me to climb here, and I became eligible for retirement. So then it was just a question of timing."

Wennergren is a three-time Federal 100 winner, was honored with FCW's Eagle award in 2006, and has since served as a Fed 100 judge on several occasions. He has won a raft of honors from other organizations in the federal IT community, and has earned repeated commendation from DOD for distinguished and meritorious service. He was also the longest-serving vice-chairman of the Federal CIO council.

Wennergren declined to discuss his next career steps until he officially leaves government service. "I'm going to take some time off, and then plan the next adventure," he said. "I'm trying desperately to get through and close out my federal career before we do the next steps."

That time off leaves a significant gap to fill at DOD, but Wennergren said he was confident in his colleagues' ability to step up.

"I've taken pride over the years of having thought a lot about succession planning and stuff," he said. "At the Department of the Navy, we had a fabulous succession plan in place -- we grew people inside that organization. Dan Porter was the CIO -- he left, I fleeted up to become the CIO. When I left, Rob Carey fleeted up to take my place; I think that kind of stuff is important."

"We've got a good crew here," Wennergren said of the office of the deputy chief management officer, "and there's a growing base of business transformation-savvy people across the Department of Defense. But that will fall to my boss, [Deputy CMO] Beth McGrath, decide what she wants to do now that I'm gone."

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