Takai nomination for DOD CIO withdrawn

Long-vacant position in flux amid changes in defense personnel structure

California CIO Teresa Takai is no longer the nominee to be the Defense Department's CIO. The White House withdrew the nomination on Sept. 29, according to Senate records.

However, it remains unclear whether Takai could be re-nominated to the DOD CIO post if it moves to the Defense Information Systems Agency under a reorganization effort that Secretary Robert Gates has initiated.


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The news came as DOD officials traveled to Capitol Hill for hearings to investigate Gates’ proposals for trimming DOD's budget by $100 billion over the next five years.

Among Gates’ proposed budgetary measures is closing the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Networks and Information Integration (NII), which has housed the CIO job required by the Clinger-Cohen Act of 1996. That is the position to which Obama had nominated Takai.

Gates has previously said he plans to shift the role, and other responsibilities, to the Defense Information Systems Agency. In turn, DISA would take on the command and control duties of NII and the ill-fated Joint Forces Command and Joint Staff, said Christine Fox, director of cost assessment and program evaluation at DOD.

According to Gates, the CIO role would be strengthened, and “under its umbrella, responsibility for daily operations will be assigned to DISA. A refashioned DISA will perform the department’s CIO function.”

In testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Marine Gen. James Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the changes to NII and the CIO role are designed to reduce the bureaucracy clogging management of DOD's computer networks and operations.

“Multiple organizations on multiple staffs at multiple layers of our hierarchy exist to oversee IT," Cartwright said. "The result is a complex web of authorities and responsibilities that is unclear and difficult to navigate. Combatant commanders simply do not understand what organization they need to visit to get their work executed.”

About the Author

Amber Corrin is a staff writer covering military networks for Defense Systems.

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