DorobekINSIDER: It’s officially official: Takai named DOD CIO

Tuesday - 10/26/2010, 10:08am EDT

In a town that has become accustom to long and tangled appointments, this one may go down in the books, but it is officially official this morning: Defense Secretary Robert Gates named Teri Takai to be the Defense Department’s chief information officer, ostensibly replacing John Grimes, who retired in April 2009. Takai will start her new job on Nov. 7.
 

Takai is widely respected in the state CIO community having served most recently as the CIO for the state of California, where she carried out an enormous consolidation of the state’s data centers. Before that, Takai was the Michigan CIO.

Teri Takai

She was first rumored for the DOD CIO post back in February and then officially nominated in March, but that nomination was waylayed — and eventually withdrawn — as Defense officials reinvented the position.

And, in fact, there are changes to the post. Previously the DOD CIO also served as the Assistant Secretary of Networks and Information Integration. That part of the position is gone and Takai will just serve as the DOD CIO.

Takai is already building a strong team. Rob Carey, the former Navy CIO who is widely respected in the federal IT community, will serve as the deputy CIO. He replaces Dave Wennergren, who will leave his position of four years as the Defense Department’s deputy CIO to be the new assistant deputy chief management officer for the Office of the Deputy Secretary of Defense. Carey started in his new post yesterday.

The DorobekINSIDER also heard that Cheryl Roby will serve as Takai’s chief of staff.

While many are heartened that there is a named DOD CIO, there are still questions about the CIOs role within DOD.

Here is Takai’s note to the California CIO staff:

From: Takai, Teri@CIO
Sent: Monday, October 25, 2010 1:03 PM
To: CIO All
Subject: Thank You

Dear Friends and Colleagues, I have accepted a position in the Obama Administration as the Chief Information Officer for the U.S. Department of Defense, and my last day of service in California will be November 5, 2010.  Chief Deputy Director Christy Quinlan will be Acting Chief Information Officer during the transition. It has been a tremendous honor to serve as Governor Schwarzenegger’s chief technology advisor and State Chief Information Officer, especially during a critical time of change for California’s IT program.

When I arrived in Sacramento nearly three years ago, the Office of the State Chief Information Officer (OCIO) had just been created in statute.  We set out to implement the Governor’s agenda to transform and modernize California’s aging technology infrastructure.  Starting next year, the California Technology Agency will move forward as envisioned by the Legislature and Governor as technology continues to play a vital role in delivering services to our constituents. Although there is still a lot to be done, so much has been accomplished thanks to the hard work, vision and support of Governor Schwarzenegger, Susan Kennedy, cabinet members, legislative leaders and IT professionals throughout the state.

I especially want to thank the agency and department CIOs for their leadership and many contributions to our community.  On behalf of the OCIO, we appreciate the support, interaction and time spent to dive with us into the details of policies and projects. Most of all, I want to thank the OCIO Team, including the Program Management Office, IT Policy Office, Office of Information Security, Public Safety Communications Division, Office of Technology Services, Enterprise Solutions and Services Unit and Executive Office for working so hard to serve the people of this state.  Whether working nights and weekends to move a data center with no interruption of service, building high-profile websitesor designing the next generation of emergency radio systems, the talent and dedication of our Team is unparalleled.  With the budget crisis, organizational changes and so many challenges to overcome, you have done such an incredible job, and with a great attitude and true spirit of public service.

I will miss working with you all – keep up the terrific work! I will cherish my time spent here in California and look forward to serving the public in my new position.

Teri Takai
State Chief Information Officer