The Army has appointed Lt. Gen. Susan Lawrence as its new CIO in charge of the service's $10 billion annual IT budget.
A 30-plus year veteran of the Army and a longtime IT leader, Lawrence -- who was nominated by President Obama for the position in January -- replaces high-profile former CIO Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Sorenson, who retired in November. Deputy CIO Mike Krieger has filled the post in an interim role since his departure.
As the CIO, Lawrence reports directly to the Secretary of the Army to set the strategic direction and objectives for the military arm's IT operations, supervising all of the Army's command, control, communications, and computers, or what is known as Army C4.
In her job, Lawrence supports the chief of staff of the Army and Army staff in their information management, network operations, and force structure duties. She also manages the equipping and employment of signal forces.
Lawrence's predecessor was a progressive thinker when it came to IT and a proponent of the Obama administration's open government strategy. As a result, she inherits a number of big-ticket, innovation-driven IT projects currently in progress at the Army.
The service currently is in the process of migrating its email to a cloud hosted by the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), a move that will consolidate a host of disparate email systems. Its also working to deploy a private cloud of its own as the linchpin of a broader data center consolidation initiative that aims to reduce the number of Army data centers from 200 to less than 20.
The military service also is progressive in the use of technology on the battlefield. The agency is in the midst of handing out smartphones like iPhones and Android-based devices to soldiers to give them applications that are helpful to their mission in the field, as well as studies in the classroom.
The Army also is prepping an integrated battlefield network that will combine voice, data, and video, and is conducting tests at two U.S. bases to evaluate technology it will deploy in the project.
Prior to her appointment as CIO, Lawrence was on assignment as a special assistant to Gen. Peter Chiarelli, the Army's vice chief of staff. Before that, she spent about 2-1/2 years as commanding general of the U.S. Army Network Enterprise Technology Command in Fort Huachuca, Ariz.
Aside from her work with the military, Lawrence has been profiled in the press because she also is a breast cancer survivor. She fought the disease through surgery and an aggressive series of treatments while she was vice director of command, control, communications, and computer systems for the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon in 2004.