The Army has nominated Lt. Gen. Susan Lawrence, a 30-plus-year veteran of the military and longtime IT leader, as its new CIO.
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates unveiled that President Obama made the nomination Thursday, at the same time he promoted Lawrence to lieutenant general.
If confirmed, Lawrence will replace 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.
Lawrence is currently on assignment as a special assistant to Gen. Peter Chiarelli, the Army's vice chief of staff. Prior to that, she spent about 2-1/2 years as commanding general of the U.S. Army Network Enterprise Technology Command in Fort Huachuca, Ariz.
Lawrence's nomination needs approval by the U.S. Senate before she can take the post.
The potential new CIO has some big shoes to fill, particularly when it comes to the administration's open-government ambitions. Her predecessor, Sorenson, was known as a progressive IT administrator and a leader among federal agencies in promoting innovation.
Among Sorenson's achievements while CIO is Apps for the Army, a competition launched in September 2009 encouraging soldiers and others in the .mil domain to build new software to support the Army's mission He also promoted the project to the rest of the Department of Defense, taking the initiative to meet with other department CIOs about it.
Last October, a series of innovative applications came out of the Apps for the Army program, including ones to monitor psychological health, aid disaster-relief efforts, and develop a personal-training program.
There are signs that Lawrence, herself already a public figure in her own right, is able to rise to the challenge. She's been profiled in the press not just because of her work but because she is a breast cancer survivor, having 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.
Following that position and her remission from the disease, Lawrence served as director of command, control, communications, and computer systems for the U.S. Central Command before taking her post in Arizona.