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3/30/2010
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Obama Nominates Defense IT Chief

Teri Takai has been CIO of Michigan and California, winning numerous plaudits along the way.

Ending months of speculation, President Obama Monday evening formally nominated California chief information officer Teri Takai as the new CIO and assistant secretary for networks and information integration at the Department of Defense.

Takai has been California's CIO since 2007, overseeing a sometimes troubled IT budget. While in California, Takai integrated multiple IT departments under her control, and took on new authority for IT procurement policy, enterprise IT management, and development and implementation of a new federated IT governance model.

She has been pushing the state toward an integrated IT organization with a common vision via annual strategic IT plans that focus on reliability, citizen services, transparency and accessibility, "information as an asset," economic efficiency and sustainability, and collaboration.

Last year, among other things, California relaunched its Web portal, launched an online data repository and transparency portal, almost doubled the number of online services it offered, and published the state's first-ever cybersecurity strategic plan.

Few IT jobs could prepare someone for the scale of the Department of Defense, but California has an IT department the size of a major multi-national company. The state spends $3 billion annually on IT (only 1/10th of the DoD's budget, but still huge by most standards) and has 10,000 statewide IT staff. In terms of assets, the state manages more than 9,000 servers and 170,000 PCs.

As Takai prepares to leave, the state remains in the midst of its long-term infrastructure and management consolidation that aims to bring new shared services online, cut the number of state data centers to three, slash the number of servers by half, establish more enterprise-wide strategy, and decrease energy use across the state's IT department, among many other plans.

Before she took over as California's IT chief, Takai led an IT consolidation and transformation effort in Michigan, where she was also CIO. While there, she consolidated formerly disparate IT infrastructure and management into a centralized department.

Previously, she worked for the Ford Motor Company for 30 years in various IT positions, and had jobs at EDS and Federal-Mogul Corporation. Takai earned a master's degree in management and a bachelor's in mathematics from the University of Michigan.

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