CIO Profiles: David Wennergren, Deputy CIO Of The Department Of Defense

The next big thing for the DOD? Leveraging Web 2.0 and cloud computing to delivery new capabilities quickly.
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DAVID WENNERGREN, Deputy CIO, Department of Defense

Deputy CIO, Department of Defense
Career Track
How long in current position: Since 2006

Most important career influencer: There are many people who have touched my life, but I must call out one individual: Dan Porter, who has been my mentor and friend for years (as well as my boss when I was the deputy CIO for the Navy), is a great example of an inspirational thought leader who possesses great intellect, wisdom, an uncanny knack for understanding people, passion, and profound faith.

Major accomplishments: I'm proud of having been involved in teams that implemented the DOD Common Access Card (one of the most successful smart card and PKI implementations in the world), saved money through enterprise software licensing and focusing on more effective portfolio management, created an innovative approach to ensuring critical infrastructure protection, and advanced the cause of performance-based contracting.


Advice to other government IT pros: It's all about people and relationships. Do everything in your power to foster continuous learning and create a culture where people are supported, encouraged, challenged, and given the freedom to unleash their creativity.

The key to success in IT management is ... to be incredibly impatient and passionate about demanding change now, while not becoming unduly frustrated with the temporary setbacks that inevitably occur in change management efforts that involve large organizations.

The next big thing for the Defense Department could be ... to leverage the new ideas, tools, and approaches offered by a service-oriented approach, Web 2.0, and cloud computing to deliver new capabilities much more rapidly.

The key to managing an IT budget is ... having a well-articulated and understood vision (that is, a "main thing" that aligns the work of the agency), transparency of information, a meaningful governance process, and outcome-based performance measures to help ensure successful execution.

On The Job

IT budget: $33 billion

Size of IT team: More than 164,000 personnel (86,000 active duty and reservists and 78,000 civilians)

My role is to ... help create a unified information management and tech vision for the DOD, and ensure the delivery of the capabilities required to create an information advantage for our people and mission partners.

Biggest challenge: One of the biggest challenges for any large organization is cultural change. For us, it revolves around the transition from an era where local commands built local area networks and developed local applications to meet their needs. Today, our success requires that we share information across organizational boundaries and rely upon others to deliver core enterprise services and capabilities.


Colleges/degrees: University of Maryland, MPP in public sector financial management; Mansfield State University, BA in public relations

Leisure activities: Music, hiking, and spending time with family

If I could live life over again, I would ... buy back that black Mustang convertible in 1987 and the blue Fender Telecaster in 1972

If I weren't a CIO, I'd be ... hiking in Yosemite, playing the guitar, or educating the next generation of IT leaders

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