Takai Named CIO Of Defense Department

Only weeks after having the DOD nomination withdrawn, Takai resigns from her position as the state of California's top IT executive to go to the Pentagon.
Teri Takai, the CIO of California, announced in an e-mail to staff on Monday that she will be leaving that position to become CIO at the Department of Defense.

Takai was nominated by President Obama in March to become the next CIO at DOD, but the nomination was withdrawn in late September amid an ongoing reorganization of the Defense Department's IT operations and organizational structure. At the time, a DOD spokeswoman said that Takai was still being considered for the job.

Takai's last day as CIO of California will be Nov. 5. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger hired Takai in December 2007 and, as a member of his cabinet, she was also his chief technology advisor. Prior to her move to California, Takai was CIO for the state of Michigan and director of the Michigan Department of IT.

Under Takai's leadership, California pursued a series of aggressive steps to consolidate and centralize the state's IT operations, while driving energy efficiency. A major data center consolidation plan aims to reduce data center space by 50% by the middle of next year. In September, Schwarzenegger signed an executive order codifying the state's IT reforms.

The DOD has been without a CIO since May 2009. Earlier this month, the department announced that deputy CIO, Dave Wennergren, would be moving into the role of assistant deputy chief management officer. Robert Carey, the former CIO of the U.S. Navy, confirmed within the past week that he will be stepping into the slot vacated by Wennergren.

Takai faces many challenges as the DOD's top IT executive. With an annual IT budget of more than $30 billion, the department is looking to contribute to a five-year, $100 billion cost-cutting plan outlined by Defense Secretary Robert Gates. DOD also has major IT projects underway in the areas of cybersecurity, data center consolidation, ERP, and centralized e-mail services.

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