WT Business Beat

By Nick Wakeman

Blog archive
Nick Wakeman

CIO departures put innovation at risk

When David Wennergren, the Defense Department’s assistant deputy chief management officer, announced his retirement last week, he joined a growing list of high level government IT officials who have left government service.

In addition to Wennergren, there is Roger Baker from Veterans Affairs, Linda Cureton from NASA, G. Kelly Croft from Social Security, and Richard Spires from Homeland Security.

A certain amount of churn is to be expected, especially when the second term of an administration is less than a year old.

But here’s my worry, and a few executives have voiced a similar concerns: At a time when the government can least afford it, are we faced with a leadership vacuum? Will the opportunities to bring fresh, new solutions to the government diminish?

Technically, Wennergren isn’t a CIO, but I include him in this group because he has always been at the forefront of innovation and pushing the envelope as far as using technology to achieve mission success.

These departed government executives all have a reputation for being risk takers and advocates for change. We need that kind of leadership today.

It’s not that we don’t still have people like that in government; we just need more of them. We can’t afford not to have them.

While the reasons for each of these individuals to leave are varied, there also is a sense that the job is needlessly frustrating.

Perhaps some of the reform legislation will help by empowering CIOs with more budget authority. Perhaps this is just a phase and we should take the departures at face value.

But when you look at them as a whole, it’s a disheartening trend.

Who is going to fill the void? And more importantly, if the perception is that frustration with the job played a role, then who will want to fill the void?

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Jul 30, 2013 at 10:00 AM


Reader Comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

What is your e-mail address?

My e-mail address is:

Do you have a password?

Forgot your password? Click here
close
SEARCH
 Top 100 Slideshow
contracts DB

Trending

  • Dive into our Contract Award database

    In an exclusive for WT Insider members, we are collecting all of the contract awards we cover into a database that you can sort by contractor, agency, value and other parameters. You can also download it into a spreadsheet. Read More

  • Is SBA MIA on contractor fraud? Nick Wakeman

    Editor Nick Wakeman explores the puzzle of why SBA has been so silent on the latest contractor fraud scandal when it has been so quick to act in other cases. Read More

Webcasts