Dunnington replaces Holcomb as NASA CIO

NASA has tapped its deputy systems chief to take over as CIO.

Sean O'Keefe, the space agency's administrator, this week announced the promotion of Patricia L. Dunnington to the systems post.

Dunnington had been deputy CIO since August 2002. She first came to work at NASA in 1982 as a presidential management intern in the Office of Aerospace Technology. She moved up the ranks of the agency's systems management, including a stint as CIO for the Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va.

'She has an intimate knowledge of the agency, and she will be a key leader, planner and manager as we continue to apply cutting edge IT to NASA,' O'Keefe said.

Dunnington replaces Lee Holcomb, who left the agency last summer to work with the White House homeland security team and is now a member of the new Homeland Security Department systems staff. Since Holcomb left for the White House job, Paul Strassmann, special assistant to the administrator for information, has been acting CIO.

Strassmann will retire, O'Keefe said.

'Paul has given us a much needed road map to address our IT needs for the future. He's introduced contemporary business practices and a game plan that will help us fully implement the plan," O'Keefe said.

O'Keefe had lured Strassmann back into public service from his first retirement. Strassmann was one of the government's original CIOs, leading IT management at the Defense Department during the 1990s.

Although she's been a career government employee, Dunnington took a recent turn in industry, participating in the government's Senior Executive Service Candidate Development Program. Just before her assignment as deputy CIO, she worked at Cisco Systems Inc. of San Jose, Calif.

Dunnington has a bachelor's degree from Catholic University of America and a master's of general administration from University of Maryland.

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