Defense Department chooses CIO

Unconfirmed reports indicate Teri Takai, chief information officer for the state of California, is the woman for the job

Teri Takai, chief information officer for the state of California, has been picked to become the Defense Department's next CIO.

The long-awaited appointment, which must still be confirmed by the Senate, will be announced in the next week or so, FCW sources confirmed. The nomination was first reported by's and then by Federal News Radio's DorobekInsider blog.

Takai would be the first woman to serve as Defense CIO, and also the first without military experience. She would take over a position that has been vacant since April 2009, following the retirement of John Grimes.

According to her official bio, Takai worked for the Ford Motor Co. for 30 years before moving into state government. At Ford she led the development of the company's information technology strategic plan. She also held positions in technology at EDS and Federal-Mogul Corporation.

In 2003, she became director of Michigan's Department of Information Technology and also served as the state's interim CIO. In 2005, Takai was named "Public Official of the Year" by Governing magazine. "She is a pro at closely linking technology activities and spending to the goals of the chief executive," Governing wrote. "Takai’s department doesn’t start with an IT plan. Rather, IT officials focus on the six issue areas, including health care, economic development and education, that are in the governor’s 'Cabinet Action Plan.' Then the IT department looks at the proposed budget. From there, the department determines the IT initiatives that can support the governor’s plans and be funded."

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed her as California's CIO in 2007.

About the Author

Technology journalist Michael Hardy is a former FCW editor.

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Reader Comments

Fri, Feb 26, 2010

Takai announced this week at an industry event she was staying till the end of the governors term. Some folks are saying her confirmation is on hold and others are saying its off. Any ideas?

Mon, Feb 22, 2010

Teri Takai has accomplished little other than attempting to consolodate IT in California. Her office touts saving billions of dollars, yet they can't provide the actual numbers to substantiate savings. She proposes to bring all networks under her control, yet she has yet to offer a plan on how that will be accomplished. She has been a great team player for Arnold, and she may be able to help him in the Obama administration. Politics at its best!

Thu, Feb 11, 2010 Leslie California

Other than ensuring regular personal publicity blogs and tweets, what has Takai accomplish during her two years in California? For years, as verified by innumerable web articles, Takai took credit for the consolidation of Michigan data centers, though the consolidations had been in process for several years prior her appointment as Michigan CIO. She finally admitted this in a 2009 legislative hearing when asked by a Senator if she had experience in consolidations, her answer revealing that the Michigan effort had been in process for about 7 years before she was hired and that she arrived at the tail end of the consolidation.

In California, the same "consolidation" quick-win was immediately initiated, with much public brouhaha, resulting in the largest data center being brought into Takai's office. But did bringing the state data center under her management result in quantifiable "consolidation" efficiencies? No. It was simply an administrative reorganization, one that has done nothing to reduce the 150-200 separate data centers/computer rooms strewn over the state and managed by 100+ separate state departments.

Instead, this week Takai used the Governor's office to initiate consolidation activities requiring ALL State mission critical applications to be brought into a TierIII data center. Unfortunately, the State of California has no TierIII DC large enough to host the mission critical applications from 100+ separate depts. This would easily impact 100’s of applications that impact the citizens and government operations. The Executive Order gave July 2010 as the first target date for implementation, which is a ridiculous expectation, considering the staff and infrastructure rampup necessary. However, the Executive Order certainly has garnered publicity for Takai, who obviously will be leaving the state before any her impossible strategies fail.

I expect her to exaggerate the value of the blog and tweet awards she's steered towards the state, and take credit for endeavors initiated prior to her arrival, as she did in Michigan. Overall, based upon her performance in California, heaven help the country and our defense systems. That said, she needs to be kicked out of CA post-haste. Then perhaps that current administration can recoup some management of California’s IT.

Wed, Feb 10, 2010 makatak Just south of the beltway

No military experience? Well, the learning curve is going to be quite steep. Outsiders think of DoD as being somewhat homogenous, but in fact it is highly fragmented... certainly far more so than any other organization where she has been CIO. Hopefully the service CIOs can help her get off to a good start.

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