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David Wennergren, Deputy CIO, U.S. Department of Defense

David Wennergren, Deputy CIO, U.S. Department of Defense

The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) is the largest government agency in the world with the biggest IT budget of any organization - public or private - on Earth. The DoD has embarked on a massive transformation that will change the nation's armed forces into a network-centric military, where secure access to real-time information shapes the outcome of the next global conflict.

Few people possess the skill to lead such a large organization through a unique, IT-driven change. But David Wennergren does. As the DoD's deputy CIO and deputy assistant secretary of defense for information management, his task is to help the DoD create a 21st-century, net-centric military, where information is shared collaboratively across command structures, national boundaries and oceans.

Wennergren also has a less glamorous, more prosaic role: He is vice chair of the federal CIO Council, which must ensure that federal CIOs and IT get the attention they deserve in 2009 from the next U.S. president.

He carries a great deal of influence within DoD and in the federal CIO community, and his success in managing and leading change is widely recognized. Wennergren's emergence as one of the most important government CIOs was far from sudden. Prior to his current position, which he has held since November 2006, he served as CIO for the Navy and deputy CIO for enterprise integration and security.

The role of today's CIO is about being a team player, working with others in a network-centric world, where solutions are about the enterprise. Wennergren firmly believes that and applies the lessons of teamwork to his job every day.

In an article published in the The Business of Government, Wennergren mentions that as Navy CIO, he co-authored a book called The Power of Team. "It was geared to help organizations create effective CIO organizations, and the only way to have an effective CIO organization is to have an effective team," he said. "And so this idea about being a positive force for change and being able to work with, rather than against, others is hugely important. ... We really can find ways if we work together."