John Gibson First DoD Chief Management Officer

In February, John Gibson will become the DoD's first Chief Management Officer. (Photo: DoD)

Who says things in Washington don’t move quickly? A decade after Congress initially authorized the position; the Pentagon will get its first Chief Managing Officer (CMO). John Gibson, the current Deputy Chief Managing Officer (DCMO), will step in as the first DoD CMO in February. A major target for new efficiencies, DoD has more than $2 trillion in assets and liabilities.

As DoD CMO, Gibson will oversee the Defense Policy Advisory Committee, a group composed of industry security experts, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and representatives from secretaries of the military branches. The committee will discuss technological threats to the United States, and brainstorm solutions using emerging technologies.

Tackling the full responsibilities of the new role will likely take Gibson two years. This year, Gibson will focus on developing and implementing an IT plan to reduce redundancies in DoD’s operating model. In 2019, Gibson should take over the business side of IT. This will include implementing new technologies that would help with cyber and national security.

Earlier in his career, Gibson had three roles with the Air Force, serving as assistant secretary for Financial Management, Comptroller, and CFO. He also served as the defense undersecretary for management reform under Pres. George W. Bush, giving him the leadership experience needed for the CMO position.

This is an interesting time for DoD to install a full CMO. The service is wrestling with the implications of the Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan’s cloud migration push. It’s working on its first full financial audit. Guess there’s no time like the present…

One Comment
  1. Anonymous | - Reply
    In response to Congressional direction in the FY 2008 National Defense Authorization Act , so 10 years ago now , the DOD created the positions of Chief Management Officer (CMO) and Deputy Chief Management Officer (DCMO). The CMO position was assigned to be performed by the Deputy Secretary of Defense, while the DCMO position was created to be a new position to be filled as soon as possible. The interesting thing is, if you compare the description in the DOD's July 2008 "Implementation Report" describing what the CMO and new DCMO would do to what Mr. Gibson ( who became the DCMO in November 2017 and will now become the CMO) is supposed to do, you will see that nothing has changed. In other words, the Congress apparently believes, and is counting on Mr. Gibson to accomplish, something that a succession of DepSecDef's and DCMO's over the last ten years have NOT been able to accomplish - namely, "improve the DOD's business operations". The Congress likes to point, just as it did 10 years ago, to the DOD's continuing difficulties producing private-sector-style financial statements (balance sheets and income statements) that can win unqualified opinions from auditors as the "proof" that the DOD is still not managing its "business operations" properly. A prediction: Mr. Gibson (and his successors over the next ten years) will be no more successful than his predecessors have been in convincing the Congress that the DOD is operating properly as evidenced by the annual production of auditor-blessed, private-sector-style financial statements. That prediction has nothing to do with Mr. Gibson's management and leadership skills - which no doubt are as strong, and may even be stronger, than those of his predecessors. Nor does it have anything to do with the management and leadership skills of those who will succeed Mr. Gibson. No - Mr. Gibson (and his successors) will fail to convince the Congress because the DOD is not a "business" trying to build equity and make money, which is what private-sector-style balance sheets and income statements are designed to measure. Private-sector-style balance sheets and income statements have never made sense as useful (or even meaningful) performance-measurement tools for the Department, so the Department will ALWAYS have trouble producing them. The DOD is an agency in the Executive Branch of the federal government that runs on annual budgets, and what it needs (and all the Congress should expect) to show it is operating properly (in financial terms) is good BUDGETARY accounting --which the DOD Comptroller is already responsible for. If Mr. Gibson is smart (given what his life his is going to be like) on his first day as CMO he will tell the Congress that his position is redundant and should be abolished because it is pointless and unnecessary. -Christopher Hanks

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