Defense plans to withdraw Hight's nomination to head DISA

Department declines to identify other candidates for head of its top information and telecommunications agency.

Top Defense Department officials confirmed they plan to withdraw the nomination of Rear Adm. Elizabeth Hight to be the next director of the Defense Information Systems Agency because of a perceived conflict of interest with her husband, who works for a major Defense contractor.

Comment on this article in The Forum.Air Force Lt. Gen. Charles Croom, the director of DISA who plans to retire July 22, expressed regret that Hight will not succeed him. Hight, who currently is DISA's deputy director, "would have been the most qualified director we have ever had," Croom told Nextgov in an interview on Thursday.

Nextgov reported on Thursday that the Senate had apparently rejected Hight's nomination.

A member of the Senate Armed Services Committee blocked Hight's nomination because her husband, retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Gary Salisbury, is the vice president of business development and sales for the mission systems sector, defense mission systems division at Northrop Grumman.

A top Defense official, who declined to be identified, said the decision to withdraw Hight's nomination was made to "prevent any possible misperception of impropriety due to her husband's current position within the defense industry." The official said Hight will continue to serve as deputy director.

A new nominee for DISA director will be announced in the near future, the official said. Croom declined to identify likely candidates.