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Obama pulls Takai nomination for Defense CIO

President Obama withdrew on Wednesday the nomination of Teresa "Teri" Takai as the Defense Department's assistant secretary for networks and information integration, which includes the department's chief information officer role.

In March, the president nominated Takai, California's CIO, for the top tech position at Defense. But Defense Secretary Robert Gates said in August he planned to eliminate the assistant secretary post as part of an overall restructuring plan intended to save $100 billion during the next five years. A source in the Senate said the withdrawal of the nomination was a direct result of that decision.

Air Force Lt. Col. Rene White, a Pentagon spokeswoman, said that Defense determined "it was best not to go forward with Ms. Takai's confirmation hearing, until bottom-line decisions are made on how to stand up a refashioned and strengthened chief information officer that reports to the secretary of Defense."

Takai's future with the federal government is unclear, however. The CIO job is required by the 1996 Clinger-Cohen Act. Marine Gen. James Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday the Pentagon envisions a stronger role for the Defense CIO following the restructuring. He did not provide details.

Cartwright said the office would assume CIO functions performed by the assistant secretary for networks and information integration, the Joint Staff's command and control organization, and the Joint Forces Command, slated for elimination.

Takai's California office did not respond to a request for comment.

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