Trump Nominates Acting CMO To Be Third In Line at Pentagon

Defense Department acting Chief Management Officer Lisa Hershman delivers remarks at the inaugural DOD Gears of Government Awards, at the Pentagon in May.

Defense Department acting Chief Management Officer Lisa Hershman delivers remarks at the inaugural DOD Gears of Government Awards, at the Pentagon in May. Lisa Ferdinando/Defense Department

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Lisa Hershman has been nominated to officially take over the role after more than seven months as acting chief management officer.

As the upper echelons of Pentagon leadership continue to shift, President Trump said he intends to nominate the acting chief management officer—third in line to the defense secretary—to take the role permanently.

Trump announced Monday his intention to ask the Senate to confirm Lisa Hershman to be the permanent CMO, a position she’s held in an acting capacity for seven and a half months. The Defense Department’s first CMO, John Gibson, resigned in November after less than nine months in the role.

Prior to his resignation, Gibson’s tenure was plagued with rumors of dissatisfaction from Defense leaders, including then-Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and then-Deputy Secretary Patrick Shanahan. Less than a year after Gibson’s resignation, both Mattis and Shanahan have left the administration, as well.

All three top positions at the Pentagon—secretary, deputy secretary and CMO—are current held by officials serving in an acting capacity.

If confirmed, Hershman would take her place as third in line to the defense secretary—strategic positioning from lawmakers who want the CMO to lead substantive change in the department.

The chief management officer position was initially conceived in the 2008 National Defense Authorization Act but later reduced to a deputy role, with the duties assigned to the deputy secretary of defense. The 2017 NDAA reinstated the CMO—with a standalone office—as central to the Pentagon’s reform efforts. The legislation also shifted some IT duties that were previously under the purview of the chief information officer and gave the CMO broad authority to collect and analyze data from the services and begin reform efforts.

Prior to joining the department, Hershman worked in the private sector, including as CEO of Hammer and Company and senior vice president of operational excellence at Avnet. Most recently, she served as CEO of The DeNovo Group, of which she was a founder.

During her time in the private sector, Hershman coauthored a book—Faster, Cheaper, Better: The 9 Levers for Transforming How Work Gets Done—with her colleague Michael Hammer focused on business reform.