Deputy Defense CIO to Retire; Intelligence Community CIO to Step In


Essye Miller, who served temporarily as acting Defense CIO, plans to retire after 35 years supporting military technology.

One of the top IT leaders in the Defense Department will be retiring by the end of June.

Essye Miller, principal deputy chief information officer and former acting DOD CIO, announced Monday that she plans to retire from public service on June 30.

Miller’s planned retirement wraps 35 years in government IT, including with the Air Force, Army and within the Pentagon. For the latter, Miller served as the deputy CIO for cybersecurity until December 2017, when she was tapped to serve as acting CIO. She became the principal deputy CIO in May 2018 when current CIO Dana Deasy was named as the permanent IT leader for DOD.

“Essye has been a trusted advisor to me, especially as I came onboard the DoD,” Deasy said Monday in a statement. “Essye is without a doubt an inspiration to many and her dedication to the mission and leadership style will be missed throughout the department.”

The department already has Miller’s replacement lined up: John Sherman, current CIO for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence—the IT leader for the entire intelligence community.

“John will bring a breadth of experience to the organization and I look forward to working with him as we continue to implement the digital modernization strategy across the DOD,” Deasy said.

Sherman became intelligence community CIO in 2017. Prior to that, he served as deputy director of the Open Source Enterprise at CIA, the office leading the Intelligence Community Information Technology Enterprise, or ICITE, effort.

“All of our progress is a testament to the unified effort and teamwork of the CIOs across the Community,” Sherman said Monday in a statement, speaking specifically of the ICITE program. “Together with the IC CIO team we have set a strong foundation for the future.”

He joins DOD OCIO at an interesting time, as the organization juggles implementing mass teleworking capabilities that are expected, in part, to be the new normal; is in the midst of rolling out a comprehensive cybersecurity certification program—the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification—authorizing the internal systems of all defense contractors; and reevaluates one of the largest—and certainly most high-profile—cloud contracts in government history, the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, or JEDI, contract; not to mention other multibillion-dollar cloud contracts in the works.

Miller played an important role in many of these programs, including crafting the initial JEDI procurement, and was part of an early cloud steering group of Defense officials who conceptualized the requirements for the cloud contract. She also delivered a keynote address during the Pentagon’s JEDI industry day, which publicly announced the government’s intent to procure a commercial cloud for the military.