O'Keefe to be OMB deputy director

Sean O'Keefe would have a lot to say about information technology spending

The Bush administration is expected to nominate Sean O'Keefe, a budget and technology expert with close ties to Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of State Colin Powell, as deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget, in charge of budget issues.

O'Keefe, who has a lengthy resume in government and academia, works in an OMB office at the Old Executive Office Building, but his appointment has not been officially announced. The Senate must confirm his appointment.

His responsibilities will include the budget. But he also will have a lot to say about information technology spending.

"He will have major things to say about the IT budget," an industry source said today.

O'Keefe has taken leave from Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, where he is the director of National Security Studies, providing executive education programs for senior military and civilian Defense Department managers.

"Sean is close to Cheney. He knows Colin Powell. Both of them have been here a couple of times to talk; Sean has been able to attract a lot of people," said former ambassador Melvyn Levitsky, a professor at the Maxwell School and former ambassador to Brazil from 1994 to 1998.

"It's hard to get people to come together. It's very hard to do this kind of thing in government...but Sean has the qualities to do it. He's not only hard-working, but very good with people and focused on the agenda," Levitsky said.

O'Keefe was part of the Pentagon management team when Cheney was Defense secretary. In 1992, O'Keefe was appointed secretary of the Navy by President George Bush and had been comptroller for DOD in that administration. Before that, he served as a staff member on the Senate Appropriations Committee's Defense Subcommittee.

He has written extensively about technology and government as well as budget issues and is knowledgeable about federal funding for IT research and development.