Lisa Hershman, the Pentagon official performing the duties of the chief management officer (CMO), has been officially nominated to the role, the White House announced Monday.
Hershman, officially the deputy CMO, has been responsible for CMO duties in an acting capacity for the past several months as the Department of Defense struggles to keep Senate-confirmed positions filled. Hershman will continue to oversee management and information technology in her role, which works closely with the DOD CIO.
Jay Gibson most recently held the CMO role but resigned last November. During his nine months on the job, Gibson was initially given leadership of key IT and business reform initiatives, including leading the DOD Cloud Executive Steering Group and the launch of the $10 billion Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) commercial cloud contract. But it wasn’t long before those responsibilities were transferred elsewhere — now under the lead of DOD CIO Dana Deasy — and rumors began that Gibson would be pushed out.
The CMO position is relatively new to the department, with iterations of it being shuffled through the annual defense authorization bills. If confirmed by the Senate, Hershman will be cemented into the No. 3 role at the Pentagon with a steep mandate: reduce spending. So far, Hershman has claimed some success in finding nearly $4.4 billion in fiscal 2018. But, the Office of Management and Budget wants nearly $50 billion in cuts by fiscal 2023.
Hershman is a charter member of OMB’s Performance Improvement Council and is charged with working to implement the President’s Management Agenda. Hershman led several private sector companies and has a long career in management services.
On Tuesday, the Senate confirmed Mark Esper as secretary of Defense. It marked the end to the longest period the department has gone without a Senate-confirmed secretary. The second-in-command position, deputy sectary of Defense, is also being held in an acting capacity by Navy Secretary Richard Spencer while DOD Comptroller David Norquist goes through the confirmation process for the office.