WASHINGTON: Two retired colonels are moving in to the office of the Deputy Chief Management Officer, which has the herculean task of improving the Pentagon’s business practices. One is a former Marine logistician who worked on the reconstruction of Iraq, the other a former Air Force IT expert, a rare African-American woman in her high-tech field who published a book about her grandmother’s legacy.
Since Mary Gillam retired from the uniformed Air Force in 2010, she’s been working for the Air Force Secretary’s chief information officer as a contractor, through mega-consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton. As an SESer, she’ll work for the Deputy Chief Management Officer, Elizabeth McGrath, as the DCMO’s director for technology and innovation. That’s a long way from one of Gillam’s first assignments as a young lieutenant, when she told a reporter from her alma mater, the University of Phoenix, that she had to take command of an Air Force tactical control center where she was the only female officer. “This was my first taste of what it was like to be a leader, and I had to get in there and learn really fast,” she said in that interview. “My grandma taught me not to be afraid to ask questions because if I was going to be a leader, I had to understand the job.” Gillam later published a memoir of her grandmother, who raised her and died while she was stationed in Korea, entitled I Never Said Good-Bye.
Also joining the SES is Andrew Haeuptle, a retired Marine colonel who had previously served in the Pentagon’s Business Transformation Agency and as Deputy Director for the Task Force to Improve Business and Stability Operations in Iraq. He’s already at the Office of the Deputy Chief Management Officer as director of expeditionary business operations but will move sideways to be director of business integration.