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DoD's McGrath leaving management post

Nov. 13, 2013 - 02:59PM   |  
By SEAN REILLY   |   Comments
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Beth McGrath, the Defense Department’s first deputy chief management officer, is stepping down after almost 3½ years on the job.

In an email Monday to staff, McGrath said she will retire at month’s end following a 25-year career at DoD; her job will be filled temporarily by Kevin Scheid, the assistant deputy chief management officer, according to a Pentagon news release.

“I appreciate the work you do each day in moving the department’s business operations forward and I have no doubt that this team will continue to make meaningful progress in the future,” McGrath told employees in the email.

McGrath did not say what her next step will be. Her announced departure comes several months after Dave Wennergren, the former assistant deputy chief management officer, left to become a vice president with Virginia-based contractor CACI.

McGrath, the first to occupy the congressionally created deputy chief management officer’s job after winning Senate confirmation in 2010, came to the post after serving in a variety of financial management and other positions throughout DoD.

McGrath “has been extraordinarily effective in transforming the approach to business operations away from short-term, risk-averse, status quo behaviors to a more strategic, enterprise-focused environment,” Navy Cmdr. Bill Urban, a DoD spokesman, said in the release.

But McGrath also came under scrutiny for the Pentagon’s handling of costly information technology modernization endeavors.

In a 2012 audit, the DoD inspector general said that McGrath and other managers needed to do a better job of overseeing a half-dozen “enterprise resource planning” business systems that were years behind schedule and a combined $8 billion over budget. Earlier this year, she was sidelined from direct responsibility for electronic health records modernization after DoD dropped plans to build a system with the Veterans Affairs Department to cover service members as they left the military.

At a congressional hearing earlier in the year, McGrath acknowledged problems with the ERP programs, most of which were underway well before she became deputy chief management officer, but said the department has already successfully fielded several.

IT issues “receive significant management attention” she said, and are a key part of DoD’s strategy to build better business processes “that will create lasting results.”

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