By Dawn S. Onley
Just two hours after he was sworn in as the new Defense CIO, John
Grimes sat at a table in his Pentagon office, getting used to the
constant rings of his BlackBerry.
Grimes said he never owned a BlackBerry in his last job as vice
president of Raytheon Intelligence and Information Systems in
Washington. But as DOD's top IT leader, Grimes might get more traction
from his personal digital assistant than his office phone and notebook
"I show up here and in 30 seconds I have one and it has not stopped,"
Grimes said, pointing to the new device. "I have had continuous
In June, President Bush nominated Grimes to be CIO and assistant
secretary of Defense for networks and information integration. The
Senate confirmed him on Oct. 28 and he was officially sworn in on Nov.
In his first interview as CIO, Grimes said if he had to pick the
greatest challenge for Defense networks, it would have to be security.
"The information systems have to be secure. Probably of all the things
we have right now facing us in the information world, security is
key," Grimes said.
"When someone uses the system, they believe in the integrity of the
data and that nobody has unauthorized access to it. That's probably
the most critical thing we have facing us because of the continuous
threat to networks by those that want to be mischievous."
But Grimes said securing Defense networks is an "expensive
proposition" and predicted that there would never come a time when DOD
can claim that its networks are threat-free.
"There's no way we'll probably ever get 100 percent assurance of a
fully protected system," Grimes said. "In fact, we call it the
Achilles' heel right now, this information assurance of networks."
He also applauded the work of John Stenbit, former Defense CIO, for
pushing, and in some instances conceptualizing, the key net-centric
transformational programs across the DOD - including the Global
Information Grid-Bandwidth Expansion, Transformational Satellite and
Net-Centric Enterprise Services initiatives.
Stenbit retired in March 2004 and currently sits on several boards.
Linton Wells, dep- uty CIO, served as acting CIO until Grimes was
"John Stenbit actually did a great job of codifying the net-centric
enablers and those programs are somewhat institutionalized now in what
we call power to the edge," Grimes said.
Grimes previously served as deputy assistant secretary for
counterintelligence and security countermeasures at Defense, and held
the title of deputy assistant secretary for Defense-wide command,
control and communications. He also worked for the National Security
Council as senior director of the White House Situation Support Staff.
The avid golfer is a graduate of the University of Arizona and holds a
master's degree from Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania.
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