Key Pentagon Management Official to Retire

Caitlin Fairchild/ file photo

Beth McGrath, who has served as the Defense Department’s first deputy chief management officer for the past three years, announced her retirement on Monday effective at the end of the month, the Pentagon confirmed.

“Ms. 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,” said Defense spokesman William Urban in an email. “She has brought a dedicated focus to improving the business operations and her business-minded approach has reaped great dividends for the Defense Department in the areas of strategic planning, performance management, process improvement, and business information technology acquisition and investment management.”

McGrath’s duties will be handled on an acting basis by Assistant Deputy Chief Management Officer Kevin Scheid.

McGrath, who spent 25 years at Defense, retires as a member of the Senior Executive Service in a presidentially appointed and Senate-confirmed job that focused on performance improvement. Her responsibilities included preparation of the Pentagon’s strategic management plan and acquisition authority over the department’s $3 billion information technology system portfolio. She previously was deputy director for systems integration at the Defense Finance and Accounting Service.

McGrath testified frequently on Capitol Hill on such issues as the Pentagon’s struggles to achieve auditable financial statements. In 2011, she said a partnership between herself and the department’s chief financial officer "will help to enable successful implementation. We have also implemented a new, focused approach that includes near-term goals," as well as the long-term target of auditability, she said. "We also use and benefit from a constructive partnership with our auditors and oversight activities."

A regular speaker at Government Executive Media Group events, McGrath once offered an adage on modernizing equipment and procedures in such areas as background checks for security clearances: “Anything older than I am should be eliminated or at least revised,” she said.

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