The top official leading one of the Department of Defense’s (DoD) most important modernization initiatives plans to retire soon, an official from the Air Force confirmed to MeriTalk.

According to the official, Lt. Gen. Mary O’Brien is “currently on terminal leave with a retirement date in the near future.”

O’Brien is the Joint Staff director of command, control, communications, and computer (C4)/cyber and chief information officer. In that role, she became a leading player in the DoD’s Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2) initiative – of the Pentagon’s top modernization priorities.

The JADC2 initiative encompasses DoD’s push to empower the Joint Force Commanders with the capabilities needed to command the Joint Force across all warfighting domains and throughout the electromagnetic spectrum to deter or defeat any adversary at any time and in any place around the globe.

No successor to O’Brien has been publicly named, and it’s unclear when a Senate-confirmed successor might eventually be in place.

“As in other situations where the principal billet is gapped, the Vice Director is performing the duties until the next Director is confirmed. CJADC2 remains one of DoD’s top priorities and Rear Adm. BryerJoyner continues to serve as the CJADC2 Cross-Functional Team Chair,” said Cmdr. Sean Riordan, for the Office of the Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff Public Affairs.

Before stepping into her latest role in August 2022, O’Brien served as Deputy Chief of Staff for ISR and Cyber Effects Operations, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, responsible to the Secretary and Air Force Chief of Staff for policy formulation, planning, evaluation, oversight, and leadership of Air Force intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, cyber effects operations, and electromagnetic spectrum superiority capabilities.

She has also served in numerous staff leadership positions including the Joint Staff, the O?ce of the Secretary of the Air Force Legislative Liaison, Headquarters U.S. Air Force and Air Force Space Command, and served as the U.S. Cyber Command Director of Intelligence.

O’Brien received her commission upon graduation from the U.S. Air Force Academy with a Bachelor of Science in chemistry. She has served in a variety of command and staff assignments. Including, the 22nd Intelligence Squadron at Fort George G. Meade in Maryland; the 691st Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Group at the Royal Air Force Menwith Hill in the United Kingdom; and the 70th ISR Wing also located at Fort George G. Meade in Maryland.

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Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.