The Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Gilbert Cisneros will be stepping down from his role at the Department of Defense (DoD) in early September.


In a July 31 statement, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin praised Cisneros for his two-year tenure, calling him “a steadfast and faithful servant.”


“His commitment to the ‘people first’ approach helped the department improve the quality of life of our service members and their families,” Austin said.


“Under his leadership, the P&R [personnel and readiness] team established policies to ensure access to reproductive health care and contraceptives, promoted the safety, health, and well-being of the force during the COVID-19 pandemic, and advanced initiatives to integrate strategic readiness across the department to better assess operational decision impacts on force readiness,” Austin added.


The announcement of Cisneros’ departure comes after he faced harsh criticism last week from members of the House Oversight Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Information Technology, and Government Innovation.


The criticism came over Cisneros’ decision to abandon the DoD’s MyTravel system – a $374 million replacement to modernize the agency’s outdated Defense Travel System (DTS). 


Subcommittee members on both sides of the aisle expressed their frustration that Cisneros failed to appear before the subcommittee on July 26. Additionally, lawmakers were disappointed that Cisneros’ stand-in, Jeffrey Register – the director of defense human resources activity at the Office of the Under Secretary for Defense for Personnel and Readiness – could not answer several questions that they posed at the hearing.


As a result, lawmakers threatened to issue a subpoena to Cisneros to get answers on what subcommittee Chairwoman Nancy Mace, R-S.C., called an “IT acquisition failure.”


Cisneros previously served in the Navy and as the U.S. representative for California’s 39th congressional district from 2019 to 2021.

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Grace Dille
Grace Dille
Grace Dille is MeriTalk's Assistant Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.