The United States Marine Corps (USMC) has promoted Renata Spinks to assistant director of IT/deputy CIO and senior information security officer, with a formal promotion ceremony scheduled for September 10 at Marine Corps Base Quantico.

Renata Spinks Spinks brings deep experience to the new position, having served as USMC acting CISO from January to May 2021, and cyber technology officer at U.S. Marine Corps Forces Cyberspace Command from 2018 to earlier this month.

Before that, Spinks was an executive with the Internal Revenue Service from 2016 to 2018, special assistant to the director at the Treasury Department from 2012 to 2016, and program manager at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement from 2008 to 2012.

Speaking with MeriTalk today about her latest promotion, Spinks said she is looking forward to her new duties as an opportunity to show how cybersecurity “is part of the DNA of warfighting for the Marine Corps,” and how the use of technology drives the service branch’s mission.

“Sometimes we think of systems that are just about remote work, or making sure Marines get paid,” Spinks explained. “But even as we look at things like the withdrawal operations in Afghanistan or support for Haiti … that is based on technology and tactical systems so that we can deploy our Marines as quickly as were able to, to keep in constant communication, or matter where we are in the world.”

“That’s where the information environment comes in,” she said. “I’m looking forward to continuing that mission, and working with industry on making it better.”

While her duties clearly mark a continued cybersecurity profile, Spinks also talked about the larger CIO sphere that those duties inhabit.

“The CIO space is much larger,” she said. “You have to manage people, money, and the strategic approach.”

The strategic aspects, she continued, “are probably the hardest piece of the CIO space – what is your strategy, what problem are we trying to solve, how are you going to get after it – the problems are large scale.”

Spinks said she is looking forward to partnering with other CIOs across the Department of Defense (DoD), and “understanding for the whole of government, what does it really look like in the chief information officer space.” She added, I think that’s probably going to be one of the most impactful things for me, working with other CIOs hand in hand.”

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John Curran
John Curran
John Curran is MeriTalk's Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.