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Rene' Thomas-Rizzo

Director, Human Capital Initiatives,
Office of the Under Secretary of Defense
for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics

Ms. Thomas-Rizzo, Senior Executive Service is the principal advisor to and senior leader on behalf of, the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics on all Department of Defense-wide acquisition workforce strategy, policy and initiatives for the 150,000 member acquisition workforce.

Prior to her current assignment, Ms. Thomas-Rizzo served as the Department of the Navy Director of Acquisition Career Management (DACM). As DACM, she was charged with management and development of the 53,000 members of the Department of the Navy’s acquisition workforce, serving as direct advisor and staff assistant to the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition on all matters pertaining to education, training, and career development.

From October 2007- August 2009, Ms. Thomas-Rizzo served as Chief of Staff (CoS) for PEO IWS where she was responsible for proper execution of PEO IWS process, procedures and policies in support of the PEO IWS Command Group. She helped guide the PEO to achieve continuous organizational improvement essential to the efficiency and effectiveness of the PEO IWS Vision and Mission.

Rene' Thomas-Rizzo

Prior to her selection as PEO IWS CoS, Ms. Thomas-Rizzo was assigned as Deputy Program Manager for IWS 7.0 – Future Combat Systems, Open Architecture and Human Systems Integration. She was responsible for management and technical direction of DoN Enterprise Open Architecture combat systems and training systems as well as design and development of Naval Integrated Fire Control – Counter Air capability.

In 2005 Ms. Thomas-Rizzo was assigned the Training Systems Development Manager/NSST Program Lead in the PEO IWS 7.0C, in Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington, D.C. She served as a consultant to the program manager in developing critical acquisition program strategies, while balancing Defense Acquisition processes with the PPBE schedule and requirements. She was responsible for the installation of five shore-based Navigation, Seamanship & Shiphandling Trainers (NSST) and more than 20 shipboard NSST installations.

From 1999 – 2005 Ms. Thomas-Rizzo served in the Manpower, Personnel & Training Branch for the Surface Combatants Fleet Support Directorate in Program Executive Office – Ships organization. As Manpower, Personnel & Training Branch Head (Acting) she established and chaired the Smartship Training Execution Team (TET) which was awarded the PEO Ships Excellence Award for their outstanding performance in 2003. From 2003 – 2005, she was also assigned to the LPD 17 Program Office as a member of the Life Cycle Supportability Team.

Ms. Thomas-Rizzo began her professional career as an Acquisition Logistics Intern for Naval Air Systems Command in Crystal City, VA. Upon graduation from the three-year program, she accepted the position of Program Manager, NAVAIR Weapons Training Support for the Naval Undersea Warfare Center Detachment Hawaii supporting underwater training systems from January 1991 to July 1997. Special assignments included two years on the Commander, Submarine Pacific N43 staff, the PMS 400 Test & Evaluation manager's on-site representative for AEGIS special projects and BRAC Realignments as well as assignment as the PMS 500 Deputy Department Head for Logistics, Surface Combatant for 21st Century Program (SC-21 currently DDG 1000).

Ms. Thomas-Rizzo graduated from Mary Washington College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration. She holds a Level 3 certification in Defense Acquisition Program Management and is a member of the Acquisition Corps.

Ms. Thomas-Rizzo’s leadership and performance have been recognized through the following Awards:
Navy Superior Civilian Service Award for her outstanding contributions while serving as PEO IWS Chief of Staff in 2009; and two additional Navy Superior Civilian Service Awards in 2011 and 2014 for her performance while serving as the Director of Acquisition Career Management.

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We welcome your feedback. Please send your questions, comments or contributions to this page to the OUSD(AT&L) Human Capital Initiatives (HCI) web portal POC at: HCIacqworkforce@hci.mil

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