St. Thomas native's husband named U.S. Army's first African-American CIO


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ST. THOMAS - A St. Thomas woman is prouder than ever to be standing alongside her husband, who was promoted to become the U.S. Army's first African-American chief information officer.

Monique Ferrell's husband, Lt. Gen. Robert Ferrell, was promoted to three-star general by Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno on Jan. 24 and now, in his new position as chief information officer, is responsible for leading Army network modernization.

"The (position) is even more important today as the Army stands up a cyberforce and establishes the Cyber Center of Excellence at Ft. Gordon," Odierno said in a ceremony at Fort McNair in Washington, D.C.

Neither Robert Ferrell nor Monique Ferrell could be reached on Friday.

Monique Ferrell, formerly Monique Douté, is a member of the U.S. Senior Executive Service and currently serves as deputy auditor general for manpower, reserve Affairs and training audits in the U.S. Army Audit Agency.

The Ferrells have two adult sons, Robert and Michael.

Monique Ferrell is a 1981 graduate of Ss. Peter and Paul High School. She obtained a bachelor of science in accounting at Hampton University and a master of policy management at Georgetown University.

Monique Ferrell's father, Christian Douté, is the network manager for automated systems of the Virgin Islands Public Library System. He has worked for the library system for 29 years. Her mother, Alicia Douté, retired as the office manager for the ready-mix concrete company, Heavy Materials, LLC, where she worked for more than 40 years.

As the CIO, Robert Ferrell will directly advise the secretary of the Army on strategic direction and objectives, and also will supervise all Army command, control, communications, computers and information technology functions.

In his position, Robert Ferrell will serve as the Army chief of staff's top adviser regarding network, communications and signal operations, and related security, force structure and equipping issues.

He also will oversee a $10 billion annual budget.

"To ensure that the Army can provide expeditionary, decisive land power, we will continue to enhance Army cyber capabilities, modernize our combat training centers and installations, transition network services and applications to a cloud environment and strengthen information assurance and cyber security," Ferrell said in a prepared statement the Army issued this week.

Robert Ferrell's career spans more than 35 years, according to the statement.

He most recently served as the commander of the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md. Previous assignments included serving in Army units in Korea and Europe and deployments to Bosnia and Iraq.

Ferrell has commanded at every level, from company to brigade, and has served in critical units, such as the 2nd Infantry Division, the 82nd Airborne Division, the 1st Cavalry Division, Special Operations Command and 5th Signal Command, according to the Army.

Born in Alabama and raised primarily in New Jersey, Robert Ferrell enlisted in the Army and attained the rank of sergeant before leaving active duty to attend Hampton University in Virginia. Upon graduation in 1983, he was commissioned as a lieutenant in the Army Signal Corps.

He has earned master's degrees from Central Michigan University and the United States Army War College.

- Contact Jenny Kane at 714-9102 or email jkane@dailynews.vi.

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