IG transition: Owens, Williams retire December 31
FORT LEE, Va. (Jan. 14, 2016) – Keith M. Owens, the Defense Commissary Agency's inspector general and director of its internal audit division, retired after more than 34 years of federal service.
Owens' deputy IG and supervisory investigator, John M. Williams, also retired after 35 years of federal service. Both retirements were effective Dec. 31. Until further notice, Robert Strimple will be acting as the chief of the internal audit division and Jeffery Eldridge will be acting as chief of the investigative division.
"Keith has lived a life of dedicated service to the federal government in two capacities: One as a civil servant and the other in uniform as a soldier," said DeCA Director and CEO Joseph H. Jeu. "We appreciate and honor his commitment, professionalism and expertise in helping this agency deliver an effective commissary benefit."
"John has also worn several 'hats' during his commissary career, and we thank him for his dedicated service to our patrons," Jeu added.
Owens joined DeCA in 2010 as director of internal audit. Two years later in 2012, the agency merged its IG, security and internal audit offices under one directorate. In 2015, the security office was moved under the Chief Performance Office.
During his tenure as the IG, Owens directed and managed inspection site visits to agency activities. His job also involved evaluating allegations, complaints and disclosures of fraud, waste and abuse, and allegations of misconduct and mismanagement affecting DeCA activities. As the agency's chief auditor, Owens' team examined and audited various systems, operations, programs and procedures.
In the area of security, he managed the agency's antiterrorism, counterintelligence, critical infrastructure protection, force protection, information and operations security, and personnel and physical security programs.
"I am proud of my teams' dedicated efforts in safeguarding commissary operations, and deterring, preventing and detecting fraudulent activities agency wide," Owens said shortly before his retirement. "We are the DeCA director's eyes and ears, and as we deliver this valued benefit, it's our job to be transparent to the American taxpayer."
Owens entered the U.S. Army in 1981 as a quartermaster officer. As a captain he served as a commissary officer of the Taegu and Camp Carroll commissaries in Korea for the Army Troop Support Agency. During his active-duty career, he also served in Germany, North Carolina and Virginia, and progressed in rank to major. He transitioned from active duty in 1992 to the U.S. Army Reserve.
While with the Reserves in 1996-97, Owens deployed to Germany and Bosnia as part of Operations Joint Endeavor and Joint Guard. In 2002-2003, he deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and later to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to support detainee operations. He is branch qualified as an Army logistician and comptroller officer, having military specialty skills as an inspector general, auditor and commissary officer.
Owens retired from the Army in 2011 as a colonel after serving 30 years in the active and reserve components.
He entered civil service in 1992 as an auditor with the DOD Office of the Inspector General in the Pentagon. Over the next 18 years he served in various positions in that office, progressing in rank from senior auditor to program director and then on to audit program manager.
Owens is a DOD level III-certified logistics auditor and evaluator, and was named 1995 Office of the Inspector General Auditor of the Year.
His military awards and honors include the Bronze Star, Secretary of Defense Medal for the Global War on Terrorism and the Afghanistan and Iraq Campaign medals.
He earned a Bachelor of Science in accounting from Virginia State University, Petersburg, Virginia, in 1981.
John N. Williams
Throughout his commissary career, Williams has served in a multitude of assignments. During the latter part of his career, he served as DeCA's deputy inspector general from June 2008 to August 2010. Later, from 2010 to 2011, he was the acting director of workforce development, where he oversaw the development of the agency's future leaders.
After a brief stint as a business management analyst, he returned to the IG in 2012 as a supervisor of the investigation division, where he led the IG Office's 11-member IG team, and until 2015, also supervised the 11-member IG security team.
Williams started his commissary career as a part-time cashier at the Fort Benning Commissary, Georgia, in 1979. He moved up through the ranks and held many assignments within DeCA at store, zone, region and headquarters levels in the United States and overseas.
He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in organizational management from Ashford University in Clinton, Iowa, where he graduated with the highest honors, and an associate degree in liberal arts from Saint Leo University.
Williams also received recognition from the Association of Inspectors General as a certified inspector general and is a U.S. Army Inspector General School graduate.
His awards include the Commander's Award for Civilian Service; DeCA's Top Achievement Award, Commissary Successor Development Program; and DeCA Top Communicator Award; and he is a two-time recipient of DeCA's Superior Civilian Service Award.
About DeCA: The Defense Commissary Agency operates a worldwide chain of commissaries providing groceries to military personnel, retirees and their families in a safe and secure shopping environment. Commissaries provide a military benefit and make no profit on the sale of merchandise. Authorized patrons purchase items at cost plus a 5-percent surcharge, which covers the costs of building new commissaries and modernizing existing ones. By shopping regularly in the commissary, patrons save thousands of dollars annually. A core military family support element, and a valued part of military pay and benefits, commissaries contribute to family readiness, enhance the quality of life for America's military and their families, and help recruit and retain the best and brightest men and women to serve their country.
Kevin L. Robinson
(804) 734-8000, Ext. 4-8773