Ted Kaufman - United States Senator for Delaware

Great Federal Employees Initiative

Honoree for Week of October 12, 2009

Zalmai Azmi

Former Chief Information Officer, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)

Zalmai Azmi was fourteen years old when he fled with his family from Afghanistan. He arrived in the United States speaking very little English, and he became fluent while in high school. Wishing to give back to the nation that gave him refuge, he eventually joined the Marine Corps, serving for seven years as a communications and intelligence specialist and also training in special operations. While in the Marines, Zalmai studied computer science, and he obtained a bachelor’s degree in the field from The American University and a master’s from The George Washington University. In the early 1990s, Zalmai continued his federal career by moving from the military into the civil service. He was working as the Chief Information Officer for the Executive Office of the U.S. Attorneys when the September 11 attacks occurred. Just weeks later, he volunteered to be dropped into Afghanistan as part of a Marines special operations team. In the two years that followed, Zalmai, who is fluent in Dari, Farsi, and Pashto, served two tours of duty in Afghanistan. While at home, he was detailed to the CIA’s Counter Terrorism Center. In 2004, FBI Director Robert Mueller appointed him as the Bureau’s Chief Information Officer. In that role, Zalmai led the effort to revamp the FBI’s Virtual Case File system and helped transform its IT infrastructure to meet the needs of a post-9/11 environment. He was honored with the prestigious Arthur S. Fleming Award for Applied Science and Technology in 2002, which is presented annually to an outstanding public servant. Additionally, he won a Distinguished Presidential Rank Award.

Read Senator Kaufman's full remarks on Zalmai Azmi HERE

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