Homeland Security Today
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DoD Names Chief Digital and AI Officer

April 28, 2022
Dr. Craig Martell, with experience in AI and ML at LinkedIn and Dropbox, has been named the first head of the CDAO.

The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) appointed Dr. Craig Martell as its first Chief Digital and Artificial Intelligence (AI) Officer (CDAO). Dr. Martell recently served as the head of machine learning (ML) for the ride-hailing service company Lyft. He brings extensive experience in AI and ML technologies; for example, helping Lyft explore the possibilities of using “self-driving” vehicles as part of its ride-hailing services. He also was head of ML at Dropbox and led several AI teams at LinkedIn.

Prior to working at LinkedIn, Martell was a tenured computer science professor specializing in natural-language processing at the Naval Postgraduate School. As the head of CDAO, he will serve as that department’s senior official tasked with accelerating the adoption of AI, data analytics, digital analysis, and ML as part of the decision-making process from military planning stages to the battlefield. 

Deputy Secretary of Defense Dr. Kathleen H. Hicks noted, “Advances in AI and machine learning are critical to delivering the capabilities we need to address key challenges both today and into the future.” She added, “With Craig’s appointment, we hope to see the department increase the speed at which we develop and field advances in AI, data analytics, and machine-learning technology. He brings cutting-edge industry experience to apply to our unique mission set.” 

The CDAO office has been formed to focus on AI and digital technology strategy developments and integration with mission assignments. One goal is tighter integration of AI, cyber organizations, and data throughout the various groups within the DoD. The establishment of the new office is meant to improve alignment and synchronization of “intelligent” machine and robotic computer systems to achieve the greatest benefits during strategic organization and when in the battlefield.

About the Author

Jack Browne | Technical Contributor

Jack Browne, Technical Contributor, has worked in technical publishing for over 30 years. He managed the content and production of three technical journals while at the American Institute of Physics, including Medical Physics and the Journal of Vacuum Science & Technology. He has been a Publisher and Editor for Penton Media, started the firm’s Wireless Symposium & Exhibition trade show in 1993, and currently serves as Technical Contributor for that company's Microwaves & RF magazine. Browne, who holds a BS in Mathematics from City College of New York and BA degrees in English and Philosophy from Fordham University, is a member of the IEEE.

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