The Defense Department (DoD) has named Diane Staheli chief of Responsible AI within the Pentagon’s recently created Chief Digital and AI Office (CDAO).

In a LinkedIn posting, Staheli confirmed that she will be taking on the new position, and stated she is “excited to share what’s next, and honored to be taking on this role.”

While DoD’s CDAO is a relatively new organization that only began operations in February 2022, the department’s focus on responsible uses of artificial intelligence technologies goes back to the Pentagon’s Joint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC).

Late last year, Alka Patel stepped down as the Responsible AI Lead at JAIC.  She began the position in January 2020 with a mission of implementing ethical AI and related policies at JAIC.

When DoD created CDAO earlier this year, Pentagon said the new office would function would

“lead and oversee DoD’s strategy development and policy formulation for data, analytics, and AI,” work to break down barriers to data and AI adoption within appropriate DoD institutional processes; and create enabling digital infrastructure and services that support Components’ development and deployment of data, analysis, AI and digital-enabled solutions.

Prior to coming to DoD, Staheli worked at MIT Lincoln Laboratory for over 11 years on artificial intelligence technology, informatics and decision making as well as cyber systems and operations. MIT Lincoln is a federally funded research and development center working to apply advanced technologies to national security problems.

Earlier in her career, Staheli was a manager of web projects and infrastructure at RSA.

Staheli has an extensive educational background that includes a bachelor’s degree in communications, studio art, and film from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She also holds a master’s degree in software engineering from Harvard University, and another master’s degree in human factors in information design from Bentley University.

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Jose Rascon
Jose Rascon
Jose Rascon is a MeriTalk Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.