The Department of Defense (DoD) has named Dr. Craig Martell Chief Digital and AI Officer (CDAO), where he will operate as DoD’s senior official responsible for accelerating data adoption, analytics, digital solutions, and AI functions to generate decision advantage.

Martell brings to the new position years of industry experience and expertise in AI and machine learning, having most recently served as head of machine learning for Lyft. He was also the head of machine learning at Dropbox, and led AI teams and initiatives at LinkedIn.

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“Advances in AI and machine learning are critical to delivering the capabilities we need to address key challenges both today and into the future,” said Deputy Secretary of Defense Dr. Kathleen Hicks. “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.”

The Pentagon established the CDAO office in February, with DoD CIO John Sherman serving as the interim CDAO. The office achieved initial operational capability in accordance with a Dec. 8, 2021 memorandum,

“The establishment of the CDAO is an important step forward in the department’s effort to become more innovative,” said DoD in a statement. “It draws on lessons learned from the past few years and industry best practices to seize a clear opportunity to improve alignment and synchronization.”

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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.