Executive Mosaic is honored to present Raj Iyer, chief information officer (CIO) for the U.S. Army, as a 2021 Wash100 Award recipient for driving new information technology (IT) initiatives, introducing advanced modernization priorities and preparing the service branch to compete in the future of digital warfare.
This marks Iyer’s first Wash100 Award. In Nov. 2020, Iyer, former managing director in the government and public services practice at Deloitte Consulting, was appointed as the U.S. Army’s first civilian CIO.
Iyer assumed his new position following the separation of the Army CIO/G-6 organization into two functions, as part of efforts to address multidomain operational requirements across the information technology (IT) and cyber domains. As the CIO, Iyer has worked to implement the service branch’s programs and policies related to IT architecture, cybersecurity, cloud and enterprise data management.
“This move was not one that I had planned, but the call for public service is my duty,” Iyer wrote in a LinkedIn post announcing the news. “It’s also an exciting opportunity to put technology front and center to Army modernization leveraging cloud, AI and data analytics to achieve digital overmatch against our adversaries.”
Following his appointment, Iyer stated that he will drive more discipline into the service’s IT strategies, ensure the U.S. Army adheres to the IT spending levels it’s promised Congress and implement a “ruthless” approach to reduce legacy systems. Iyer added that one of his first tasks will be to eliminate outdated policy strictures.
“If there is a commander in the field that wants to leverage technology to meet the mission outcomes and there’s some policy that’s standing in the way, that’s the first thing we’re going to go after,” Iyer said. “We’ll have to make sure we balance that against cyber risks and acquisition laws and everything else we have to comply with, but I believe today the Army continues to be hampered and constrained by legacy policies.”
Additionally, Iyer will mitigate inadequate IT governance structures. To do this, he will work to launch a new governance body called the Army Digital Oversight Council (ADOC). The CIO would chair that council, which would parallel the role of a board of directors. The Council would support the U.S. Army’s decision making across digital challenges, priorities and solutions.
ADOC would report directly to the vice chief of staff of the Army and the Army undersecretary. In addition to the CIO, the council’s membership would also include major commands and other IT stakeholders throughout the service branch.
“This is all about change management and asking the Army to do something that it has never done before, so I’m taking the time to talk to my peers and to the four-star commanders to get their buy in,” he said. “Meanwhile, I’m having good conversations, informal discussions. It’s been very, very positive. Everybody wants a CIO, and now the challenge is going to be we have to deliver.”
Iyer will also use his influence to actively advise on the Army’s IT budget and spending. “It’s about a $4.5 billion per year part of the portfolio,” Iyer said. “But then I also have to worry about the business systems portfolio … that’s a huge component that includes things like how we’re going to converge our enterprise business systems.”
He will leverage Technology Business Management (TBM) to help make actionable business decisions. “We’re going to mandate the use of TBM across the Army to make sure that our IT investments are aligned to mission outcomes,” Iyer said.
Under Iyer’s command, he has also initiated the development of an enterprise digital strategy. In Jan. 2021, he outlined his IT reform priorities to better align its IT positions as the service unifies its global enterprise and tactical networks. His plan will help the Army prepare its workforce for the digital age by changing culture and fostering innovation.
“It’s about how we leverage technologies, and how we’re going to … leapfrog into the future with digital transformation,” he said. “But along with that, we’re going to need digital skills, talent management.”
Iyer noted that he will work to manage the Army’s IT portfolio like a business by controlling costs and increasing revenue. He added that the service branch should also revise policies to simplify acquisition and sustain new technologies, including cloud computing, to prepare the Army for the digital battlefield.
Executive Mosaic congratulates Raj Iyer and the U.S. Army on receiving his first Wash100 Award in 2021. His efforts will continue to advance the service branch’s modernization initiatives, IT budget and spending and competitiveness in the battlefield.
During GovConWire’s Army: IT Management and Transformation Forum, notable federal and industry leaders will discuss The service branch’s IT reform, strategies and priorities, as well as technology management and transformation.
Featuring Raj Iyer as the keynote speaker, visit GovConWire Events to join our event to learn more about the Army’s digital transformation, modernization and cybersecurity initiatives, in addition to how industry can help meet critical missions in 2021 and beyond.