Artificial intelligence is in an era of massive growth in the public sector, as evidenced by the exponentially increasing amount of AI offices, leadership and spending in recent years. As AI’s footprint continues to expand, the Department of Defense’s new office is taking up the mantle for AI innovation in the U.S.
Learn more about the future of AI and its role on the modern battlefield during the Potomac Officers Club’s 4th Annual AI Summit on Feb. 16. The DOD’s Chief Digital and Artificial Intelligence Officer Craig Martell is confirmed to keynote. Register here to save your spot!
DOD’s Chief Digital and Artificial Intelligence Office
The Office of the Chief Digital and Artificial Intelligence Officer, or CDAO, was established in December 2021 for the purpose of creating “stronger alignment and synchronization” in the DOD’s historically disparate AI efforts, according to a memo issued by Deputy Secretary Kathleen Hicks.
Reporting directly to Hicks, the CDAO was planned to succeed the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center and oversee the Defense Digital Service. In the memo, Hicks also noted that the occupant of the new role would be tasked with integrating AI, data and digital solutions into the department.
Craig Martell Appointed First-Ever CDAO
In April 2022, the DOD named Dr. Craig Martell as its first ever chief digital and artificial intelligence officer. Prior to his appointment, Martell was a tenured computer science professor at the Naval Postgraduate School specializing in natural language processing. He also previously served as head of machine learning at Dropbox and Lyft, and he led a number of AI teams and initiatives at LinkedIn.
“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,” Hicks said.
Martell assumed the post from DOD Chief Information Officer John Sherman, who served as acting CDAO prior to Martell’s appointment.
CDAO Achieves Full Operating Capability
The CDAO achieved full operating capability in June 2022, and with the FOC designation, the JAIC, Defense Digital Service and Advana were rolled under the new office.