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Video Interview: Air Force CIO Lauren Knausenberger Shares Top Tech Focus Areas

Changes in global activity and geopolitical developments in the last few years have catalyzed a heavy focus on near-peer competition within the Department of Defense. As the DOD shifts away from its primary focus for the last two decades, counterterrorism, and toward the escalating global competition, defense leaders are reshaping their priorities to maintain and advance the country’s technological superiority.

“The things that work for one type of conflict don’t work for another type of conflict,” said Department of the Air Force Chief Information Officer Lauren Knausenberger in an exclusive video interview with Executive Mosaic. “Increasingly, a lot of the [tactics, techniques and procedures] aren’t going to work for a near-peer adversary.”

Knausenberger, a 2023 Wash100 Award winner, was named Air Force CIO in August 2020, and in her two and a half years thus far in the role, she has championed widespread information technology advancements, modernization efforts and capability enhancements across the DAF.

Lauren Knausenberger will keynote the 3rd Annual Air Force IT Modernization and Transformation Forum hosted by GovCon Wire on March 21. Register here to be a part of the conversation! 

In conversation with Executive Mosaic, Knausenberger shared her top technology focus areas that will give the U.S. a “decisive advantage” in light of recent advancements from global challengers and near-peer competitors like China and Russia.

The first of these priorities is zero trust. According to the Air Force CIO, “the whole construct [of zero trust] enables a future of multi-level security and sharing in ways that were not possible before.”

“One of the top things that we have to accomplish in the near term is we have to be fighting in one warfighting environment seamlessly with our joint partners and our allies — that’s the whole underpinning concept of JADC2,” Knausenberger said, highlighting the importance of zero trust in the future of how we partner with coalition forces.

Software, artificial intelligence and data are also areas Knausenberger called out as critical to the United States’ position in the looming global power competition.

Find out more about the CIO’s tech priorities and hear about the Air Force’s AI use cases, projects and upcoming efforts by watching Lauren Knausenberger’s full video interview. Catch more insights from GovCon’s leaders at Executive Mosaic’s YouTube channel.

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