Data Innovation Forum
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Data Innovation Forum

June 15th, 2021 9:00am EST   ON24

With the role of information technology (IT) heavily influencing U.S. military matters and growing at an increasingly rapid pace, the U.S. government and its commercial partners must remain on the cutting edge of data processing technology to retain its competitive advantage over our nation’s adversaries. 

GovConWire Events will host its Data Innovation Forum on June 15th to explore the federal government’s modernization data strategy, innovation in the artificial intelligence and machine learning data processing industry and how to better process and protect sensitive data.

David Sprik, Chief Data Officer of the DOD, will serve as the forum’s keynote speaker. He will address the DOD’s defense data strategy, plans for commercial data, analytics, AI and emerging data processing technologies.
  • Chris Borneman
    Chris Borneman - Panelist
    CTO, Software AG Government Solutions

    Chris Borneman is CTO at Software AG Government Solutions. In his role, he is responsible for defining technology requirements that support our business strategy within the Aerospace and Defense and Federal markets. Also, given his experience designing and building cloud-based supply chain networks, managing integration-based modernization programs, and performing various data center migrations and expansions within the aerospace and defense industry, Chris is often recruited to guide customer technology groups in their transformation initiatives. Prior to joining, Chris was recruited to build the technology group and product offerings for Exostar, a joint venture of The Boeing Company, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, BAE Systems and Rolls-Royce. He grew their transaction engine from <$1M transactional volume in 2001 to $36B+ annually in goods and services transacting through the system while supporting millions of individual transactions. Chris was also part of a small team, launched joint venture between ARINC, Exostar, and SITA to form CertiPath which established a cross-certification identity bridge for the aerospace and defense industry. Chris was integral in the development of the business model and formation of the company, creating the first aerospace and defense PKI bridge; which later became the first industry bridge to cross certify with the U.S. Federal Bridge Certificate Authority (FBCA). He served as one of six founding board members, and reviewed and approved new service offerings ensuring compatibility with company vision, meeting fiscal objectives, and managing corporate risk profile. In 2006, Chris was a part of a five person team that developed and received patent to enable explicit and multilateral trust across a community of federated servers via a network. The trust model allows multiple organizations to be their own credential issuer for their employees, while other organizations can serve as relying parties to grant authorizations based upon the authentications of the credential issuer. Chris is a well-recognized industry leader, receiving SmartCEO Magazine’s Top 10 Technology Executives in 2009, Computerworld’s Premier 100 IT Leaders of 2000, and InfoWorld’s Top 100 CTOs designation. He also has solutions delivered to market recognized by Forbes “Best of the Web” and PC Magazine Editor’s Choice Award and has authored numerous articles published in major professional journals. Chris holds a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science from Northern Illinois University.

  • Gregg Melanson
    Gregg Melanson -
    Executive Vice President Business Development, Illuminate Mission Solutions (IMS)

    Gregg Melanson is the Executive Vice President and General Manager for U.S. Operations at Illuminate. In this role, Melanson leads a team focused on delivering Data Science, Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning, Cyber Security, and 5G Telecommunications offerings within the U.S. Intelligence Community, Department of Defense, and Federal Law Enforcement. Throughout his career, Melanson has worked at both large and small companies including positions at Sprint, C-Technologies, PPC, CyberCore, NCI, and the Walt Disney Company. Melanson is a member of the University of Central Florida, College of Engineering and Computer Science Dean’s Advisory Board. He was recently named a ‘Rising Star of GovCon’ by DCA and has been involved with several industry groups. Melanson holds degrees from University of Central Florida and George Washington University.

  • Thomas Sasala
    Thomas Sasala -
    Chief Data Officer, U.S. Navy

    As the Chief Data Officer for the Department of the Navy (DON), Mr. Sasala leads the Department’s efforts on data management, information resources management, data governance, and Naval data policies. Mr. Sasala is responsible for implementing the OPEN Government Data Act, training the Naval workforce on data and data analytics, and making high quality, timely data available to decision-makers and warfighters. He advises and assists the SECNAV and UNSECNAV in the execution of their statutory responsibilities, establishes data priorities for the DON in support of the National Defense Strategy, and drives change through the Business Operations Plan and Data Strategy Implementation Plan. Mr. Sasala leads data transformation for the Department and works closely with the Office of Secretary of Defense (OSD) on DoD-wide data policies, tactics, and techniques to improve DON decision-making. Mr. Sasala previously led data management activities in the business mission area at the Office of the Chief Management Officer (OCMO). In that capacity, he focused on optimizing business operations, streamlining defense business systems, and establishing enterprise-wide interoperability standards for Naval business systems. Prior to joining the Department of the Navy, Mr. Sasala served as Director of Operations and Architecture for U.S. Army CIO/G-6 and the Chief Data Officer for the U.S. Army. He led data governance and analytics across the Army, was responsible for the implementation and migration to cloud computing solutions, and developed segment and systems architectures for the Army. Mr. Sasala was also the Chief Technology Officer for the Joint Service Provider and the U.S. Army Information Technology Agency (ITA) where he was responsible for the modernization of Pentagon information technology solutions. Mr. Sasala began his career as a student trainee at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL). After graduating from the Pennsylvania State University with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering, he returned to NRL and pursued his Master of Science in Telecommunication and Computers. While serving at NRL, Mr. Sasala led a variety of mission critical projects including advance research and development in public key cryptography, software-defined agile cryptography and key management, and the modernization of strategic communication solutions for nuclear command and control systems. After leaving NRL, Mr. Sasala joined the private sector where he supported a number of clients as a government consultant. His many roles include Chief Architect for the All-Source Analytics Environment, Chief Architect and technical advisor for the Analytic Transformation (AT) program, and Program Manager for various initiatives within the defense and intelligence spaces. Additionally, Mr. Sasala spent almost two years developing cutting-edge data and training solutions at the Internet startup targeting the public educational market. In 2014 Mr. Sasala received the Bold Award for Innovation, recognizing his creative problem-solving, technical acumen, ambition, and persistence. In 2015, Mr. Sasala was named a “Fed 100” honoring the top 100 contributors across Federal, state, and local governments.

  • Randy Soper
    Randy Soper - Moderator
    Lead Data Strategist, Illuminate Mission Solutions (IMS)

    Randy Soper is Lead Data Strategist for Illuminate. In this role he architects end-to-end data, analytic, and operations solutions for national security customers. He is a thought leader and implementation expert in human-machine teaming, AI assurance, digital transformation, and data science-mission integration. Randy also volunteers for the IEEE professional association. He serves on the international AI Standards Committee as well as working groups for AI governance and ethics. Prior to joining Illuminate, Randy was a civilian employee of the Department of Defense supporting targeting and intelligence missions. He was also a research and development engineer in industry. Randy has numerous technical publications in the areas of data science, control theory, and applied mathematics. He holds a BS and MS in mechanical engineering from Virginia Tech

  • David Spirk
    David Spirk - Keynote
    Chief Data Officer, U.S. Department of Defense (DOD)

    David Spirk was named the Chief Data Officer (CDO) within the office of Chief Information Officer on June 22, 2020. David will be responsible for strengthening data management across the DoD and accelerating the transition to a data-centric culture. Additionally he will oversee key enablers including the data governance process, data standards and policies, and the promotion of data acumen across the DoD workforce. David will also oversee implementation of a new DoD Data Strategy. Previously David was the United States Special Operations Command’s (USSOCOM) first-generation Chief Data Officer since August 2018, a role in which he is responsible for the creation of a data-driven decision-making culture while leading the integration of Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning/automation across the US Special Forces enterprise. Immediately prior to this assignment, Dave was the Associate Director of Technology Investment at the Secretary of the Air Force’s (SECAF) Concept Development and Management Office for Advanced Analytics and Technology Investment. Since 2016, Dave was responsible for advising SECAF and Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence leadership on industry leading technology required to advance the Defense Intelligence Enterprise mission across operational and functional requirements. Spirk was the first United States Marine Corps (USMC) Intelligence Specialist in Afghanistan after the attacks on September 11, 2001 where as a member of Task Force-58, more specifically the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable), he participated in the seizure of Kandahar Airfield and the reopening of the American Embassy in Kabul. Following his time in Afghanistan, Dave received orders to United States Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM). While working at USSOUTHCOM he deployed to Colombia numerous times, totaling over 18 months in country, and held various analytic/targeting positions before leaving the Marine Corps when asked by the USSOUTHCOM Director of Intelligence to support a Venezuela Division as a Department of Army Civilian. During this time, Dave served as the USSOUTHCOM Commander’s principal briefer for distinguished visitors and Strategic Planning Process' Mission Panel Chair for Ensure Domain Awareness out of which arose the Partnership for the Americas Command Center. Dave joined the Office of the Director of National Intelligence in June 2007 to be the Chief of Operations for the Cuba/Venezuela Mission Manager where he also took the lead role in developing and implementing the US Intelligence Community's strategy to support US Interagency and Government of Mexico efforts against the expanding influence and violence of drug cartels. Dave is a former-Marine that served across echelons at various east coast USMC elements that set the stage for many deployments throughout the Balkans, Africa, and South Asia. In 2009, he was selected by the Director of National Intelligence to stand up the Associate Director of National Intelligence for Afghanistan and Pakistan (ADNI Af/Pak) and was retained by the ADNI Af/Pak to serve as its Deputy and Chief of Operations. Spirk joined the USSOCOM Intelligence Directorate in March 2015 and assumed the position of Associate Director. Before the shift to USSOCOM, he served as the Deputy Director of Intelligence at United States Central Command (USCENTCOM). As the Deputy Director of Intelligence for Operations, Spirk led the USCENTCOM J2's Divisions for Operations, Plans, Intelligence Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR), and Foreign Disclosure/Special Security Office. Spirk arrived at USCENTCOM in August of 2010 but quickly moved forward to Afghanistan to serve as the Commander of the International Security and Assistance Force's Senior Intelligence Advisor.

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