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The Department of Defense announces Dr. Craig Martell as Chief Digital and Artificial Intelligence Officer (CDAO). Dr. Martell brings extensive industry experience and expertise in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. 

As the CDAO, Dr. Martell will serve as the department’s senior official responsible for accelerating the adoption of data, analytics, digital solutions, and AI functions to generate decision advantage from the boardroom to the battlefield.  

“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 H. 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. He brings cutting-edge industry experience to apply to our unique mission set.” 

Dr. Martell most recently served as the head of machine learning for Lyft. Previously, he was head of machine learning at Dropbox and led a number of AI teams and initiatives at LinkedIn. Prior to LinkedIn, Mr. Martell was a tenured computer science professor at the Naval Postgraduate School specializing in natural language processing.

The CDAO office was stood up in February to elevate digital and AI strategy development and policy formulation to the secretary and deputy secretary, while also ensuring unity of mission and tighter integration for the department’s enterprise-wide data, AI, and cyber organizations.

The establishment of the CDAO is an important step forward in the department’s effort to become more innovative. 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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