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DOD Appoints Lyft’s Craig Martell as Chief Digital and AI Officer

Craig Martell,

Chief Digital and AI

Officer, DOD

DOD Appoints Lyft’s Craig Martell as Chief Digital and AI Officer

The Department of Defense has appointed Craig Martell, a former executive at rideshare company Lyft, as its first permanent chief digital and artificial intelligence officer.

Martell will take over the duties of DOD Chief Information Officer John Sherman, who served as CDAO in an acting capacity.

In his new role, Martell will be in charge of driving efforts to give warfighters a decision-making advantage through data, analytics, digital solutions and AI technologies, the DOD said Monday.

The Pentagon launched the CDAO office in February to strengthen the integration of data analytics and digital solutions. According to a DOD press release, the newly created role oversees the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center, the data officer and the Defense Digital Service.

The CDAO is also tasked with scaling proven digital and AI-based solutions and ensuring the availability of digital resources in times of crises and emergent challenges, the DOD said in a Feb. 1 memo.

Martell most recently served as the head of machine learning at Lyft. Prior to joining the Silicon Valley company, he participated in AI-related and machine learning efforts at Dropbox and LinkedIn.

He was previously a tenured computer science professor at the Naval Postgraduate School, with a focus on natural language processing. 

Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks said that AI and machine learning will play an important role in addressing current and future challenges. 

“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 added.

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