Pentagon names new chief data officer

By Justin Doubleday / June 19, 2020 at 1:56 PM

The Pentagon today announced Dave Spirk as its new chief data officer, a key position within the Defense Department as it looks to make rapid advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Spirk is a retired Marine who most recently served as chief data officer at U.S. Special Operations Command. He will take over for Michael Conlin, who was named the Pentagon's first ever CDO in July 2018.

Spirk will start in his new role on June 22, according to the Pentagon announcement.

Prior to his SOCOM job, Spirk was associate director of technology investment in the Air Force secretary's Concept Development and Management Office for Advanced Analytics and Technology Investment. He also served as a U.S. Marine Corps intelligence specialist in Afghanistan and at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence as the chief of operations for the Cuba and Venezuela Mission Manager.

"Effective data management is the central component of the department's Digital Modernization Strategy," DOD Chief Information Officer Dana Deasy said as part of the announcement. "Dave brings extensive experience and a thorough understanding of how data empowers joint, all-domain operations. I look forward to working with Dave as we create a strong data culture across the department."

The Fiscal Year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act shifted the CDO position out from under the Pentagon's chief management officer to the office of the DOD CIO. The CIO is responsible for leading policy and standards across DOD's digital modernization strategy, which includes cloud computing, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, and command, control, and communications as its pillars.