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Pentagon Taps Industry Exec as AI Chief


Pentagon on circuit board, illustration

Credit: Wikimedia

The Pentagon has named Craig Martell, the head of machine learning at Lyft, as its Chief Digital and Artificial Intelligence Officer. 

The hiring of a Silicon Valley executive for the role is likely to be cheered by those in the defense community who have been calling for more technically-minded individuals to take leadership roles in the department. At the same time, Martell's lack of Pentagon experience — he was a professor at the Naval Postgraduate School, but has never worked in the department's bureaucracy — may pose challenges as he works to lead an office only months old.

Martell acknowledges both the benefits and risks of bringing in someone with his background.

"I think they [DoD] really need someone from industry who knows how to bring real AI and analytical value at scale and speed," Martell said. "On the other hand, coming from industry has a downside that I don't know my ways around the Pentagon yet."

From Breaking Defense
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