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DoD Announces New Chief Digital and Artificial Intelligence Officer (CDAO)

Dr. Kathleen H. Hicks, Deputy Secretary of Defense, released a memorandum yesterday establishing the new Chief Digital and AI Officer (CDAO), stating:

“The Department has made significant strides in unlocking the power of its data, harnessing artificial intelligence (AI), and providing digital solutions for the joint force. Many components have contributed to this progress. Yet stronger alignment and synchronization are needed to accelerate decision advantage and generate advanced capabilities for our warfighters.

Accordingly, effective February 1, 2022, there will be within the Office of the Secretary of Defense a new position of Chief Digital and AI Officer (CDAO), reporting directly to me and through me to the Secretary of Defense. The CDAO will serve as the Department’s senior official responsible for strengthening and integrating data, artificial intelligence, and digital solutions in the Department.”

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Benchmarks for the establishment of the office of the CDAO include:

Feb.1:  Initial operating capability (IOC)

June 1:  Target date for full operating capability (FOC)

Jan. 1, 2022Mr. James Mitre, Senior Advisor to the Deputy Secretary of Defense, will submit for approval an implementation plan to reach these IOC and FOC milestones. Mr.Mitre will work closely with all affected DoD stakeholders, congressional staff, and outside experts in developing his recommendations.

The Office of the CDAO is the successor to the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC), a DoD Center of Excellence that was stood up in June of 2018 under the Defense Department’s Chief Information Officer.   For further details on other organizational relationships changed by standing up the Office of the CDAO, see Memorandum on Establishment of the Chief Digital and Artificial Intelligence Officer (

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Daniel Pereira

Daniel Pereira

Daniel Pereira is research director at OODA. He is a foresight strategist, creative technologist, and an information communication technology (ICT) and digital media researcher with 20+ years of experience directing public/private partnerships and strategic innovation initiatives.