White House chief technology officer Michael Kratsios — who enlisted Amazon, Microsoft and other key players in artificial intelligence and cloud computing to fight COVID-19 — has himself been recruited for another role as the Defense Department’s top official for technology.
President Donald Trump is designating Kratsios to serve as the acting under secretary of defense for research and engineering — in effect, the Pentagon’s CTO. Kratsios will also keep his CTO role in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
The previous under secretary in charge of defense tech, Mike Griffin, stepped down last week to pursue “a private-sector opportunity” along with his deputy.
Kratsios will be in the prime position to help the Pentagon pursue opportunities in emerging technologies such as AI, automation, quantum computing, robotics and 5G wireless services — frontiers that have drawn increasing attention under Defense Secretary Mark Esper.