DoD Taps Conlin as First Chief Data Officer

The U.S. Department of Defense has hired Michael Conlin, the former Chief Technology Officer for DXC Technology – an IT services contractor boasting $25 billion in revenue in 2018 – as its first-ever Chief Data Officer, a historic move that highlights the federal government’s increasing trend of turning its attention as much to cyberspace as to traditional military readiness, as well as ongoing efforts to improve data quality and availability.

According to a Pentagon spokesman, Conlin is actually already in the position, having started on July 30th.

Although Conlin is the Pentagon’s first overarching CTO, FedScoop notes that both the Army and the Air Force have already tapped their own chief data officers, pointing out that “in 2017 Maj. Gen. Kim Crider was named the Air Force CDO,” while “the Army created its own data office in 2009, which Thomas Sasala currently leads.”

Earlier this year, in filing its commercial cloud procurement request, the Pentagon noted that “accessing our data where and when it is needed, especially at the tactical edge on the battlefield” was a top priority driving the procurement.

Conlin has previously been outspoken about the need for better government data, saying in 2017, “The biggest challenge the public sector has in maximizing data is making the data available in the first place.”

“The public sector’s reflexive habit of classifying data as the default further complicates this challenge,” Conlin.

Conlin’s most recent employer, DXC Technology, was reportedly “formed in 2017 through the merger of Computer Sciences Corporation and HP Enterprise Services,” according to ExecutiveGov. Prior to that role, Conlin “also held several IT-related leadership roles at Hewlett-Packard and its former subsidiary, EDS.”

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