Army’s 18th Airborne Corps hires former Exxon executive as CTO

A solider at Fort Bragg, home to the 18th Airborne Corps where Project Ridgway aims to turn it into an "AI-enabled force." (U.S. Army Photo by Pfc. Joshua Cowden / 22nd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

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The Army’s elite 18th Airborne Corps hired its own chief technology officer, a key part of its push to modernize the service’s operations.

Jared Summers was hired through a “highly qualified expert” contract, which allows outside experts to quickly be brought into government. Summers previously worked as the CTO and chief digital officer for Exxon Mobil and before that in a variety of roles in the Pentagon and across the military.

Based out of Fort Bragg, N.C., the 18th Airborne Corps is known as the U.S.’s “contingency forces,” ready to deploy anywhere in the world within 18 hours’ notice.

Summers appears to be the only corps-level CTO in the Army.

“It’s a great honor to serve in America’s Contingency Corps where I hope to advance the Corps’ technological and innovative efforts across all units and echelons,” Summers told FedScoop in a statement.

Summers joins the 18th Airborne Corps as it works to be the first “AI-ready” corps through its modernization project dubbed Project Ridgway. Hiring a CTO was one of the project’s key lines of effort. Other initiatives include sending soldiers to data boot camps and launching its own “Shark Tank”-style pitch events for soldier-made apps called Dragon’s Layer.

“Hiring Jared Summers, a corporate leader in data, analytics, and technology, as the XVIII Airborne Corps Chief Technology Officer is a significant step toward the development of a data-centric corps,” said Col. Joe Buccino, the corps’ spokesman. “Bringing a civilian executive with such significant industry experience into a corps leadership position demonstrates our commitment to building a culture of innovation across all units.”

The job description, reviewed by FedScoop, lists cloud adoption as one of the primary major duties.

“The [CTO] uses their expertise to champion the use of modern technology development and agile methodology while drawing heavily upon best practices from the technology industry
such as open source and cloud capability and capacity,” according to the description.

Other areas include talent management, collaboration with experts and stakeholders, and identifying emerging technologies for enterprise use.

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18th Airborne Corps, Army, CTO, Jared Summers, Modernization, Project Ridgway
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