U.S. CTO Kratsios gets second job as Pentagon CTO

President Donald Trump, joined by Michael Kratsios, signs a presidential memo for continued testing of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS)-drones, at his Oval Office desk Oct. 25, 2017. (White House / Shealah Craighead)


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U.S. Chief Technology Officer Michael Kratsios was designated acting undersecretary of Defense for research and engineering by Secretary of Defense Mark Esper on Friday.

Confirmed as U.S. CTO in August, Kratsios has overseen the launch of the American AI Initiative, National Quantum Coordination Office and COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium.

Kratsios has also been involved in efforts to expand 5G wireless and broadband communication around the country.

He will keep the White House job while also serving in the Pentagon role, according to a White House spokesperson.

“In seeking to fill this position we wanted someone with experience in identifying and developing new technologies and working closely with a wide range of industry partners,” Esper said in a Monday announcement. “We think Michael is the right person for this job and we are excited to have him on the team.”

The undersecretary for research and engineering operates as a de facto CTO for the DOD. Michael Griffin served in the role for two years, before suddenly resigning late last month along with his deputy, Lisa Porter.

Kratsios has led U.S. delegations at the Group of Seven (G-7), Group of 20 (G-20) and Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

Mark Lewis will serve as acting deputy undersecretary of Defense for research and engineering while retaining his position as director of defense research and engineering for modernization.

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5G, American AI Initiative, COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium, Department of Defense (DOD), Mark Esper, Michael Kratsios, National Quantum Coordination Office