The U.S. Army recently announced that Dr. Raj Iyer will take over as the new chief information officer, the Army’s Civilian Senior Leader Management Office said in a news release.
The appointment was announced following the establishment of the new position by the Pentagon in July 2020.
Iyer will be the highest ranking Indian American civilian at the Pentagon equivalent in rank to a three-star general, the release notes.
He will supervise an annual budget of $16 billion for U.S. Army IT operations and over 15,000 civilians and military personnel in over 100 countries, it said.
Iyer replaces acting CIO Greg Garcia, who stood in after the retirement earlier of Lt. Gen. Bruce Crawford. Garcia was also serving as Army’s chief data officer, but was replaced by David Markowitz in mid-October.
“This move was not one that I had planned, but the call for public service is my duty,” Iyer wrote in a LinkedIn post. “It’s also an exciting opportunity to put technology front and center to Army modernization leveraging cloud, AI and data analytics to achieve digital overmatch against our adversaries.”
In his new role as CIO, Iyer will serve as principal advisor to the secretary of the Army, setting the strategic direction and objectives for information technology and information management.
Iyer will direct the execution of policies and programs to modernize the U.S. Army to achieve digital overmatch against near peer adversaries such as China and Russia.
The Army has committed to leveraging advanced technologies such as cloud computing, robotics and Artificial Intelligence as critical enablers for future war fighting through a concept called Multi Domain Operations, the release said.
Iyer was appointed by the secretary after a nationwide search for a CIO with private sector and government executive experience, the release adds.
Iyer comes to the service branch from Deloitte, where he was managing director for government service. Prior to working at Deloitte, Iyer worked in public service as a senior technology adviser at the Department of Health and Human Services and as chief technology officer for U.S. Army Material Command.
Iyer holds a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of Texas at Arlington, as well as an MBA from the University of Michigan.
“Leaving the firm has been the toughest decision I have had to make in my 25-year professional career,” Iyer said in his post.
Over the course of his career, Iyer has supported a range of defense and commercial clients on a number of complex enterprise transformation challenges including strategy, innovation and modernization.
He has established new organizations, including the first office of the chief technology officer in the Army, cofounded a successful technology startup, and led recovery programs such as Obamacare. He also holds a patent and has published dozens of peer reviewed papers, his bio notes.
Iyer, originally a native of Tiruchi in Tamil Nadu, grew up in Bangalore and did his undergraduate studies at National Institute of Technology Tiruchi before moving to the U.S.
He arrived in the U.S. to pursue higher studies with just enough money to pay for tuition and rent for one semester through his father’s lifetime savings, but was soon able to secure a full fellowship to complete all of his graduate education, the release said.