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Raj Iyeris CIO of US Army

Raj Iyeris CIO of US Army
January 21
15:57 2021

PRAKASH M SWAMY

NEW YORK: The US Army’s Civilian Senior Leader Management Office announced that Dr. Raj Iyer would take over as the new Chief Information Officer after the new position was established by the Pentagon in July 2020.

Dr. Iyer will be the highest-ranking Indian-American civilian at the Pentagon equivalent in rank to a three-star general. He will supervise an annual budget of $16 Billion for US Army IT operations and over 15,000 civilians and military personnel in over 100 countries.Iyer’s job will focus more on management and be the top IT adviser to the secretary of the US Army.

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 US 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. Iyer was appointed by the Secretary after a nationwide search for a CIO with private sector and Government executive experience. 

Previously, Iyer was partner and Managing Director at Deloitte Consulting LLP where he led multiple technology programs supporting Government clients. Over the course of his 26 year 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 been successful establishing new organizations – including the first CTO Office in the Army, has co-founded a successful technology startup, and has led recovery programs such as Healthcare.gov. His prior federal executive experience enables him to proactively identify implementation risks including organization change management that are critical to the success of the program.

Raj Iyer

Dr. Raj Iyer

Dr. Iyer has been successful in his professional career by building consensus among stakeholders and his ability to communicate effectively at leadership levels. Dr. Iyer is passionate about public service and makes serving the Soldier and the taxpayer as his #1 priority always.

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 in journals and conferences worldwide.

Raj Iyer comes with federal government, military and private sector technology experience. Iyer replaces Greg Garcia, who was acting CIO after the retirement of Lt. Gen. Bruce Crawford. He is the first full-time civilian to hold the CIO position, fulfilling a change Crawford made at the end of his term to split the role into military and civilian jobs.

Iyer announced his new job on his LinkedIn page. He comes to the Army from Deloitte, where he was managing director for government services. Previously, he served as a senior technology adviser at the Department Health and Human Services and as a technology official in other civilian Army posts.

“This move was not one that I had planned, but the call for public service is my duty,” Iyer wrote in a LinkedIn post announcing the news. “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.”

Lt. Gen. John Morrison is the deputy chief of staff of the G-6, Iyer’s military counterpart. Morrison was nominated for his role in July and focuses on defending the Army’s communications networks and military-related issues.

Iyer joins the service at a critical time. While still largely teleworking, the Army is also in the midst of laying its foundation of cloud-based data storage that it hopes to use to help launch its emerging technology initiatives. So far, the Army has migrated million of records to the cloud and plans to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to continue its efforts. With its data storage practices in place, the Army hopes to be able to leverage artificial intelligence and machine learning on it is data.

The Army also recently got a new chief data officer who will work on implementing the DOD’s new data strategy and likely work closely with Iyer.

Iyer holds a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Texas at Arlington along with multiple master’s degrees, including a Master of Business Administration from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor and a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering from The University of Texas at Arlington.

Dr Iyer, originally a native of Tiruchi in Tamil Nadu, grew up in Bengaluru and had his undergraduate studies at National Institute of Technology Tiruchi before moving to the US. He arrived in the US 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.

His father Manakkal K Ganesan, an engineer, retired as General Manager at Metallurgical and Engineering Consultants (MECON) was instrumental in showing him a passion for public service and the value of education and hard work.  

Dr. Iyer is married to Brindha, a healthcare IT program manager in the US Government. They have two sons – Ashwin Iyer, a freshman majoring in Data Science at the University of California at Berkeley, and AbishekIyer – a 9th grader at Centennial High School in Maryland. 

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