The Pentagon has named Michael Kratsios, the White House’s chief technology officer, as its acting under secretary of defense for research and engineering. 

Kratsios will serve as the department’s top technology official following the resignation of Mike Griffin, who left the department last Friday.

Michael Kratsios, the Pentagon’s Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering

“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,” Defense Secretary Mark Esper said in a statement. “We think Michael is the right person for this job and we are excited to have him on the team.”

The 33-year-old Kratsios was confirmed by the Senate as the fourth U.S. CTO last August.

“Under his leadership, the White House has launched important national initiatives and strategic plans for artificial intelligence, quantum computing, autonomous vehicles, commercial drones, STEM education, and advanced manufacturing. He has been integral in the president’s efforts to expand 5G and broadband communications nationwide,” the Pentagon wrote in a statement. “Mr. Kratsios is responsible for architecting the American AI Initiative, standing up the National Quantum Coordination Office, and, most recently, launching of the COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium.”

Griffin, along with Lisa Porter, his deputy under secretary, announced their intentions to leave the department last month for private sector opportunities (Defense Daily, June 23). 

Mark Lewis will serve as Kratsios’ acting deputy, while retaining his role as the Research & Engineering office’s lead official for modernization.