Pentagon’s new CDAO unveils fresh hires on her leadership team

The Pentagon’s Chief Digital and Artificial Intelligence Office hired a slate of four new leaders.
River entrance of the U.S. Department of Defense. (Getty Images)

The Pentagon’s Chief Digital and Artificial Intelligence Office recently hired a slate of four new leaders to help further drive digital infrastructure and policy adoption across the department, CDAO Rhada Plumb announced Wednesday.

“We are going through the process of announcing a new leadership team. But more broadly, we brought in a complement of experts within CDAO and forward at the [combatant commands] to help with data solutions,” she said during her first-ever keynote as the office’s chief, at DefenseTalks hosted by DefenseScoop.

Shortly after her speech, a CDAO spokesperson shared the list of new hires exclusively with DefenseScoop. They include:

  • Garrett Berntsen  — deputy CDAO for mission analytics
  • Eugene Kuznetsov  — deputy CDAO for enterprise platforms and services
  • Jock Padgett — deputy CDAO for advanced C2 acceleration
  • Christopher Skaluba — executive director

According to the spokesperson, each new official has deep experience pushing for “technological excellence” across the joint force and interagency.


Berntsen previously served as the State Department’s deputy chief data and AI officer, where he was responsible for standing up the organization’s Center for Analytics. 

Kuznetsov is joining the CDAO from Naval Special Warfare, where he served as the command technology officer, and Padgett is coming from the U.S. Army XVIII Airborne Corps, where he served as the chief technology officer. 

And the new executive director, Skaluba is entering the CDAO from the Atlantic Council think tank, where he served as the director of the Transatlantic Security Initiative.

“As CDAO’s senior leadership team, we will collaborate to lead the development and oversight of policies and tools to enable the responsible adoption of data, analytics, and AI capabilities across the force, at scale and speed, to meet the warfighters  emergent requirements. I look forward to this opportunity and to working with this talented group of experts,” Plumb said Wednesday.  

Brandi Vincent

Written by Brandi Vincent

Brandi Vincent is DefenseScoop's Pentagon correspondent. She reports on emerging and disruptive technologies, and associated policies, impacting the Defense Department and its personnel. Prior to joining Scoop News Group, Brandi produced a long-form documentary and worked as a journalist at Nextgov, Snapchat and NBC Network. She was named a 2021 Paul Miller Washington Fellow by the National Press Foundation and was awarded SIIA’s 2020 Jesse H. Neal Award for Best News Coverage. Brandi grew up in Louisiana and received a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Maryland.

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