Meet the 2024 DefenseScoop 50 Awards winners

Now in their second year, the DefenseScoop 50 awards honor the most influential people and projects across the defense technology community.

Scoop News Group is thrilled to announce the winners of the 2024 DefenseScoop 50 Awards.

Now in their second year, the DefenseScoop 50 Awards honor the trailblazers and leaders in and outside the U.S. military who are dedicated to using modern technology to revolutionize defense.

DefenseScoop was created in 2022 to be the premier news source dedicated to the U.S. military’s acquisition, development and use of technology as a force for modern defense. And now, nearly two years since its launch, the publication looks to continue to raise awareness and celebrate the outstanding achievements of the defense visionaries who are driving that effort.

The list of award winners is comprised of leaders and programs from across the Department of Defense and industry that are shaping how technology is becoming a central fixture in deterring and defending against emerging threats.

Over the course of several months, DefenseScoop readers nominated hundreds of leaders and programs across five categories and ultimately voted for the top 50 for this second annual list, tallying more than 1 million votes.

Please join us in congratulating the winners, listed below alphabetically by each category, and sharing the list across social media and other platforms.

The winners:

Venice Goodwine

CIO, Department of the Air Force

Golden Defense

Venice Goodwine is the Chief Information Officer for the Department of the Air Force, leading the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Space Force’s IT infrastructure. A member of the Senior Executive Service, she manages a $17 billion portfolio and oversees three key directorates: Enterprise IT, Data & Artificial Intelligence, and Cybersecurity. Goodwine boasts a distinguished career spanning over 26 years, including active and reserve military service, government work, and private industry experience.

Gen. Timothy Haugh

Commander, U.S. Cyber Command

Golden Defense

Gen. Timothy D. Haugh is a United States Air Force officer currently holding the prestigious position of Commander of U.S. Cyber Command. Additionally, he serves as the Director of the National Security Agency (NSA) and Chief of the Central Security Service (CSS). Prior to this appointment, Gen. Haugh gained extensive experience leading cyber operations. He previously commanded the Sixteenth Air Force, a key component of Air Forces Cyber, and the Cyber National Mission Force.  His distinguished career includes serving as Deputy Commander of U.S. Cyber Command, demonstrating his expertise in cybersecurity matters.

Kathleen Hicks

Deputy Secretary of Defense, Department of Defense

Golden Defense

As the 35th deputy secretary of defense, Kathleen Hicks is the Department of Defense’s No.2 official responsible for executing on Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin’s priorities and overseeing day-to-day operations across the Pentagon, including budget activities. Since coming into office in 2021, Hicks has made the modernization and adoption of emerging tech a major focus for the DOD. Specifically, she’s played a lead role in standing up the Pentagon’s Chief Digital and AI Office and bringing to life the department’s Replicator initiative, which is meant to accelerate programs and field thousands of “attritable autonomous” systems across multiple domains by August 2025, to help the U.S. armed forces counter China’s military buildup. 

Wanda Jones-Heath

Principal Cyber Adviser, Department of the Air Force

Golden Defense

After serving as the CISO of the Air Force for a number of years, Wanda Jones-Heath took on the top cybersecurity role in the Department of the Air Force as principal cyber adviser in 2020. Now, almost four years later, Jones-Heath is focused on synchronizing, coordinating and overseeing the implementation of the DAF Cyber Strategy and advising the Secretary of the Air Force on all cyber programs, particularly as the service makes large strides to deliver a zero-trust cybersecurity architecture. 

Sen. Gary Peters

D-Michigan, U.S. Senate

Golden Defense

As a senator for the state of Michigan, Gary Peters has made a name championing the responsible and effective adoption and use of technology across the Department of Defense through his legislation and oversight. Peters serves on several Senate Armed Services subcommittees, including the Subcommittee on Cybersecurity and the Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities. Over the past year, Peters has attached his name to notable tech legislation, including measures in the 2024 NDAA that encouraged the adoption of dual-use technologies and counter-drone defense, as well as standalone bills that support the nation’s AI workforce pipeline and research and development of emerging technologies for defense.

Jane Rathbun

CIO, Department of the Navy

Golden Defense

As the Department of the Navy’s Chief Information Officer, Jane Rathbun is focused on driving organizational change and delivering IT modernization across the sprawling enterprise. She has almost three decades of public sector experience in the defense and space sectors and has served as a senior leader in multiple capacities including as Acting Division Chief for the Strategic Capabilities and Analysis Division for U.S. Africa Command and as Deputy Director of Defense Business Systems at the Pentagon. In her current capacity, Rathbun seeks to enable the continuous improvement and innovation of the DON’s $12+ billion Information Technology portfolio.

John Sherman

CIO, Department of Defense

Golden Defense

John Sherman is the Chief Information Officer of the Department of Defense, sworn in December 2021. Previously, he served as the Acting DOD CIO and Principal Deputy CIO. In his role, he advises the Secretary of Defense on IT matters and oversees critical areas like cybersecurity, cloud computing, and information assurance. Sherman brings extensive experience from his time as the Intelligence Community CIO, where he led modernization efforts for 17 agencies.

Lt. Gen. Robert Skinner

Director, Defense Information Systems Agency

Golden Defense

Lt. Gen. Robert Skinner is a high-ranking officer in the United States Air Force. Currently, he serves as the Director of the Defense Information Systems Agency and the Commander of the Joint Force Headquarters-Department of Defense Information Network (JFHQ-DODIN). In this role, Lt. Gen. Skinner leads a global network with nearly 19,000 personnel managing critical communication infrastructure for the Department of Defense. He oversees operations in over 42 countries, ensuring secure and reliable information flow for the President, Secretary of Defense, and military forces worldwide.

Young Bang

Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Acquisition, Logistics & Technology, U.S. Army

Defense Leadership

Young Bang is the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Army’s Acquisition, Logistics & Technology (ASA(ALT)) division. A seasoned leader with experience in both the military and private sector, Bang advises Army leadership on acquiring cutting-edge technologies like robotics and AI. Prior to his current role, Bang held leadership positions in the Army and then transitioned to the private sector, working for companies focused on growth and technology development.  He leverages this experience to help the Army modernize its capabilities and stay ahead of future threats.

Leslie Beavers

Principal Deputy CIO, Department of Defense

Defense Leadership

After beginning her career as an intelligence officer in the United States Air Force and serving in various roles before retiring as a reserve brigadier general with the Joint Staff J2, Leslie Beavers was named in May 2023 as the principal deputy CIO for the Department of Defense, working to support the priorities of CIO John Sherman. In this role as the Pentagon’s No. 2 IT official, Beavers leads engagement with the defense agencies and field activities CIOs and drives strategic resource planning across the IT and cybersecurity domains. She’s also been instrumental in leading the DOD’s work to improve user experience of digital tools for warfighters. Beavers has over 15 years of experience in the private sector working in the entertainment, healthcare, and oil and gas industries.

Alexis Bonnell

CIO, Air Force Research Laboratory

Defense Leadership

Alexis Bonnell, the Chief Information Officer of the Air Force Research Laboratory, is a visionary leader at the forefront of advancing technological innovation within the Air Force. With a distinguished background in technology and strategic management, Bonnell drives transformative initiatives to bolster AFRL’s research capabilities and operational efficiency. Her strategic vision encompasses harnessing emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and quantum computing to address complex challenges facing the Air Force. Bonnell’s commitment to fostering a culture of innovation and collaboration positions her as a driving force behind AFRL’s mission to revolutionize air and space capabilities for national security.

Lt. Gen. DeAnna Burt

Deputy Chief of Space Operations for Operations, Cyber, and Nuclear, U.S. Space Force

Defense Leadership

Lt. Gen. DeAnna Burt is a senior officer in the United States Space Force, serving as the Deputy Chief of Space Operations for Operations, Cyber, and Nuclear. She’s responsible for the Space Force’s day-to-day operations, keeping its systems running, and overseeing its cyber and nuclear defense strategies. She’s a trailblazer, becoming the first female major general and second female general officer in the Space Force. Her career spans decades, with experience commanding various space squadrons and wings. She is a graduate of the prestigious Air Force Weapons School and holds a key leadership role in the nation’s space defense.

Doug Cossa

CIO, Defense Intelligence Agency

Defense Leadership

Doug Cossa, the Chief Information Officer of the Defense Intelligence Agency, is a visionary leader driving technological innovation within the realm of defense intelligence. With a rich background in information technology and strategic management, Cossa spearheads initiatives to modernize DIA’s digital infrastructure and enhance its intelligence capabilities. His strategic foresight encompasses leveraging cutting-edge technologies such as artificial intelligence, data analytics, and cybersecurity to ensure the agency remains at the forefront of global intelligence efforts. Cossa’s commitment to excellence and his ability to navigate complex technological landscapes position him as a key architect of DIA’s digital transformation and mission success.

Brig. Gen. Luke Cropsey

Integrating Program Executive Officer for Command, Control, Communications and Battle Management (C3BM), Department of the Air Force

Defense Leadership

Brig. Gen. Luke Cropsey is a leader in the U.S. Air Force’s modernization efforts. Currently, he’s the Department of the Air Force’s Integrating Program Executive Officer for Command, Control, Communications and Battle Management (C3BM). In this role, he oversees the development of the Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS), a key part of the Pentagon’s Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2) initiative. Before that, Brig. Gen. Cropsey managed the Air Force’s Security Assistance and Cooperation Directorate, which supports foreign military sales to over 110 countries. His focus on simplifying complex systems is a key part of his approach to modernizing the Air Force’s capabilities.

Chandra Donelson

Acting Chief Data and AI Officer, Department of the Air Force

Defense Leadership

Chandra Donelson is the Acting Chief Data and AI Officer for the Department of the Air Force. She also holds the position of Space Data and Artificial Intelligence Officer for the Space Force. In these roles, Donelson oversees strategies for data management, analytics, and the responsible use of AI across Air Force and Space Force missions. Prior to her current position, Donelson served in the Army for several years, leading the development of data-related initiatives and fostering a data-driven culture.  She is an Air Force reservist with a background in intelligence operations and holds multiple degrees, including in IT and data science.

Capt. Brian Erickson

Chief Data and Artificial Intelligence Officer , U.S. Coast Guard

Defense Leadership

Capt. Brian Erickson was the U.S. Coast Guard’s first Chief Data and Artificial Intelligence Officer (CDAO). He left the role on May 17 to serve as Deputy Director of the DHS Presidential Transition Office until he’s set to retire from government service in March 2025. An engineer by background, he has extensive experience in both aviation operations (search and rescue, law enforcement) and strategic planning. Erickson focuses on harnessing data and AI across the Coast Guard to improve decision-making and mission effectiveness. He holds a Master’s degree in both Aerospace Engineering and Business Administration.

Justin Fanelli

CTO, Department of the Navy

Defense Leadership

Justin Fanelli is the Navy’s technical director of Program Executive Office Digital and Enterprise Services and also serves as the sea service’s acting Chief Technology Officer. Fanelli is a vocal proponent of driving better IT for warfighters and civil servants across the Navy. Recently, with Fanelli’s support, the Navy issued a new process for identifying and piloting existing and emerging technologies to support ongoing and future operations, calling it the “structured piloting approach framework.” On top of that, the Navy has scaled up its Neptune Cloud Management Office initiative, which was first launched by PEO Digital.

Mike Galbraith

Chief Digital Innovation Officer, Department of the Navy

Defense Leadership

Mike Galbraith has led the Department of the Navy’s digital innovation efforts as its Chief Digital Innovation Officer since 2019. With over 30 years of IT experience, he guides the Navy’s $12.5 billion IT portfolio toward modern cloud-based solutions and data-driven strategies. Prior to the Navy, Mike’s career spanned various industries, where he spearheaded IT transformations and implemented cutting-edge technologies like AI and Big Data.

Jennifer Hay

Director of the Defense Digital Service, Department of Defense

Defense Leadership

Jennifer Hay has served as the director of the Defense Digital Service under the Chief Digital and AI Office in the Pentagon since August 2023. In this role, she leads the Pentagon’s in-house digital team of highly experienced software and data engineers, data scientists, product managers, and user research designers tasked with delivering software-driven solutions to the department’s most critical, modern challenges. Before joining DDS, Hay was head of the global government relations team at DataRobot, Inc., an end-to-end enterprise artificial intelligence platform that automates and accelerates machine learning. Earlier in her career, she spent time in government in positions on the National Security Council staff, the Office of the Deputy Secretary of Defense, the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence & Security, and the Defense Intelligence Agency.

Maynard Holliday

Performing the Duties of Assistant Secretary of Defense for Critical Technologies, Department of Defense

Defense Leadership

Maynard Holliday is a leading figure in the U.S. Department of Defense’s critical technology initiatives. As the official Performing the Duties of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Critical Technologies, he oversees investments in areas like artificial intelligence, hypersonics, and quantum science. Holliday boasts over 30 years of experience in government and private sector technological advancements. He previously launched the Defense Innovation Unit and played a key role in establishing critical technology roadmaps for the Pentagon. His focus lies on aligning industry, academia, and international partners to ensure the U.S. maintains a technological edge.

Lt. Gen. Kevin Kennedy

Commander, Sixteenth Air Force, Department of the Air Force

Defense Leadership

Lt. Gen. Kevin Kennedy is a decorated U.S. Air Force officer with over 3,400 flying hours and combat experience. He commands the Sixteenth Air Force, also known as Air Forces Cyber, overseeing over 49,000 personnel. This vast team safeguards Air Force networks, conducts intelligence gathering, and executes cyberspace operations worldwide. General Kennedy boasts a decorated flying career prior to his cyber focus, including experience as a pilot and squadron commander. His leadership spans staff positions at the Joint Chiefs of Staff and US Cyber Command, solidifying his expertise in national security and cyber defense.

Savan Kong

Senior Advisor for User Experience (UX) Portfolio Management, Department of Defense

Defense Leadership

Savan Kong is the Senior Advisor for User Experience (UX) Portfolio Management within the Department of Defense (DoD).  He leads the newly established UX PfMO, tasked with integrating UX principles across DoD IT projects. This includes building a department-wide understanding of user needs, promoting a UX-focused culture, and developing processes to improve the user experience of DoD technology for service members, civilians, and contractors. Kong brings a wealth of experience from both the public and private sectors. Previously, he served as a Digital Service Expert at the Pentagon’s Defense Digital Service, focusing on rapid UX solutions. He also held leadership positions at a defense tech startup and a major real estate company, demonstrating his diverse expertise in crafting user-centered products.

Capt. M. Xavier Lugo

Mission Commander of Task Force Lima, CDAO, Department of Defense

Defense Leadership

U.S. Navy Capt. M. Xavier Lugo was appointed to a new and critically important role in the Department of Defense: mission commander of Task Force Lima, DOD’s initiative to examine generative AI and develop recommendations on how to responsibly use it across the department. Under Capt. Lugo’s leadership, Task Force Lima will “develop, evaluate, recommend, and monitor the implementation of generative AI capabilities across the DoD to ensure the department is ready to implement, adopt, and appropriately protect against generative AI technologies, such as large language models (LLMs).” Lugo is a 28-year Navy officer with extensive experience in the Supply Corps. A mechanical engineer by degree, he’s been a coder since high school and is also an operations research graduate from the Naval Postgraduate School. In his previous assignment, he worked to modernize logistics-aligned information technologies for the entire Navy.

Ryan McArthur

Former Program Manager for the Joint Warfighting Cloud Capability, Defense Information Systems Agency

Defense Leadership

Ryan McArthur, until recently, was the Defense Information Systems Agency’s program manager for the Joint Warfighting Cloud Capability, a $9 billion contract aimed to deliver reliable cloud capabilities across the Department of Defense. In April, he left DISA to join Zscaler as federal CTO after serving more than two years as the leader of the $400 million program management office, which enlists more than 60 professionals responsible for engineering, cybersecurity, acquisition oversight, and managing work under the JWCC contract with its four vendors: Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Oracle. Notably, during that time, McArthur helped to dramatically reduce the standard acquisition timeline under the vehicle and oversaw roughly 50 task orders placed in the past year, with dozens more in the pipeline.

Dave McKeown

CISO, Department of Defense

Defense Leadership

David McKeown serves as the Chief Information Security Officer for the Department of Defense, where he orchestrates comprehensive cybersecurity strategies to protect the nation’s critical assets. With a background in cybersecurity spanning over two decades, McKeown is a visionary leader adept at navigating the complexities of modern digital threats. His tenure has seen the implementation of cutting-edge technologies and robust protocols to fortify DOD’s cyber defenses. McKeown’s proactive approach to risk management and his dedication to fostering a culture of cyber awareness have positioned him as a key figure in safeguarding national security in an increasingly digital age.

Duncan McCaskill

Former Chief Data and AI Officer, Department of the Navy

Defense Leadership

In April, after serving nearly two years as the Navy’s Chief Data and AI Officer, and four years before that as the service’s chief analytics officer, Duncan McCaskill took a new role with the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency as a technical director for mission engineering. McCaskill said in a note announcing his departure that “it was an honor and a privilege” to serve in the Navy, telling those in the Naval data, analytics, and AI community to
“keep fighting and Don’t Give Up The Ship!” During his time as the Navy’s CDAO, McCaskill oversaw the management, governance and use of data and analysis across the entire span of U.S. Naval missions and functions. He also served as the program owner for Jupiter, the Navy’s enterprise data environment, the largest mission space within the DOD CDAO Advana Platform.

Rear Adm. Elizabeth “Seiko” Okano

PEO for Integrated Warfare Systems, Department of the Navy

Defense Leadership

Rear Adm. Elizabeth Seiko Okano is a pioneering leader in the U.S. Navy. As the first woman to hold the position of program executive officer for Integrated Warfare Systems, she oversees a multi-billion dollar budget for delivering combat technology to the fleet. Okano’s 25-year career includes diverse assignments, from fire control officer on a ship deployed to Somalia to counter-explosive device efforts in Iraq. She is a strong advocate for women in engineering, founding mentoring programs and earning recognition for her leadership.

Margaret Palmieri

Deputy Chief Digital and Analytics Officer, Department of Defense

Defense Leadership

Margaret Palmieri serves as the Deputy Chief Digital and Analytics Officer for the Department of Defense, wielding her expertise to drive transformative data initiatives across the defense landscape. With a distinguished background in data science and strategic leadership, Palmieri is at the forefront of leveraging data to enhance decision-making and operational efficiency within the DOD. Her strategic vision encompasses fostering a data-driven culture, harnessing advanced analytics for predictive insights, and optimizing data governance frameworks to ensure data integrity and security. Palmieri’s unwavering dedication to leveraging data as a strategic asset cements her position as a key architect of DOD’s data-driven future.

Randy Resnick

Director of the Zero Trust Portfolio Management Office , Department of Defense

Defense Leadership

Randy Resnick is a cybersecurity leader with over 34 years of experience spanning both offensive and defensive strategies. Currently, he serves as the Director of the Zero Trust Portfolio Management Office within the Department of Defense’s Office of the Chief Information Officer. Previously, Resnick held key positions at the National Security Agency (NSA), including leading their Zero Trust Strategic efforts. Resnick is credited with spearheading major initiatives to implement and adopt Zero Trust principles across the vast Department of Defense infrastructure. He is recognized for his role in developing the DoD’s Zero Trust Architecture Implementation Strategy.

Tom Rondeau

Principal Director for FutureG, Department of Defense

Defense Leadership

Dr. Tom Rondeau serves as principal director for FutureG for the Department of Defense, serving in the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering. In this role, Rondeau is in charge of leading ​​the DOD on research, funding, and execution of programs around warfighting capabilities using future-generation wireless technologies, 5G and beyond, to advance wireless networking concepts for national security. Before taking this role, Rondeau spent more than six years as a DARPA program manager, working on numerous technology areas to improve wireless networking and communications. In the past year, the work of Rondeau and his team was visible in the negotiation between the White House and the Pentagon, namely in how the latter will share its coveted portion of the electromagnetic spectrum with users outside of the department.

Steven Wallace

CTO, Defense Information Systems Agency

Defense Leadership

Stephen Wallace serves as the Chief Technology Officer of the Defense Information Systems Agency. He spearheads innovation across the agency, driving the development of cutting-edge solutions in areas like secure cloud environments, artificial intelligence, and digital identity. Prior to his CTO role, Wallace held key positions within DISA, including Chief of Cyber Innovation and Chief Engineer for DOD Enterprise Email. This experience showcases his commitment to both advancing new technologies and ensuring the secure operation of existing systems. He champions the integration of commercial advancements into the DOD infrastructure, fostering a more efficient and adaptable technological landscape.

Wes Anderson

Vice President, Defense, Microsoft Federal

Industry Leadership

Wes Anderson has spent the majority of his career supporting Microsoft’s business partnering with the U.S. federal government. Now as the head of the company’s defense operating unit, he’s focused on delivering cloud and modern IT services to drive transformation across the U.S. military and “solving our customers’ most challenging problems with urgency and excellence, serving others, and assuring all voices are heard.”

Karen Dahut

CEO, Google Public Sector

Industry Leadership

Settling in with nearly two years under her belt as CEO of Google Public Sector, Karen Dahut is setting the guiding vision to bring more choice into the federal cloud marketplace and translate the innovative mindset that Google is known for around emerging technologies like artificial intelligence to defense use cases. The thing that “gives me such confidence in what we are doing is the passion that our customers bring to us,” Dahut told DefenseScoop recently. “They want to work with us,” she said, referring to partnerships with major customers like the Department of Defense “to purpose-build technology.” She continued: “This isn’t a case where we’re building technology in the back room, and then we come and try to get it accredited. We are working very closely with them to build what they need and accredit it along the way.” Prior to joining Google in 2022, Dahut was president of Booz Allen Hamilton’s global defense portfolio.

Mike Daniels

Senior Vice President of Public Sector, UiPath

Industry Leadership

Mike Daniels is the Senior Vice President of Public Sector at UiPath, a leading robotic process automation company. With a distinguished career in the technology and government sector, previously leading teams at Celonis, Google Cloud and Salesforce, he is a visionary leader in digital transformation. Mike plays a pivotal role in UiPath’s mission to empower government agencies with automation solutions, streamlining operations, reducing costs, and enhancing citizen services. A driving force in shaping the future of government automation, Daniels’ work focuses on leveraging RPA and AI to drive efficiency and innovation in the public sector, ultimately helping agencies to better serve their constituents and achieve their missions.

Maria Demaree

Vice President and General Manager, National Security Space, Lockheed Martin

Industry Leadership

Maria Demaree is the vice president and general manager of the national security space for Lockheed Martin, a promotion she earned late last year. In this role, Demaree is responsible for the “performance of a multi-billion dollar portfolio and leading a workforce of 8,300 full-time employees focused on the delivery of integrated end-to-end solutions, high-performance systems, critical space architectures and innovative concepts to help our customers successfully execute vital national security missions.” As part of that, Lockheed last year launched a new technology test environment using artificial intelligence, cloud computing and automation to manage multiple satellite operations in space. But this new role is just the tip of the iceberg of a more than 30-year career with Lockheed in which Demaree has climbed the ranks from an aerospace engineer to lead one of the main business lines for the defense contracting giant.

Robin Elias

Area Vice President for Defense, World Wide Technology

Industry Leadership

For nearly three years, Robin Elias has served as World Wide Technology’s area vice president for defense. Of late, she’s been driving support for the U.S. military and the Department of Defense’s adoption of AI, particularly through WWT’s new AI Proving Ground, which will invest more than $500 million over the next three years in technology, infrastructure and people to help power their clients’ adoption of artificial intelligence solutions at global enterprise scale.

Lauren Knausenberger

Chief Innovation Officer, SAIC

Industry Leadership

Lauren Knausenberger led a storied career in the Department of the Air Force, culminating in a nearly three-year stint as the air service’s chief information officer. After leaving that role and taking some time to be with her family, Knausenberger last September joined SAIC as its chief innovation officer and the head of the organization’s corporate strategy. As chief innovation officer, Knausenberger leads innovation strategy across the company and is responsible for making sure “SAIC’s transformation capabilities are mission-relevant, agile and aligned with the needs of our customers.” One such example of that is SAIC’s partnership with Amazon to deliver mission-ready Zero Trust Edge capabilities, which Knausenberger said: “provides warfighters with a critical capability to extend their enterprise OCONUS, with the ability to run disconnected ops and rapidly adopt technologies and capabilities needed for mission success.”

Dave Levy

Vice President, Worldwide Public Sector, Amazon Web Services

Industry Leadership

Dave Levy joined Amazon Web Services in 2017 after leading government sales for Apple for more than a decade. Now at AWS for more than seven years, Levy leads the company’s entire global public sector portfolio as vice president, driving the delivery of cloud services to the federal government. In recent years, Levy said on FedScoop: “As cloud computing becomes more ubiquitous, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that the potential of the cloud is not in the technology or apps themselves; it’s in how the cloud is harnessed and utilized to help organizations fulfill their missions more effectively. AWS stands ready to help federal agencies and their partners by leveraging our unrivaled experience to support workforce development and mission delivery.”

Josh Lospinoso

CEO, Shift5

Industry Leadership

After more than a dozen years as a captain and cyber officer in the Army leading teams to build dozens of elite hacking tools for the National Security Agency’s Tailored Access Operations, Army Cyber Command, and the Cyber National Mission Force, Josh Lospinoso in 2018 founded Shift5, which bills itself as the “observability platform for onboard operational technology.” Now as CEO, Lospinoso has positioned Shift5 as one of the up-and-coming defense innovation contractors serving the U.S. military’s most pressing emerging tech needs. Prior to Shift5, he co-founded RedOwl Analytics, an insider threat detection platform acquired by Raytheon in 2017. Last year, speaking before the Senate Armed Services Committee, he advocated for the DOD’s need to put more resources behind the adoption of AI, arguing if the nation doesn’t “retain its AI dominance and empower its major weapon systems with AI-enabled technology, we face the real prospect that an adversary could surpass us.”

Kim Lynch

Executive Vice President for Defense, Oracle

Industry Leadership

After more than 24 years in a variety of roles at Booz Allen Hamilton, including as an executive vice president, Kim Lynch moved to Oracle in 2023 as executive vice president for defense and intelligence. In this role, Lynch’s role is focused on strengthening client relationships, delivering innovation and value, and building a world-class team. Notably, Lynch supports Oracle’s work to provide cloud and innovative IT services to the Department of Defense, which awarded Oracle a spot on its $9 billion Joint Warfighting Cloud Capability contract. Under that vehicle, the company aims to provide the services with multicloud operations support, zero-trust security and global services at the tactical edge.

Doug Philippone

Global Defense Lead, Palantir

Industry Leadership

Doug Philippone is responsible for starting and growing Palantir’s global defense business to what it is today, competing with traditional DOD contractors on some of the U.S. military’s most challenging modern problem sets. Prior to joining Palantir in 2008 during the company’s early days, Philippone was an Army Ranger and deployed six times, commanding multiple Joint Special Operations Command outstations in support of the Global War on Terror. He was awarded three bronze stars with two valor awards, the joint commendation medal with valor award, as well as many other commendations for his service to the nation. Philippone is also the co-founder of Snowpoint Ventures, which is focused on supporting the development of dual-use technologies.

David Raffetto

Director of DOD Sales, Cisco

Industry Leadership

David Raffetto serves as the director of sales for Cisco’s DOD business and is a leader in the defense IT community, serving also as a member of the board of directors for AFCEA DC. Speaking last year at DefenseTalks 2023, Raffetto told Scoop News Group that potential conflicts with China or Russia could drastically change the landscape of battle for the U.S., pointing to the need for things like unmanned surface vessels, drones and “looking at [satellite communications] and some of the Starlink potential capabilities from a diversification of transport from a networking perspective. So, looking at different ways that we can bring technology but in a different way…”

Brian Schimpf

CEO, Anduril

Industry Leadership

After nearly a decade as a key member of Palantir’s engineering team, Brian Schimpf teamed up with Oculus Rift VR creator Palmer Luckey to disrupt the defense technology space by founding Anduril. Now as the firm’s CEO, Schimpf drives the strategy and product roadmap for the rapidly growing defense innovation contractor. And, in recent years under his leadership, Anduril has scored some massive wins in the defense space, most recently being awarded contracts to support the Army’s robotic combat vehicle software system integration and the Air Force’s collaborative combat aircraft (CCA) program.

Brian Sheridan

Senior Vice President of Defense, GDIT

Industry Leadership

Brian Sheridan is the senior vice president for GDIT’s defense portfolio, overseeing the delivery of mission-critical services and solutions to the U.S. Department of Defense and other government customers. Prior to his time in industry, during which he’s also served as GDIT’s vice president and general manager of the Joint, Air Force, Naval and Coalition sectors within the defense division, he held a variety of roles within the Department of Defense, including as assistant secretary of defense, special operations and low-intensity conflict. He began his career working for the CIA.

Tyler Sweatt

CEO, Second Front Systems

Industry Leadership

Last July, Tyler Sweatt, a former Army officer, moved from his role as chief revenue officer and vice president of growth for Second Front Systems to be its CEO. Now as the chief executive, Sweatt is charged with fulfilling the company’s charge to fast-track government access to disruptive, commercially proven, software-as-a-service applications for national security missions and break down barriers between innovative technologies and national security organizations. In addition to his CEO role, Sweatt also serves as a technical advisor for Pallas Group, a strategic advisory firm specializing in national security, defense, and innovation, as well as partner with the Silicon Valley Defense Group. 

Task Force 59

Task Force 59, Department of the Navy, U.S. 5th Fleet

Innovation of the Year

Task Force 59, launched in 2021, is the U.S. Navy’s first dedicated unit for unmanned systems and artificial intelligence. Operating in the Middle East, it focuses on integrating these technologies into everyday missions. This “digital fleet” includes drones and other uncrewed vehicles working alongside crewed ships. AI helps analyze sensor data, giving commanders a wider picture of what’s happening at sea. Task Force 59 aims to improve maritime security, awareness, and deterrence in a region critical for global trade.

Beth Caswell

Director, Digital Transformation & IT Portfolio Management, Department of the Navy

Most Inspiring Up-and-Comer

The Navy, like each of the military services, is in the midst of a major digital transformation. As the director of digital transformation & IT portfolio management for the department, Beth Caswell has played a key role in modernizing mission and back-office operations across the Navy and Marine Corps since 2020. Before taking her current role, Caswell served in multiple positions at Naval Sea Systems Command. Prior to that, she was a program analyst in the private sector serving the Department of Defense with Gryphon Technologies and Concurrent Technologies Corp.

Schuyler Moore

CTO, U.S. Central Command

Most Inspiring Up-and-Comer

Schuyler Moore, the chief technology officer for U.S. Central Command, is perhaps an up-and-comer only in that she’s still relatively early on in her career. But in the less than a decade since she graduated from Harvard with her bachelor’s degree in political science, she’s gone on to quickly rise through the ranks of the Department of Defense and was recognized in 2021 on Forbes’ Top 30 Under 30 list. As such, her resume reads like that of a DOD official who’s been serving twice as long: Senior Defense & Foreign Policy Advisor for the U.S. House of Representatives, Chief Strategy Officer for the Navy’s Task Force 59, and CTO for Centcom, all while serving as an intelligence officer for the U.S. Navy Reserve. And in her current role, she’s been a pivotal part of Centcom adopting modern, innovative technologies in a critical area of responsibility.

Aditi Kumar

Deputy Director for Strategy, Policy, and National Security Partnerships, Defense Innovation Unit

Most Inspiring Up-and-Comer

Aditi Kumar took the role of deputy director for strategy, policy, and national security partnerships at the Defense Innovation Unit last October. In this role, Kumar supports DIU’s collaboration with the military departments, the Joint Staff, and the Office of the Secretary of Defense to deliver capabilities at scale to meet warfighter requirements and leads DIU’s teams focused on policy, interagency partnerships, legislative affairs, and international affairs. Prior to that, she served the Department of Defense as senior advisor to the under secretary of defense for acquisition & sustainment, a role that greatly informs her work with DIU.

Col. Matthew Strohmeyer

Director for the Global Information Dominance Experiments, CDAO, Department of Defense

Most Inspiring Up-and-Comer

The Pentagon has placed a great deal of effort into developing and bringing to life its next-generation concept for battlefield operations called Combined Joint All Domain Command & Control — which ultimately aims to connect and coordinate all military personnel and assets across all warfighting domains via one network to ensure competitive advantages in future conflicts. Col. Matthew Strohmeyer works under the Chief Digital and AI Office and is responsible for the department’s Global Information Dominance Experiments (GIDE), which essentially test the technologies and concepts that comprise CJADC2.