July 13, 2020 / 2:42 PM / 25 days ago

White House names Kratsios as Pentagon acting tech chief

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Pentagon confirmed on Monday that U.S. Chief Technology Officer Michael Kratsios is being tapped to serve as the acting Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering overseeing the U.S. military’s massive R&D efforts.

Kratsios, who is President Donald Trump’s top technology policy advisor, will also serve as the acting Pentagon chief technology officer. Reuters reported the planned move earlier on Monday.

The Defense Department has the largest research and development budget in the federal government and Kratsios will oversee the Missile Defense Agency, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the Defense Innovation Unit, Space Development Agency and the DoD Laboratory enterprise.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper said in a statement the Pentagon sought “someone with experience in identifying and developing new technologies and working closely with a wide range of industry partners. We think Michael is the right person for this job.”

On June 23, the Pentagon said its chief technology officer Mike Griffin, an outspoken advocate for space-based missile defense systems, and his deputy Lisa Porter would resign effective July 10 to set up their own company.

The Pentagon also confirmed Monday that Mark J. Lewis, director of Defense Research and Engineering for Modernization, will serve as Kratsios’ acting deputy at the Pentagon.

Kratsios will also oversee the agency’s Modernization Priorities, which include efforts on 5G, artificial intelligence, quantum computing, and microelectronics. Kratsios led the development of the White House’s national strategies for AI, 5G, and quantum computing.

Kratsios has also worked on autonomous vehicles, commercial drones and advanced manufacturing at the White House. He will retain his White House role along with the Pentagon assignment.

Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Richard Chang

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