Data Innovation Forum
Watch Recording

Data Innovation Forum

Recorded on Tuesday, June 15, 2021 9:00am-11:15am EST   ON24

With the role of information technology (IT) heavily influencing U.S. military matters and growing at an increasingly rapid pace, the U.S. government and its commercial partners must remain on the cutting edge of data processing technology to retain its competitive advantage over our nation’s adversaries. 

GovConWire Events will host its Data Innovation Forum on June 15th to explore the federal government’s modernization data strategy, innovation in the artificial intelligence and machine learning data processing industry and how to better process and protect sensitive data.

David Sprik, Chief Data Officer of the DOD, will serve as the forum’s keynote speaker. He will address the DOD’s defense data strategy, plans for commercial data, analytics, AI and emerging data processing technologies.

  • Ron Bewtra
    Ron Bewtra -
    CTO, Hewlett-Packard Enterprise

    Ron Bewtra is the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of the Department of Justice (DOJ). In this role, Mr. Bewtra drives technology innovation and develops technology roadmaps including the inaugural Department-wide technical reference architecture as well as the DOJ Data Strategy. Mr. Bewtra serves as the principal technology advisor to the Chief Information Officer and senior leadership of the Department on key technology projects. By engaging with industry leaders, he identifies emerging technologies to accelerate and enhance the missions of DOJ. Mr. Bewtra previously served as the CTO of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) where he was responsible for the big data partnership initiative with the goal of seeking collaborators to extract value from the data, to launch new businesses, and to create jobs. During his time at NOAA, Mr. Bewtra also led the agency’s research and development high performance computing.

  • Chris Borneman
    Chris Borneman -
    CTO, Software AG Government Solutions

    Chris Borneman is CTO at Software AG Government Solutions. In his role, he is responsible for defining technology requirements that support our business strategy within the Aerospace and Defense and Federal markets. Also, given his experience designing and building cloud-based supply chain networks, managing integration-based modernization programs, and performing various data center migrations and expansions within the aerospace and defense industry, Chris is often recruited to guide customer technology groups in their transformation initiatives. Prior to joining, Chris was recruited to build the technology group and product offerings for Exostar, a joint venture of The Boeing Company, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, BAE Systems and Rolls-Royce. He grew their transaction engine from <$1M transactional volume in 2001 to $36B+ annually in goods and services transacting through the system while supporting millions of individual transactions. Chris was also part of a small team, launched joint venture between ARINC, Exostar, and SITA to form CertiPath which established a cross-certification identity bridge for the aerospace and defense industry. Chris was integral in the development of the business model and formation of the company, creating the first aerospace and defense PKI bridge; which later became the first industry bridge to cross certify with the U.S. Federal Bridge Certificate Authority (FBCA). He served as one of six founding board members, and reviewed and approved new service offerings ensuring compatibility with company vision, meeting fiscal objectives, and managing corporate risk profile. In 2006, Chris was a part of a five person team that developed and received patent to enable explicit and multilateral trust across a community of federated servers via a network. The trust model allows multiple organizations to be their own credential issuer for their employees, while other organizations can serve as relying parties to grant authorizations based upon the authentications of the credential issuer. Chris is a well-recognized industry leader, receiving SmartCEO Magazine’s Top 10 Technology Executives in 2009, Computerworld’s Premier 100 IT Leaders of 2000, and InfoWorld’s Top 100 CTOs designation. He also has solutions delivered to market recognized by Forbes “Best of the Web” and PC Magazine Editor’s Choice Award and has authored numerous articles published in major professional journals. Chris holds a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science from Northern Illinois University.

  • David Markowitz
    Dr. David Markowitz -
    Chief Data Officer and Analytics Officer, U.S. Department of the Army

    Selected to the Senior Executive Service in 2005, Dr. Markowitz assumed his present position as the United States Army’s Chief Data Officer and Analytics Officer in October 2020. Dr. Markowitz’s previous assignment was the Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff, G-8, May 2016-October 2020. His principal duties included responsibility for Army Programs, Force Development, Business Mission Area Data, Army Studies Management, and the Center for Army Analysis. In this capacity, he served as the principal advisor to the G-8 with responsibility for providing professional advice to the G-8 on key issues to include formulating plans and programs, acquiring resources, developing communication networks, executing operations, and evaluating results. Dr. Markowitz also served as the United States Army’s Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff, G-3/5/7, June 2012-April 2016. His principal duties included operations and strategic planning functions of the Department of the Army; formulating and executing Army-wide operational policy; and providing strategic direction on Army strategy and plans, force management, current operations, and administration /resources/business transformation. Dr. Markowitz also served as Director, Capabilities Integration, Prioritization, and Analysis with the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-3/5/7. His principal duties were to validate, prioritize, analyze and integrate requirements to provide the current and future Army timely and decisive war fighting capabilities in order to achieve the National Military Strategy. Additionally, he served as the Technical Director of the Center for Army Analysis (CAA) with oversight responsibility for all CAA support to Headquarters, Department of the Army associated with the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), the analytic agenda, and the analysis of Irregular, Disruptive and Catastrophic challenges. He was also responsible for ensuring the quality of analysis performed by CAA’s reachback support to Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. Dr. Markowitz’s previous positions prior to joining the Headquarters, Department of the Army staff included positions with U.S. Department of State Political-Military Bureau's Office of Weapons Proliferation, the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Center at Natick Massachusetts, the Sloan School of Management at MIT, the faculty of George Washington University, the Logistics Management Institute, and the Office of the Secretary of Defense where he served as Director of the Simulation and Analysis Center in the Office of the Director, Program Analysis and Evaluation. Dr. David M. Markowitz is a native of Massachusetts, a Magna Cum Laude graduate of Harvard University with AB and AM degrees in mathematics, and holds a Doctorate of Operations Research from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

  • Gregg Melanson
    Gregg Melanson -
    Chief Growth Officer, Acuity, Inc.

    Gregg Melanson serves as Chief Growth Officer for Acuity, Inc., a technology consulting firm offering deep domain expertise to federal agencies in the national security and public safety sectors. He leads the company’s efforts to expand the customer base, nurture strategic partnerships, and drive innovation. Gregg’s three-decade career spans both the public and private sectors. His past roles include time with Cybercore, Sprint, NCI, and the Walt Disney corporation. Excelling in strategy, business development, market analysis, and organizational transformation, Gregg has a proven record of success in strategic growth, engagement leadership, and the translation of new ideas into reality.

  • Thomas Sasala
    Thomas Sasala -
    Chief Data Officer, U.S. Department of the Navy

    As the Chief Data Officer for the Department of the Navy (DON), Mr. Sasala leads the Department’s efforts on data management, information resources management, data governance, and Naval data policies. Mr. Sasala is responsible for implementing the OPEN Government Data Act, training the Naval workforce on data and data analytics, and making high quality, timely data available to decision-makers and warfighters. He advises and assists the SECNAV and UNSECNAV in the execution of their statutory responsibilities, establishes data priorities for the DON in support of the National Defense Strategy, and drives change through the Business Operations Plan and Data Strategy Implementation Plan. Mr. Sasala leads data transformation for the Department and works closely with the Office of Secretary of Defense (OSD) on DoD-wide data policies, tactics, and techniques to improve DON decision-making. Mr. Sasala previously led data management activities in the business mission area at the Office of the Chief Management Officer (OCMO). In that capacity, he focused on optimizing business operations, streamlining defense business systems, and establishing enterprise-wide interoperability standards for Naval business systems. Prior to joining the Department of the Navy, Mr. Sasala served as Director of Operations and Architecture for U.S. Army CIO/G-6 and the Chief Data Officer for the U.S. Army. He led data governance and analytics across the Army, was responsible for the implementation and migration to cloud computing solutions, and developed segment and systems architectures for the Army. Mr. Sasala was also the Chief Technology Officer for the Joint Service Provider and the U.S. Army Information Technology Agency (ITA) where he was responsible for the modernization of Pentagon information technology solutions. Mr. Sasala began his career as a student trainee at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL). After graduating from the Pennsylvania State University with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering, he returned to NRL and pursued his Master of Science in Telecommunication and Computers. While serving at NRL, Mr. Sasala led a variety of mission critical projects including advance research and development in public key cryptography, software-defined agile cryptography and key management, and the modernization of strategic communication solutions for nuclear command and control systems. After leaving NRL, Mr. Sasala joined the private sector where he supported a number of clients as a government consultant. His many roles include Chief Architect for the All-Source Analytics Environment, Chief Architect and technical advisor for the Analytic Transformation (AT) program, and Program Manager for various initiatives within the defense and intelligence spaces. Additionally, Mr. Sasala spent almost two years developing cutting-edge data and training solutions at the Internet startup targeting the public educational market. In 2014 Mr. Sasala received the Bold Award for Innovation, recognizing his creative problem-solving, technical acumen, ambition, and persistence. In 2015, Mr. Sasala was named a “Fed 100” honoring the top 100 contributors across Federal, state, and local governments.

  • Randy Soper
    Randy Soper -
    Chief, Artificial Intelligence, Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

    Randy Soper is Lead Data Strategist for Illuminate. In this role he architects end-to-end data, analytic, and operations solutions for national security customers. He is a thought leader and implementation expert in human-machine teaming, AI assurance, digital transformation, and data science-mission integration. Randy also volunteers for the IEEE professional association. He serves on the international AI Standards Committee as well as working groups for AI governance and ethics. Prior to joining Illuminate, Randy was a civilian employee of the Department of Defense supporting targeting and intelligence missions. He was also a research and development engineer in industry. Randy has numerous technical publications in the areas of data science, control theory, and applied mathematics. He holds a BS and MS in mechanical engineering from Virginia Tech

  • David Spirk
    David Spirk -
    Chief Data Officer, U.S. Department of Defense (DOD)

    David Spirk was named the Chief Data Officer (CDO) within the office of Chief Information Officer on June 22, 2020. David will be responsible for strengthening data management across the DoD and accelerating the transition to a data-centric culture. Additionally he will oversee key enablers including the data governance process, data standards and policies, and the promotion of data acumen across the DoD workforce. David will also oversee implementation of a new DoD Data Strategy. Previously David was the United States Special Operations Command’s (USSOCOM) first-generation Chief Data Officer since August 2018, a role in which he is responsible for the creation of a data-driven decision-making culture while leading the integration of Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning/automation across the US Special Forces enterprise. Immediately prior to this assignment, Dave was the Associate Director of Technology Investment at the Secretary of the Air Force’s (SECAF) Concept Development and Management Office for Advanced Analytics and Technology Investment. Since 2016, Dave was responsible for advising SECAF and Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence leadership on industry leading technology required to advance the Defense Intelligence Enterprise mission across operational and functional requirements. Spirk was the first United States Marine Corps (USMC) Intelligence Specialist in Afghanistan after the attacks on September 11, 2001 where as a member of Task Force-58, more specifically the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable), he participated in the seizure of Kandahar Airfield and the reopening of the American Embassy in Kabul. Following his time in Afghanistan, Dave received orders to United States Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM). While working at USSOUTHCOM he deployed to Colombia numerous times, totaling over 18 months in country, and held various analytic/targeting positions before leaving the Marine Corps when asked by the USSOUTHCOM Director of Intelligence to support a Venezuela Division as a Department of Army Civilian. During this time, Dave served as the USSOUTHCOM Commander’s principal briefer for distinguished visitors and Strategic Planning Process' Mission Panel Chair for Ensure Domain Awareness out of which arose the Partnership for the Americas Command Center. Dave joined the Office of the Director of National Intelligence in June 2007 to be the Chief of Operations for the Cuba/Venezuela Mission Manager where he also took the lead role in developing and implementing the US Intelligence Community's strategy to support US Interagency and Government of Mexico efforts against the expanding influence and violence of drug cartels. Dave is a former-Marine that served across echelons at various east coast USMC elements that set the stage for many deployments throughout the Balkans, Africa, and South Asia. In 2009, he was selected by the Director of National Intelligence to stand up the Associate Director of National Intelligence for Afghanistan and Pakistan (ADNI Af/Pak) and was retained by the ADNI Af/Pak to serve as its Deputy and Chief of Operations. Spirk joined the USSOCOM Intelligence Directorate in March 2015 and assumed the position of Associate Director. Before the shift to USSOCOM, he served as the Deputy Director of Intelligence at United States Central Command (USCENTCOM). As the Deputy Director of Intelligence for Operations, Spirk led the USCENTCOM J2's Divisions for Operations, Plans, Intelligence Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR), and Foreign Disclosure/Special Security Office. Spirk arrived at USCENTCOM in August of 2010 but quickly moved forward to Afghanistan to serve as the Commander of the International Security and Assistance Force's Senior Intelligence Advisor.

  • Eileen Vidrine
    Eileen Vidrine -
    Chief Data Officer, U.S. Air Force

    Eileen M. Vidrine is the Air Force Chief Data Officer, Headquarters, United States Air Force, Washington, D.C. She develops and implements strategies for enterprise data management, analytics, and digital transformation to optimize performance and drive out innovation in and across all missions and operations. Ms. Vidrine began her government career in 1986 as an enlisted member of the U.S. Army and was commissioned in 1987 through the U.S. Army Officer Candidate School Program as a U.S. Army Transportation Officer. Later in her Army career, she was selected and integrated into the U.S. Army Acquisition Corps. She began her civilian career as a senior faculty member at the Joint Military Intelligence College and led the college’s technology transformation as the first Director for the Center for Educational Technologies. From 2006 to 2012, Ms. Vidrine served in various positions of leadership at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence culminating as the Chief of Staff for the Assistant Director of National Intelligence for Human Capital. In 2012, Ms. Vidrine was selected to serve as the DoD Intelligence Community Enterprise Architect assigned to the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence, Human Capital Management Office (HCMO). In 2014, Ms. Vidrine assumed HCMO chief of staff responsibilities. In 2016, she was nominated by the Deputy Secretary of Defense and selected to serve as a White House Leadership Fellow, supporting the Office of Management and Budget and the Office of Personnel Management. After her fellowship she was detailed to the Executive Office of the President Office of Administration. Ms. Vidrine was appointed to the Senior Executive Service in June 2018. EDUCATION 1985 Bachelor of Science, Ithaca College, Ithaca, New York 1993 Masters of Science, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California 2009 Office of the Director of National Intelligence - Analysis Summer Hard Problem Program (SHARP), Phoenix, Arizona 2015 Intelligence Community Applied Systems Architecture Course, Herndon, Virginia 2017 White House Leadership Development Program, Washington, DC CAREER CHRONOLOGY 1. Feb 1986- Oct 1996, US Army, various 2. Oct 1996-Oct 1999, Principal Systems Analyst, Teledyne Brown Engineering, Arlington, VA 3. Oct 1997- Jul 1999, Senior Project Manager, Carney Interactive LLC, Alexandria, VA 4. Jul 1999- Jan 2000, Senior Information Systems Security Engineer; Wang Global, 5. Jan 2000- Jul 2002, Assistant Professor, Northern Virginia Community College, Annandale, VA 6. Jul 2002- Nov 2003, Senior Faculty Member-Joint Military Intelligence College, Defense Intelligence Agency, Washington DC 7. Nov 2003- Aug 2006, Director, Center for Educational Technologies-National Defense Intelligence College, Defense Intelligence Agency, Washington, DC 8. Aug 2006- Apr 2007, Senior Liaison Officer, Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Office of the Chief Information Officer, McLean, VA 9. Apr 2007- Sep 2008, Program Manager for Distributed Learning, Office of the Director of National Intelligence, National Intelligence University, McLean, VA 10. Sep 2008- Dec 2010, Technical Program Manager, Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Office of the Chief Human Capital Officer, McLean, VA CERTIFICATES Dec 2010- Feb 2012, Chief of Staff, Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Office of the Chief Human Capital Officer, McLean, VA Feb 2012-Dec 2013, DoD IC Enterprise Architect, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence/Human Capital Management Office; Arlington, VA Dec 2013-Nov 2014, Deputy Director for Readiness (acting) Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence/Human Capital Management Office; Arlington, VA Nov 2014- Sep 2016, Chief of Staff, Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence/Human Capital Management Office, Arlington, VA Oct 2016- Sep 2017, White House Leadership Fellow; White House Leadership Development Program, Washington, DC Oct 2017- Jun 2018, Detail to Executive Office of the President, Office of Administration, Washington, DC Jun 2018-present, Chief Data Officer, Office of the Secretary of the Air Force, Arlington, VA AWARDS 2016 Intelligence Community Human Capital Professional Leadership Award 2016 Intelligence Community Human Capital Profession Team Award 2018 Office of the Secretary of Defense Exceptional Civilian Service Award CLEARANCE Top Secret, SCI

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