Tamil Nadu native to modernize army’s IT operations.
One of the highest-ranking Indian American civilians in the US Department of Defense, Dr. Raj Iyer, has taken over as the first Chief Information Officer of the US Army.
Equivalent in rank to a three-star General, Iyer who holds a PhD in Electrical Engineering will supervise an annual budget of $16 billion for the US Army’s IT operations.
CIO serves as the principal advisor to the Secretary of the Army and directs representation of the secretary in matters relating to information management/information technology (IT), the Pentagon stated.
The position was created in July last year. More than 15,000 civilians and military personnel posted across 100 countries work under the CIO.
Iyer will direct the execution of policies and programs to modernize the US Army to achieve digital overmatch against near-peer adversaries such as China and Russia.
The Army has committed to leveraging advanced technologies such as cloud computing, robotics and artificial intelligence as critical enablers for future war-fighting through a concept called multi-domain operations.
Previously, Iyer was a partner and managing director at Deloitte Consulting LLP, where he led multiple technology programs supporting government clients.
Over the course of his 26-year career, Iyer has supported a range of defense and commercial clients on a number of complex enterprise transformation challenges, including strategy, innovation and modernization.
He has established new organizations, including the first office of the Chief Technology Officer in the Army, co-founded a successful technology start-up, and led recovery programs such as Obamacare.
According to his official profile, Iyer’s prior federal executive experience enables him to proactively identify implementation risks including organization change management that are critical to the success of the program.
He has been successful in his professional career by building consensus among stakeholders and his ability to communicate effectively at leadership levels.
Iyer is passionate about public service and makes serving the Soldier and the taxpayer as his #1 priority always, the profile says. He also holds a patent and has published dozens of peer-reviewed papers.
Iyer has a PhD and a MSc degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Texas at Arlington besides an MBA from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.
Iyer, originally a native of Tiruchirappalli in Tamil Nadu, grew up in Bengaluru and completed his undergraduate studies at the National Institute of Technology Trichy before moving to the US to pursue higher studies.
In the US, he had barely enough money to pay for tuition and rent for one semester through his father’s life savings, but was soon able to secure a full fellowship to complete all of his graduate education.
His father Manakkal K Ganesan, an engineer working as General Manager at Metallurgical and Engineering Consultants (MECON), was instrumental in showing him a passion for public service and the value of education and hard work, according to a testimonial online.
Iyer is married to Brindha, a healthcare IT program manager in the US government. They have two sons, Ashwin Iyer, a freshman majoring in Data Science at the University of California at Berkeley, and Abishek Iyer, a 9th grader at Centennial High School in Maryland.