CIA announces first-ever chief technology officer
Nand Mulchandani takes part in a panel discussion about AI at the Pentagon in October 2020. Image: DOD photo / Lisa Ferdinando
Martin Matishak April 29, 2022

CIA announces first-ever chief technology officer

CIA announces first-ever chief technology officer

CIA Director William Burns on Friday announced that he had appointed a prolific Silicon Valley entrepreneur to serve as the agency’s first-ever chief technology officer.

Nand Mulchandani — who co-founded and helmed several tech startups and most recently served as chief technology officer and interim director of the Pentagon’s Joint Artificial Intelligence Center — will fill the recently created position this summer.

“Since my confirmation, I have prioritized focusing on technology and the new CTO position is a very important part of that effort,” Burns said in a statement. “I am delighted Nand has joined our team and will bring his extensive experience to this crucial new role.”

The appointment marks the latest step by the CIA chief to revamp the agency’s approach to technology and competition, especially against China. 

Last year the spy agency established two new mission centers: one focused on China and another dubbed the Transnational and Technology Mission Center, devoted to foreign technological development.

Mulchandani will report directly to Burns and will lead the agency’s technology strategy.

“I’m honored to join CIA in this role and look forward to working with the agency’s incredible team of technologists and domain experts, who already deliver world-class intelligence and capabilities to help build a comprehensive technology strategy that delivers exciting capabilities, working closely with industry and partners,” Mulchandani said in a statement.

Last month Burns emphasized the importance of keeping up with the pace of innovation during an annual Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on global threats.

“Nothing is going to matter more to the future of CIA and the U.S. intelligence community more broadly than our ability to compete technologically. It’s the main arena … for competition with China,” he told lawmakers, citing the creation of the two new hubs and the CTO post.

“All of that reflects the enormously high priority that we will continue to attest to that set of issues,” he added.

Prior to serving at the Defense Department, Mulchandani helped found and was the CEO of multiple startups, some of which were later acquired by industry giants like Oracle, Cisco and VMware. 

He holds a degree in computer science and math from Cornell University, as well as a master’s of science degree in management from Stanford University and a master’s in public administration degree from Harvard University.

Martin is a senior cybersecurity reporter for The Record. He spent the last five years at Politico, where he covered Congress, the Pentagon and the U.S. intelligence community and was a driving force behind the publication's cybersecurity newsletter.