U.S. CTO Kratsios named acting undersecretary for research and engineering, Lewis to serve as acting deputy

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Updated July 13 with new appointment announced by DoD

WASHINGTON — U.S Chief Technology Officer Michael Kratsios will serve as acting undersecretary of defense for research and engineering, DoD announced on July 13.

Kratsios will take over the position previously held by Mike Griffin. Mark Lewis was named acting deputy undersecretary of defense for research and engineering, a post previously held by Lisa Porter.

“In seeking to fill this position we wanted someone with experience in identifying and developing new technologies and working closely with a wide range of industry partners,” Defense Secretary Mark Esper said in a statement.

Kratsios was confirmed as the fourth CTO of the United States in August 2019.

His portfolio included artificial intelligence, quantum computing, autonomous vehicles, commercial drones, STEM education, and advanced manufacturing. He has also worked on the Trump administration’s plans to expand 5G and broadband communications nationwide.

Kratsios will continue to serve as White House CTO while he holds the acting DoD position.

Mark Lewis, director of defense research and engineering for modernization. Credit: DoD

Lewis also will remain in his current role as director of defense research and engineering for modernization.

It was reported on Friday that Lewis would serve temporarily as acting undersecretary until one was named. After DoD announced Kratsios’ appointment, Lewis was moved to acting deputy undersecretary.

Lewis joined Griffin’s office in November 2019 after working at the Institute for Defense Analyses and spending most of his career as a faculty member at the University of Maryland in the department of aerospace engineering. From 2004 to 2008 he was the chief scientist of the U.S. Air Force.

Lewis was temporarily assigned the duties of assistant director for space after Derek Tournear left that job to become the director of the Space Development Agency.

The Space Development Agency, an organization whose creation was spearheaded by Griffin, plans to build and launch hundreds of satellites to provide high-speed communications and missile detection capabilities for the U.S. military.

Tournear said in a statement to SpaceNews that the agency will press forward with those plans.

“Our focus continues to be on our mission to deliver capability into the hands of our nation’s warfighters,” Tournear said. “With continued support from the White House, the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff and others, SDA will continue our work at pace and deliver on the vision to build, deploy, operate and innovate rapidly, at low cost in space.”