According to a recent statement from US Central Intelligence Agency Director William J. Burns, the CIA has appointed Indian-origin Nand Mulchandani as their first Chief Technology Officer.

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

According to the CIA statement, Mulchandani has an experience of 25 years and will ensure “the Agency is leveraging cutting-edge innovations to further CIA’s mission.”

Delhi Origins

Mulchandani’s early days were spent at the prestigious Bluebells School International, at Kailash Colony in New Delhi. The self-described ‘serial entrepreneur’ graduated from Bluebells in 1987, before attending Cornell University from 1988-91, obtaining a Bachelors in Computer Science and Mathematics.

nand mulchandani cto cia

His career in the early 1990s coincided with the dawn of the information age. He started off right on the front lines of modern computing as a Compiler Architect for Sun Microsystems. He continued helping establish, develop, and manage teams for companies such as Oblix and Determina, in which he worked on pioneering identity and security technologies.

By 2007, both companies were sold to Oracle and VMware, respectively, thus establishing Mulchandani’s reputation as a solid tech entrepreneur. He then went on to handle the Security Product division at VMware after the acquisition, before handling CEO responsibilities at a variety of major tech companies.

Despite his deep dive into Silicon Valley’s biggest names, Mulchandani kept his academic bent going through his career. He joined Stanford Business School in 2017 to obtain a Masters of Science in Management, before snagging a Masters in Public Administration in 2019 from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and took on a fellowship at the same university from 2019-2021.

Mulchandani’s Role as the CIA’s CTO

CIA Headquarters, Langley

This isn’t Mulchandani’s first stint as CTO. His most recent role was that of CTO and Acting Director of the Department of Defense’s Joint Artificial Learning Center.

“I pivoted from my career in private industry to serve in the Government by joining the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC) at the US Department of Defense where I am driving the DoD’s next-generation AI efforts,” he elaborated on Linkedin.

The JAIC, broadly speaking, aims to exploit the full potential of AI and machine learning — focusing on AI security and AI ethics in recent months.

While the CIA is naturally tight-lipped about their internal operations, they did elaborate slightly on Mulchandani’s new role:

“As the CTO, Mr. Mulchandani will ensure the Agency is leveraging cutting-edge innovations and scanning the horizon for tomorrow’s innovations to further CIA’s mission,” the CIA said.

In his own statement, the tech-management pioneer expressed his enthusiasm for the role:

“I am honored to join the 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,” said the new CTO of CIA.

(Featured Image Credits: United States Department of Defense)