Katie Olson

Tech Champion of the Year

“The pandemic underscored the need for top tech talent in the department,” said Katie Olson, deputy director of the Defense Digital Service. Without such talent, the Department of Defense would not have been able to respond so quickly to the challenges created by the health crisis. “If the Navy had to execute and hire contract support for the tool, instead of turning to the DDS team of experts, the Navy would probably still be waiting for a symptom-checking tool and COVID-19 would have claimed more military lives,” Olson said. As the COVID-19 pandemic struck, DDS pivoted quickly to provide its innovative services across the DOD. “While DDS is already a distributed workforce with tools and resources to keep work moving seamlessly, our counterparts overseeing employee onboarding at the DOD’s Washington Headquarters Services did not,” she said. “DDS had a healthy hiring pipeline of candidates we’d worked hard to recruit in 2019 and we didn’t want to lose such amazing talent. So, DDS helped WHS to apply technology and acquire the equipment necessary to continue to hire and onboard employees. Since March, DDS has enabled the DOD to onboard 32 of our own employees and over 1,000 DOD employees virtually.”

Amrita Datar

Written by Amrita Datar

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