WASHINGTON — Palantir Technologies, a software and data integration firm that specializes in defense, intelligence and homeland security matters, has named several prominent former defense officials to its first federal advisory board.
Former Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James and former U.S. Special Operations Command chief retired Adm. William McRaven are among the defense leaders named to the Palantir Federal Advisory Board to offer their perspectives to company officials, the company said in a release Wednesday.
Former acting deputy secretary of defense Christine Fox, former U.S. Africa Command head retired Gen. Carter Ham, and former Coast Guard vice commandant retired Vice Adm. Peter Neffenger, who also previously headed the Transportation Security Administration, are also on the board. Former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, now a counselor to Palantir, will also take part in the board’s meetings.
“We invited these national security leaders to join our first government advisory board because of the exceptional contributions they have made to this country in their years of public service, as well as the expertise and unwavering integrity they have brought to addressing the most significant national security challenges we collectively face,” Palantir co-founder and chief executive Alexander Karp said in the release.
Palantir senior vice president Wendy Anderson, herself a former DoD official, said in a Tuesday interview the board’s members will help the company better understand how the military services and the Defense Department work.
“We do have 20 years, almost, of our own mostly direct engagement with the department,” Anderson said. “But we still have a lot to learn, and we’re excited about learning it. [The board’s members] understand the cultures of the services, they understand priorities.”
The board members, who are paid, also understand the nation’s defense needs are changing, and the rapidly evolving pace of technology is driving that change, Anderson said.
They will also assist Palantir in thinking strategically about its goals in the federal market and help find business opportunities in the armed services that might be right for its technology, she said.
In the release, James and McRaven stressed how important it is for the military to take advantage of technology and engineering like Palantir’s.
“Throughout my time in the Navy and in particular with the special operations community, having superior technology was instrumental in achieving success on the battlefield,” McRaven said.
Stephen Losey is the air warfare reporter for Defense News. He previously covered leadership and personnel issues at Air Force Times, and the Pentagon, special operations and air warfare at Military.com. He has traveled to the Middle East to cover U.S. Air Force operations.