It’s a well-known fact in government IT that the best and brightest often leave government after their service is done. This is a federal talent challenge, but it’s also valuable for contractors to gain senior leadership with first-hand knowledge of exactly what technology the government needs to deliver on the mission.

Juniper Networks has hired David Mihelcic as head of federal technology and strategy. Mihelcic departs after a three-decade career in government IT. Most recently, he served as the CTO at the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA). Prior to that, he served as an information assurance engineer at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory and as a senior consultant at SRI International.

While at DISA, he led the Agency’s engineering and technology efforts establishing a culture of innovation and a pipeline for introducing leading edge commercial technologies into DISA. Additionally, Mihelcic served as the head of network engineering and had a major role in the Global Information Grid Bandwidth Expansion Program, a large-scale DoD net-centric transformational initiative that led to the largest increase in DoD communications capability and bandwidth ever.

Last year, Mihelcic drove an IT update at DISA that helped put the power of Big Data in the hands of the warfighter. The new capability allowed analytics to be defined by the operator on the fly, accelerating the deployment of network visibility exactly when and where required. The update also improved cybersecurity, speeding custom-analytic development from weeks to days.

“We’ll be able to take either commercially developed analytics or analytics … operated out in the field and run those against some or all of that data without necessarily having it interact with the purpose-built and certified core analytics,” Mihelcic said at an AFCEA event last year.

“We have an incredible opportunity at Juniper to lead the next wave of innovation and network transformation in the federal space,” said Tim Solms, vice president, U.S. Federal and managing director, WW Government at Juniper Networks. “David has a proven track record of positive disruption within the federal government, and we’re pleased to welcome him to Juniper to continue to drive innovation not only for our federal customers, but the entire company.”

While in government service, Mihelcic advocated for efforts to reform the Defense Department‘s acquisition process, and is on record as saying he believes that the DoD should replace its current requirements-driven procurement system with a needs-based approach. Better leveraging commercial innovation is the fastest way for government to transform its IT infrastructure and keeping up with the accelerating pace of technological change.

For being on the forefront of federal innovation, we are naming Juniper’s Mihelcic as this week’s GovTransformer. Stay tuned for our ongoing coverage of other federal executives and their agencies that are truly transforming how they support mission goals through the most effective use of IT.

Mihelcic began work for Juniper in March, and will work out of their Herndon, VA office. We are happy this proven GovTransformer will continue working on improving the IT infrastructure of the federal government.