Center Staff

The brainpower behind the Center for Data-Driven Policy is the 8,000+ MITRE employees who are dedicated to solving problems for a safer world.

They're at the forefront of a range of strategically important, cutting-edge technologies. Among them are artificial intelligence, intuitive data science, quantum information science, health informatics, space security, trustworthy autonomy, cyber threat sharing, and cyber resilience. 

Activities of the Center for Data-Driven Policy are coordinated and guided by the small team of experienced policy professionals below.


Jim Cook

Jim Cook is MITRE’s vice president for Strategic Engagements and Partnerships and is responsible for oversight of the Center. He previously served as vice president and director of the Center for Enterprise Modernization (CEM), an FFRDC sponsored by the Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service, and co-sponsored by the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Social Security Administration, which supports modernization efforts for civilian government agencies. Cook has more than 30 years of consulting, systems integration, program management, and organizational change management experience in the public and private sectors. He holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing from the University of Maryland.


David Powner

David Powner is the Center’s executive director. Prior to joining MITRE, he served as the director of Information Technology Management Issues at the U.S. Government Accountability Office, where he testified before Congress as an expert witness more than 100 times. Among his many notable achievements, Powner played a key role in the implementation of the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA), led the creation of the FITARA Scorecard, and contributed his expertise and insights to the development of the Modernization Government Technology Act. He holds a bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of Denver and attended the Senior Executive Fellows Program at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.


James Swartout

James Swartout is the Center’s director of national security policy. Before coming to MITRE, Swartout served as senior adviser and a chief of staff to the Secretary of the Air Force and the Under Secretary of the Air Force. In 2015, he was the spokesperson and senior adviser to the Secretary of Defense during Ash Carter’s Senate confirmation and transition back to the Pentagon. Prior to joining the Air Force Secretariat, Swartout served as a senior adviser in the Office of the Secretary of Defense and as the spokesperson for Deputy Secretaries of Defense Ash Carter and Christine Fox. He currently serves as a senior visiting fellow at the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies and is a fellow at the Truman National Security Project. He holds a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Portland.


Beverly Ortega Babers

Beverly Ortega Babers is responsible for the Center’s domestic policy domain. Prior to joining MITRE, Babers served as the deputy assistant secretary for management and budget at the U.S. Department of the Treasury. In that role, she oversaw the formulation and execution of the Treasury’s budget and strategic planning. She was also the principal deputy for all administrative functions and transition director for the 2016 election. Babers previously served as the chief administrative officer for the U.S. Mint and Department of Education and held numerous leadership positions at the Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Justice. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Haverford College and a law degree from the University of California at Berkeley.


Duane Blackburn

Duane Blackburn is the Center’s deputy director and oversees the Center’s science and technology policy domain. Before joining MITRE, he served as an assistant director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and coordinated S&T policy for homeland security, law enforcement, and identity matters. He led the development and implementation of government-wide S&T strategies on a variety of subjects and influenced the conceptualization and oversight of national strategies throughout the formative stages of the nation’s homeland security enterprise. He has also served as an R&D program manager in the FBI, National Institute of Justice, and DoD Counterdrug Technology Development. He is a member of the Polaris Council, a body of interdisciplinary science and technology policy experts that advises the Government Accountability Office. Blackburn holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from Virginia Tech.


Chris Folk

Chris Folk is director for MITRE’s Cybersecurity Policy and Strategic Partnerships. He handles the Center’s cyber domain, facilitating policy guidance to complement technical solutions required to address challenges in securing the global cyber ecosystem. Folk has also served as the director, cyber strategy, and deputy CSO for MITRE’s 1000+ cyber experts working across our six FFRDCs. Previously, he led the cybersecurity, critical infrastructure, and intelligence programs at MITRE for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Folk has held the role of director of risk and vulnerability management at Amazon Web Services. He previously held positions with the U.S. Navy, U.S. Department of Defense, FBI, and U.S. Department of Energy. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Saginaw Valley State University and an MBA from Virginia Tech.


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