Kentucky's New CIO: A Retired Colonel with Federal-Level IT Expertise

Longtime U.S. Army officer Dr. Charles Grindle, who retired earlier this year, has been named Kentucky's new chief information officer.

After roughly two years without a designated chief information officer, Kentucky has tapped a recently retired U.S. Army veteran with federal-level information technology (IT) experience as its top tech official.

In a Dec. 8 announcement, Finance and Administration Secretary William Landrum III revealed that Charles Grindle, a colonel with a 29-year U.S. Army career, will serve as Kentucky’s new CIO. He will head the Commonwealth Office of Technology and will be a member of Gov. Matt Bevin’s executive cabinet.

Grindle served as an Army IT and field artillery officer during his active military service, and completed a broad range of tactical, operational and strategic assignments during peace and wartime.

Immediately prior to becoming CIO, he was an associate professor at the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, Pa., where he's served in various capacities since June 2012 according to his LinkedIn profile.

His Army career dates to 1988; and during active service, Grindle was deployed to Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, where he was lead IT officer for the 3rd Army (FWD).  Upon returning, he served as CIO for the U.S. Military Academy.

Landrum said in a statement he is “extremely pleased” at Grindle’s elevation to the position of CIO, which was previously occupied by acting CIO and Deputy Commissioner Jim Barnhart. Barnhart replaced CIO Jim Fowler, who resigned in December 2015 after Bevin’s election in the previous month.

“His breadth of experience and depth of knowledge will be instrumental as we continue transitioning to enterprisewide technology platforms, as opposed to the prior practice of state government developing agency-specific applications,” Landrum said. “This created far too many silos in the executive branch, with agencies working entirely independent of each other."

Grindle said he is excited to join the Office of Technology.

“I feel confident we can build upon the work already being done while also challenging our IT team to embrace new thinking, deploy new technologies and improve the commonwealth’s technology platforms to make state government more accessible to citizens,” the new CIO said in a statement.

The retired colonel has long focused on IT. He earned both a master’s and doctorate degree in information science at the University of Pittsburgh. Grindle also holds a second master’s degree from the U.S. Army War College.

He has also taught academic courses on topics including contemporary security issues, cyber operations and U.S. national security policy.

He is married with two daughters and retired from the Army earlier this year.

Theo Douglas is assistant managing editor for, and before that was a staff writer for Government Technology. His reporting experience includes covering municipal, county and state governments, business and breaking news. He has a Bachelor's degree in Newspaper Journalism and a Master's in History, both from California State University, Long Beach.