Head of the Defence AI Centre, Ministry of Defence
Air Commodore David Rowland joined the Royal Air Force in 1989 as an engineer specialising in Information Technology to enable and support the delivery of Air Power and defence outputs. Initial appointments concentrated on leading RAF and Joint Services Technical teams on RAF Stations including OC Communications and Information Systems Engineering Flight at RAF Brawdy, OC Engineering Flight on the Rapier Training Unit at RAF West Raynham plus a 4-month detachment to the Falkland Islands. Other junior leadership appointments include a tour on the Radio Introduction Unit at RAFSEE Henlow introducing new IT and telecoms equipment into the RAF and, an instructor post training new Officers within the Department of Initial Officer Training at RAFC Cranwell in Lincolnshire. On promotion to Squadron Leader in 1999, he was posted to the Ground Based Air Defence (GBAD) Integrated Project Team in the Defence Procurement Agency at Abbeywood supporting the Rapier ground-based weapons system. Subsequent tours included OC Electrical Engineering Squadron at RAF Kinloss managing the Nimrod aircraft avionics workshops and the on-station IT networks and a HR appointment to the Personnel Management Agency at RAF Innsworth. In 2004, he was promoted to Wing Commander and selected to undertake the Advanced Command and Staff Course. He graduated with a Kings College London MA in July 2005 and was posted to the J6 Division of the Permanent Joint Headquarters at Northwood planning the IT aspects of Joint operations world-wide. In July 2007 he completed a 4-month detachment to Afghanistan as the Chief of NATO IT systems for Kandahar Air Base. On return to the UK he was posted to the Ministry of Defence (MOD) where he acted as the sponsor's lead desk officer for the '7.1 Bn Defence IT Programme. He assumed command of No 1 Radio School, the RAF's IT technical training college at RAF Cosford in July 2009. Rowland was posted back to the MOD in June 2011 where he worked on Cyber Operations Policy. Promoted to Group Captain in Dec 11, Rowland was posted to Air Command as DACOS A6 Ops and Plans where he was responsible for the planning and tasking of AIR IT and Cyber capability to support operations and exercises in the UK and overseas. He was posted to Defence Digital as Dep Hd Cyber and Crypto Team in Jan 14. Rowland assumed command of 90 Signals Unit in Sep 14. During his 2 years in command the Unit redeployed from Afghanistan, refocused on Contingent Operations, established an Air Cyber Information Services Operations Centre, and received 591 Signal Unit Cyber specialists into the organisation. Promoted to Air Commodore, Rowland assumed the Head of Strategy, within Defence Digital, in Nov 2016. Here he led the production of the Digital Functional Strategy, the Defence Digital input to the 2020 Integrated Review and the production of the new Defence Digital Strategy. Handing over the Hd Strategy role in Nov 20, Rowland remains in Defence Digital as the Head of the Defence Artificial Intelligence Centre (DAIC) and Senior Responsible Owner for the Digital Foundry. David is married to Karen, who is a primary school teacher, and they have 2 daughters. His interests include keeping fit enough to complete in triathlons, skiing, the onward maintenance of his kit car and, holding a National Private Pilot's license, flying microlight aircraft.