Brett Goldstein


Defense Digital Service

Brett Goldstein is the Director of Defense Digital Service , where he leads a team of technologists focused on high-impact problems at the Department of Defense. Throughout his career, Goldstein has served in a range of mission-driven leadership roles across government, the private sector, and academia. He is deeply committed to improving government through data and technology.

Goldstein began his technology career at OpenTable, where he grew the company from an early-stage startup to a multinational corporation. Following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, he joined the Chicago Police Department where he earned the rank of Commander. He became a leader in Chicago’s municipal government, serving as the first municipal Chief Data Officer in the nation, and later assuming the position of the city’s Chief Information Officer. In these roles, Goldstein was critical in leading successful efforts to use data and technology to improve the lives of Chicago-area residents. To accomplish this, he established one of the premier analytics programs in the country, accelerating Chicago’s growth as a global hub of innovation and technology.

Goldstein currently serves as a Senior Fellow and Special Advisor for Urban Science at the University of Chicago, where he advises governments, universities, and corporations around the globe on how to use data to better understand urban ecosystems. He is also a Special Advisor to the Provost and Senior Advisor to the Pearson Institute for the Study and Resolution of Global Conflicts.

Goldstein also co-founded and served as Managing Partner of Ekistic Ventures, a venture capital fund dedicated to cultivating a portfolio of technology start-ups that bring new solutions to critical urban problems. Prior to his work at Ekistic, Goldstein served as the Chief Technology Officer of GCM Grosvenor, a global investment and advisory firm.

Most recently, Goldstein served as Special Advisor (HQE) to the United States Department of the Navy where he provided technical expertise on special projects, including overhauling the Navy’s personnel and manpower systems and infrastructure, developing data analytics and machine learning with Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), and using commercial technology and algorithms to improve force protection for service members in Afghanistan as part of NATO’s Resolute Support Mission.

Goldstein holds a master's degree in Computer Science from the University of Chicago and a master’s degree in Criminal Justice from Suffolk University. He earned his bachelor's degree in Government from Connecticut College. Goldstein has received numerous recognitions and awards, including the Illinois Law Enforcement Medal of Honor, Crain's Chicago Business 40 under 40 and Crain’s Chicago Tech 50.