Director of Innovation
M. Shands Pickett is a Director at DT and leads DT’s innovation initiatives, data collection efforts, and analysis programs. Shands has a broad background working with U.S. foreign policy stakeholders – interagency and military – to overcome operational challenges using effective approaches enabled by software. Previously, Shands created technology tools for U.S. Special Operations Command components to help Special Operations forces better understand local conflict dynamics. He also supported the U.S. Army Joint Multinational Readiness Center in Germany, where he built a new training platform to increase the readiness of U.S., NATO, and multinational forces operating in Europe.
From 2010 to 2013, Shands led research operations for two U.S. Army teams in Afghanistan, gathering and analyzing local population data to enhance governance initiatives in Ghazni and Zabul. Before deploying to Afghanistan, he worked for the intelligence community on a wide variety of counterinsurgency and counterterrorism programs. Shands served in the U.S. Peace Corps as a volunteer in Uzbekistan from 2003 to 2005, where he won and administered a USAID small projects grant.
Shands completed an M.A. at The George Washington University where he studied U.S. Foreign Policy as a graduate fellow at the Institute of European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies. He regularly contributes to the Small Wars Journal and spends his free time learning new programming languages (with marginal success).