Carter Stresses Importance of Innovation to Warfighters
Carter Stresses Importance of Innovation to
By Jim Garamone, DoD News, Defense Media
Washington D.C. — (DoD News) — June 10, 2016 — One theme of Defense
Secretary Ash Carter’s term in office has been ensuring the department gets
warfighters what they need when they need it -- now and in the future.
Kevin Baron, right, executive editor of Defense One, introduces Defense
Secretary Ash Carter at the Defense One Tech Summit in Washington, D.C., June
10, 2016. Carter spoke about the intersection between technology and defense.
Carter told the Defense One Tech Summit at the Newseum here today that he is
looking at the intersection between technology and defense as the logical place
for this emphasis as he continues to put in place programs and organizations to
meet the needs of warfighters faster and more efficiently in an increasingly
One example is the Defense Innovation Board, which the secretary announced in
March. Alphabet executive chairman Eric Schmidt chairs the board, and Carter
announced other members at the summit. The board will include Reid Hoffman, the
head of LinkedIn; former U.S. Special Operations Command chief retired Navy Adm.
William McRaven; and noted innovation historian Walter Isaacson, he said.
“And we’ve got some additional amazing innovators lined up, so stay tuned for
who else will be joining them,” he added.
Carter said he has asked the board to keep DoD “imbued with a culture of
innovation in people, organizations, operations, and technology.” He wants the
board to champion people who aren’t afraid to try new things, fail, regroup and
try again, he said.
The secretary also said he wants to ensure the department is “doing
everything we can to stay ahead of potential adversaries.”
Strategic Capabilities Office
But the board does not act alone. DoD’s Strategic Capabilities Office also is
coming into its own, Carter said. The office, which the secretary established in
2012 when he was deputy secretary, re-imagines existing DoD systems and gives
them new roles and game-changing capabilities to confound enemies.
“We’re building fast, resilient microdrones that can be kicked out the back
of a fighter jet moving at Mach .9 and fly through heavy winds,” Carter said.
“We’re developing an arsenal plane, which will function as a very large airborne
magazine with different conventional payloads, networked to fifth-generation
aircraft that act as forward sensors and targeting nodes.”
The secretary also pointed to his Silicon Valley start-up, the Defense
Innovation Unit Experimental, or DIUx. He has since announced a second DIUx in
Boston. These efforts are bridges between DoD and tech companies that might not
normally consider doing business with the department, Carter said.
All of these efforts are based around people, the secretary said. “They’re
the key reason why our military is the finest fighting force the world has ever
known,” he added. “And in the future, we must continue to recruit and retain the
very best talent for our all-volunteer force.”
The secretary segued into a discussion of the Force of the Future and its
implications for his signature initiative. The Force of the Future will “ensure
that amid changes in generations, technologies, and labor markets, we’re always
postured to bring in, develop, and retain the best young men and women that
America has to offer,” he said.
The force initiative covers the personnel aspects of the department, he noted.
“As part of that, we’re implementing several new initiatives to give some of our
own people, military and civilian, the opportunity to get out and to learn how
the rest of the world works outside of our walls,” he said.
Fellowship programs and a career intermission program are just two examples
of the vistas now open to military personnel, Carter said. “We’re also looking
for ways to allow more of America’s brightest minds to contribute to our mission
of national defense,” he added. “We’re bringing in resident entrepreneurs, who
will work with senior leaders on challenging projects for a year or two.”
He also is hiring a chief recruiting officer to bring in top executives for
stints in civilian leadership roles.
The new Defense Digital Service is bringing in coders from companies such as
Google, Palantir, and Shopify for a “tour of duty” with the department. “We’re
also nearing completion of our pilot program called “Hack the Pentagon,” where
we invited vetted hackers to test our cybersecurity,” the secretary said. The
program exceeded expectations, said he told the summit audience, with more than
1,400 hackers testing the security of DoD’s networks and finding more than 100
bugs so far.
More needs to be done, Carter said, and he promised to continue his emphasis
in this area until the day he leaves office.
(Follow Jim Garamone on Twitter: @GaramoneDoDNews)
Related Biographies :