Carter Opens Second DoD Innovation Hub in Boston
Carter Opens Second DoD
Innovation Hub in Boston
By Cheryl Pellerin, DoD News,
Defense Media Activity.
Washington D.C. — (DOD
News) — July 26, 2016 — Defense Secretary Ash Carter today rolled out the
department’s second innovation hub, a new office in Boston that joins the
technology outpost that he opened last year in Silicon Valley, California.
Defense Secretary Ash Carter opens the
Defense Department’s second DIUE office in Boston
The secretary has championed Defense Innovation Unit
Experimental, or DIUx, as one of the ways the Pentagon is investing in
innovation and a model for outreach to the United States’ innovative technology
communities. The two DIUx hubs strategically place the department in a position
to access leading-edge technologies, scientists and other experts on behalf of
the nation, DoD and its warfighters, he said.
“Over the last 11 months since we first opened the doors of
the West Coast office in Silicon Valley, DIUx … has helped us connect with
hundreds of entrepreneurs and firms, making great progress in putting
commercially based innovation into the hands of America’s soldiers, sailors,
airmen and Marines,” Carter said today at the new hub in Boston’s Cambridge
In May, Carter launched DIUx 2.0 with several new features.
“It now reports directly to my office. It has its own
contracting capability and budget resources. It has a new, flatter,
partnership-style leadership structure led by managing partner Raj Shah, an F-16
pilot and co-founder of a successful technology startup,” the secretary said,
adding that with the opening of the Boston office, DIUx has gone nationwide.
Over the past 10 weeks, progress has included adding to the
leadership team, Carter said. The new team now includes Chief Science Officer
Bernadette Johnson, former chief technology officer at MIT Lincoln Laboratories,
and Boston military lead Col. Mike McGinley, a lawyer specializing in
cybersecurity issues who also is an Air Force Reserve cyberwarrior.
The DIUx operating structure consists of three teams, Carter
A Venture Team will identify emerging commercial technologies
and explore their battlefield potential, a Foundry Team will identify
technologies that require development or adaptation for military applications,
and an Engagement Team will introduce innovators to national security challenges
and the military to entrepreneurs.
An innovative engagement mechanism called the Commercial
Solutions Opening will leverage new flexible authorities for prototyping
provided by Congress. This uses processes similar to those used by the private
sector and routes funding in as little as 60 days after a proposal is accepted,
Carter said he also wants DoD to be part of the coming
revolution in biotechnology and the biosciences, because both can have an impact
on the health and welfare of the department’s men and women in uniform.
“That’s why I’m also announcing that DIUx is exploring ways
to bring leading minds in the military and DoD who work on biodefense and
biological technology together with world-class academic researchers, biotech
companies, and entrepreneurs -- including those right here in Boston, like [MIT
mathematician and geneticist] Eric Lander and the Broad Institute and others,”
the secretary added.
Like San Francisco, Austin, Seattle and other places, he said,
Boston is an ecosystem of companies, universities and research institutions that
exemplifies America’s innovative culture, especially in the union of
biosciences, engineering and data, areas that together could yield new ways to
fight infectious diseases or help develop new materials that can regenerate,
respond to their environment or learn and evolve.
“The outcome of this will be just one of the many ways we’ll
measure the success of DIUx,” he said, but the most important metric, he added,
“will be how much new technology is delivered into the hands of our troops.”
A high return on investment will mean improved warfighter
capability, with innovative technologies being demonstrated and incorporated
into regular defense acquisition programs of record, the secretary said. “That
will require more companies that might not look for defense business getting
into our game, and also established defense companies having more access to
talent,” Carter added.
Addressing Strategic Challenges
“This is a very exciting time,” Carter said. “For those
interested in foreign policy and national security, there are lots of
interesting challenges and problems to work on. That’s also true for those
interested in technology. But the intersection of the two is an opportunity-rich
Right now, he said, men and women in uniform are working with
partners from the U.S.-led worldwide coalition in more ways and with more power
every day to accelerate the defeat of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant,
training with NATO allies in Europe to deter Russian aggression, sailing the
waters of the Asia-Pacific to ensure that region’s stability, standing guard
24-7 on the Korean Peninsula, and countering Iran’s malign influence.
All the while, he said, they’re helping to protect the
“Whether it’s machine learning technology that can recognize
and block ISIL’s barbaric attack plotting on social media, or algorithms that
help a self-driving boat track submarines, or biotech research that could one
day help our troops recover from injury faster,” Carter said, “technology is a
critical part of everything we do. It’s critical to addressing every strategic
challenge facing us today. That’s why DIUx matters.”
(Follow Cheryl Pellerin on Twitter @PellerinDoDNews)
Special Report: Science and Technology