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Pentagon, DIUx Officials Discuss DoD, Industry Innovation

By Terri Moon Cronk DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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PLEASANTON, Calif., Aug. 5, 2015 — In an ongoing effort to create innovative partnerships to benefit national security and industry, Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work met yesterday with senior leaders at the new Defense Innovation Unit Experimental “point of presence” here.

Work and Frank Kendall, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, met with newly appointed DIUx Director George Duchak and military deputy Navy Rear Adm. Brian Hendrickson to discuss key areas of the pilot program, intended to produce dual-use technology between the Defense Department and Silicon Valley.

The leaders discussed preserving the nation’s technological superiority, the rapid evolution of emerging commercial technologies and integrating those ideas within military systems and concepts of operations, Work said.

“We’re very interested in maintaining and expanding that superiority,” he added.

DIUx to Expand Private, DoD Partnerships

DIUx, Work said, is part of Defense Secretary Ash Carter’s Defense Innovation Initiative, which complements DoD’s long-standing relationships with industry leaders while simultaneously exploring new opportunities for innovative companies and business leaders.

“Innovation in areas such as big data, analytics, autonomy and robotics is going on in [Silicon Valley] and we want to tap into it,” Work said.

DIUx leaders will mediate ideas and opportunities to help innovators and point them toward areas that can help solve significant national security problems, he explained.

DIUx a ‘Hub’ of innovation Access

Last month, DoD called for a concerted effort to focus on innovation in commercial technology. DIUx will be a hub for DoD’s core initiative to increase DoD’s access to innovative, leading-edge technologies from high-tech, start-up companies and entrepreneurs.

The DIUx office will be situated at Moffett Airfield in Mountain View, California, and similar units could be stood up in other U.S. centers of innovation, Work said.

Innovative technology in the 1970s centered on government-specific technologies such as precision-guided munitions, long-range sensors and the Stealth bomber, the deputy secretary said.

“There was no commercial market for those things,” he said. “We were we were controlling the technology and we were successful at it.”

Dual-Use Technology

DoD is no less innovative today, Work said, but “now there are many dual-use technologies that are being driven by the commercial sector.” He cited examples such as robotics, used in both the private sector and DoD, and cyberdefense, which is an area of concern in both sectors.

Work and Kendall emphasized that the world and sources of innovation are changing, and DoD must rapidly innovate and continue to be a smart customer of commercial technology.

(Follow Terri Moon Cronk on Twitter: @MoonCronkDoD)