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Immediate Release

Secretary Carter Names Additional Members of Defense Innovation Advisory Board

Secretary of Defense Ash Carter today announced nine additional members selected to join the Defense Innovation Advisory Board, which he established in March, 2016 to help keep the Department of Defense on the cutting edge of innovation. The new additions include Amazon CEO and Chairman Jeff Bezos, Code for America Founder Jennifer Pahlka, and astrophysicist and author Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Chaired by Alphabet Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, the board is comprised of 15 innovators, scholars, and leaders of large private and public organizations focused on new technologies and organizational behavior and culture.  Secretary Carter has asked the board to identify innovative private-sector practices and technological solutions that the DoD could employ in the future.

“These new additions to the board represent some of the most innovative minds in America. I appreciate their willingness to join this effort and keep the Department of Defense on the cutting edge,” said Secretary Carter. 

Current and prospective Board members are:

·      Eric Schmidt, executive chairman, Alphabet Inc. (DIAB chair)*

·      Jeff Bezos, president, chairman and CEO, Amazon Inc.

·      Adam Grant, professor, Wharton School of Business

·      Danny Hillis, computer theorist & co-founder, Applied Inventions

·      Reid Hoffman, co-founder, LinkedIn, and partner, Greylock Partners*

·      Walter Isaacson, president & CEO, Aspen Institute*

·      Eric Lander, president and founding director, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard

·      Marne Levine, chief operating officer, Instagram

·      J. Michael McQuade, senior vice president for science and technology, United Technologies

·      William McRaven, chancellor, University of Texas System*

·      Milo Medin, vice president, Access Services, Google Capital

·      Richard Murray, professor, California Institute of Technology

·      Jennifer Pahlka, founder, Code for America

·      Cass Sunstein, professor, Harvard Law School

·      Neil deGrasse Tyson, astrophysicist and author

*Previously announced

The Secretary announced the new members during an event to formally open the new Defense Innovation Unit Experimental (DIUx) office in Boston. DIUx  is another ground-breaking effort from Secretary Carter to strengthen the department’s connections to the American innovation economy and speed technologies into the hands of the warfighter. DIAB member Eric Lander, a geneticist, molecular biologist, and mathematician who currently serves as President and founding director of the  Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard was on hand for today’s announcement in Boston.

“It’s an honor to serve on the advisory board,” said Lander. “I look forward to providing my insights and recommendations to Secretary Carter on how the department can innovate to solve some of its unique challenges.”

The board will begin its work over the summer and is tasked to provide the secretary with initial recommendations by October.  Board members must complete a DoD ‘onboarding’ process before their appointments are complete


About the Board Members:

Eric Schmidt.  As chairman of Alphabet and author of “How Google Works,” Schmidt has a unique perspective on the latest practices in harnessing and encouraging innovation, and the importance of technology in driving organizational behavior and business operations.

Jeff Bezos.  The chairman and CEO of Amazon Inc., Bezos founded Amazon in his garage in 1994 and grew it to become the largest online retailer in the United States.  Known for his focus on innovation, Bezos has diversified Amazon’s offerings far beyond its early years as an online bookstore.  Bezos is also the founder of aerospace company Blue Origin and owner of The Washington Post.

Adam Grant.  Wharton Business School’s top-rated professor, Grant is the author of two New York Times bestselling books: “Originals,” which examines how innovators champion new ideas, and “Give and Take,” which discusses why helping others can drive success.  Grant earned his Ph.D. in organizational psychology from the University of Michigan and his B.A. from Harvard University.

Danny Hillis. An inventor, scientist, engineer and author, Hillis is a pioneer of supercomputing technology and holds hundreds of U.S. patents, covering parallel computers, touch interfaces, disk arrays, forgery prevention methods, and various electronic and mechanical devices.  Hillis is co-founder of Applied Minds and Applied Invention, an interdisciplinary group of engineers, scientists and artists that develops technology solutions in partnership with leading companies and entrepreneurs. He previously served as vice president of research and development at Walt Disney Imagineering, and co-founder of Thinking Machines Corp.

Reid Hoffman. An accomplished entrepreneur and executive, Hoffman is the co-founder and executive chairman of LinkedIn, the world's largest professional network. He is a Partner at Greylock Partners, and the co-author of two New York Times bestselling books about career and talent management in the networked age: "The Start-up of You" and "The Alliance." Prior to founding LinkedIn, Hoffman was executive vice president of PayPal.

Walter Isaacson.  The President and CEO of the Aspen Institute, a nonpartisan educational and policy studies institute, Isaacson is the author of numerous books profiling the creative processes of historical innovators.  His titles include “The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution,” as well as biographies of Steve Jobs, Albert Einstein, Benjamin Franklin, and Henry Kissinger.  Isaacson was previously the chairman and CEO of CNN and the editor of TIME magazine.

Eric Lander. The president and founding director of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Lander is a geneticist, molecular biologist, and mathematician who played a pioneering role in the understanding and biomedical application of the human genome, as a principal leader of the international Human Genome Project from 1990 to 2003.  Over the course of his career, he has developed and applied methods to systematically identify the genes essential for biological processes and to discover the molecular basis of cancers and other rare genetic diseases.  Lander currently serves as the co-chair of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.

Marne Levine. As chief operating officer at Instagram, Levine is responsible for helping to scale the company’s business and operations globally. She was previously the vice president of public policy at Facebook, where she developed the platform’s global policies and programs. Levine has held a number of senior positions in government, including most recently as chief of staff of the National Economic Council at the White House and special assistant to the president for economic policy.

J. Michael McQuade.  As senior vice president for science and technology at United Technologies Corp., McQuade is responsible for providing strategic oversight and guidance for research, engineering and development activities focused on a broad range of high-technology products and services to the global aerospace industry and buildings industries.  He previously held senior technology and business management positions at 3M, Imation, and Eastman Kodak.  McQuade received his Ph.D. in experimental high-energy physics from Carnegie Mellon University for research performed at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. 

William H. McRaven.  A retired Navy four-star admiral and recognized national authority on U.S. foreign policy, McRaven was the commander of U.S. Special Operations Command from 2011 to 2014, responsible for conducting counter-terrorism operations worldwide.  Now chancellor of the University of Texas System, McRaven oversees 14 institutions that educate 221,000 students and employ 20,000 faculty and more than 75,000 health care professionals, researchers, and staff.

Milo Medin. Part of the Internet development community for more than 25 years, Medin is vice president of access services at Google, where he leads advanced development of Fiber and other Access network services. He was the co-founder of Excite@Home, where he helped deliver the first large scale residential broadband access service.  Medin also worked at NASA’s Ames Research Center, where he managed the primary west coast interconnect for the Internet and managed the global NASA Science Internet, and earlier at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

Richard Murray.  The Thomas E. and Doris Everhart Professor of Control & Dynamical Systems and Bioengineering at the California Institute of Technology, Murray’s research focuses on the application of feedback and control to networked systems, with applications in biology and autonomy.  He holds a Ph.D. in electrical engineering and computer sciences from the University of California, Berkeley. 

Jen Pahlka. The founder of Code for America, Pahlka is committed to transforming how local and state governments think about technology, redesigning public services in areas that have high impact for communities. She was previously the U.S. Deputy Chief Technology Officer in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, where she helped found the U.S. Digital Service. 

Cass Sunstein. Currently the Robert Walmsley University Professor at Harvard, Sunstein previously served as the Administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs from 2009 to 2012.  He is the founder and director of the Program on Behavioral Economics and Public Policy at Harvard Law School and the author of numerous books on public policy and behavioral economics, including “Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness,” and “Simpler: The Future of Government.”

Neil deGrasse Tyson.  An astrophysicist and the Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium, Tyson is the author of dozens of professional publications and 12 books on astrophysics, including “Origins: Fourteen Billion Years of Cosmic Evolution,” and “Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier.”  Tyson hosts the popular science podcast Startalk and served as the host and narrator for “Cosmos,” the Emmy-winning 21st century continuation of Carl Sagan’s landmark television series. 


About the Defense Innovation Advisory Board

The Defense Innovation Advisory Board is an effort to enhance DoD’s culture, organization and processes by tapping innovators from the private sector, in Silicon Valley and beyond. It represents Secretary Carter’s enduring commitment to building lasting partnerships between the public and private sectors.

Just as the Defense Business Board provides advice to the department on best business practices from the private sector, the Defense Innovation Advisory Board will provide advice on the best and latest practices in innovation that the department can emulate.

The board’s mandate is to provide department leaders independent advice on innovative and adaptive means to address future organizational and cultural challenges, including the use of technology alternatives and streamlined processes and approaches - all with the goal of identifying solutions to DoD’s most challenging problems.