Secretary of Defense Ash Carter announced today that the Department of Defense will establish a new Defense Innovation Unit Experimental, or DIUx, presence in Austin, Texas. Like the existing DIUx offices in Silicon Valley and Boston, the team in Austin will link the department with America’s leading innovators, so they can help address our national security challenges and ensure America’s warfighters remain on the cutting edge of technology. Secretary Carter was joined at the event by state and local officials, as well as technology leaders from Austin and the surrounding area.
“I created DIUx last year because one of my core goals as secretary of defense has been to build, and in some cases rebuild, the bridges between our national security endeavor at the Pentagon and America’s wonderfully innovative and open technology community,” said Secretary Carter. “Austin’s commitment to innovation, access to talent and academia, as well as the department’s longstanding ties to Texas make this an ideal next location for DIUx.”
Initially, the new DIUx reserve presence will occupy space within the well-known Austin technology incubator Capital Factory. It will be led by Christy Abizaid, who previously served as deputy assistant secretary of defense for Afghanistan, Pakistan and Central Asia and on the National Security Council staff. The rest of the staff will primarily be filled by local reservists and National Guard members already working within Austin’s tech community. Abizaid will report to DIUx Managing Partner Raj Shah.
“This Austin presence will introduce us to even more innovators looking to help America’s warfighters,” said Abizaid. “The entrepreneurs in this area, including many veterans, are working on cutting-edge technology that could benefit our troops. We want to make it easier for them to do business with the DoD.”
DIUx is tackling some of our nation’s toughest defense challenges and the team is seeking solutions in a variety of technological areas — from autonomy, artificial intelligence and machine learning to cybersecurity and analytics. Since the end of June, DIUx has made significant progress in finding commercial solutions to some of these problems through its new contracting mechanism, the commercial solutions opening or CSO.
To date, DIUx has signed five agreements for $3.5M, our first within just 31 days from initial company contact to award. Another 22 projects are in the pipeline, totaling an additional $65M of forthcoming investment. Because DIUx operates on a co-investment model in which it pools funds with the military end-users it works with, DIUx’s $17 million of R&D expenditure is augmented by $51 million of additional funding by others within the department. For each $1 DIUx invests in innovative technology, other parts of the department are investing nearly $3.
Further information about DIUx and its work with the tech community may be found on their website at https://www.diux.mil.
Release No: NR-321-16
Sept. 14, 2016