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Defense Innovation Board Chair: Recommendations Making an Impact

By Cheryl Pellerin DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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WASHINGTON, Oct. 25, 2017 — Defense Innovation Board members yesterday discussed four potential new recommendations for the Defense Department and DIB Chairman Eric Schmidt, executive director of Alphabet Inc., said the members are starting to feel the board is having an impact on the department.

The meeting, held in Arlington, Virginia, was the fifth public meeting since the board was established in October 2016. Joshua Marcuse, DIB executive director and an adjunct fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, introduced the members in attendance.

Schmidt was joined by astrophysicist and author Neil deGrasse Tyson, California Institute of Technology Professor Richard Murray, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard President and Founding Director Eric Lander, United Technologies Senior Vice President for Science and Technology J. Michael McQuade, and Google Capital Access Services Vice President Milo Medin.

Joining the meeting by telephone were Instagram Chief Operating Officer Marne Levine and Code for America Founder Jennifer Pahlka.

The board invited military experts from each service to describe their efforts to create innovation cells and speed the process. And the members received an update on the science and technology subcommittee's work on software acquisition and reform guidance.

Recommendations for DoD

Since January, the DIB members have made 12 recommendations, which DoD officials now are reviewing. The recommendations are aimed at keeping the Defense Department on the cutting edge in technology, culture, operations and processes.

“I'm quite optimistic that this model is working,” Schmidt said during the meeting. “I think it shows a hunger for change, an interest in new things and a modernization process that matters a great deal. And the secretary of defense and his staff have been incredibly supportive of this whole maneuver.”

He added that since the board’s last meeting in July in California’s Silicon Valley, the members have made several DoD site visits, the most notable being U.S. Forces Japan and U.S. Forces Korea.

“If you want to understand complexity,” Schmidt said, “that's a great place to go visit and understand complex strategy, complex technology, complex personnel issues, and we were extremely well hosted there.”

During this meeting the members considered making four recommendations:

-- Recommendation 13: Develop an accelerator to help the department move faster, make decisions quicker and reduce the time it takes to adapt to adversary moves, emerging technologies and surprises.

-- Recommendation 14: Elevate new ideas in DoD, so that people who have great ideas receive executive sponsorship and go through a process that gives them the ability to put the ideas to work.

-- Recommendation 15: Create a new career field focused on innovation, rapid capability development and acquisition data science and science, technology, engineering and math skill sets.

-- Recommendation 16: Establish a training program to increase the effectiveness and velocity of technology adoption and integration within DoD.

(Follow Cheryl Pellerin on Twitter: @PellerinDoDNews)


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