Air Force Reservist to Lead New DOD Tech Hub

The Department of Defense will create another Defense Innovation Unit Experimental, or DIUx, in Boston, and there are more coming, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Wednesday in a speech in California. Carter also named Raj Shah, an Air Force reservist, as the managing partner of the innovation hub. Shah recalled flying an F-16 near the border of Iraq and Iran, but lacking the software that private pilots had at home with moving maps and border outlines. Normally, he said, getting that capability from the civilian world into the DOD would be incredibly expensive and take several years, but DIUx hopes to overcome those types of hurdles. Carter said that to stay ahead of challenges and advances by Russia and China, he has been “pushing the Pentagon to think outside our five-sided box, and invest aggressively in change and innovation.” So far, the DIUx team in California has connected with more than 500 entrepreneurs and businesses, Carter said, and created a funding pipeline for nearly 24 technology projects. The tech hub will report directly to Carter, he said. “I can’t afford to have everybody do that, but this is to signify the importance I attach to this mission, and also the importance of speedy decision-making.” During an April trip to Boston, Carter announced the Pentagon would partner with a fabric organization to encourage the manufacture of wearable technology.