The Pentagon’s New Hires for Innovation

The Pentagon is expanding its innovation effort by recruiting more Silicon Valley heads and former military commanders to push the Defense Department to become more tech friendly. Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced he has recruited LinkedIn CEO Reid Hoffman, former Special Operations Command chief retired Adm. Bill McRaven, and Aspen Institute President and historian Walter Isaacson to join the Defense Innovation Advisory Board, which Carter established earlier this year and is led by Eric Schmidt of Google and Alphabet. The board’s mission is to find the latest best practices in innovation for the Pentagon to emulate, and will eventually be made up of 12 people. The move is part of a push to stay ahead of future challenges and to “think outside of our five-sided box,” Carter said Friday at the Defense One Tech Summit in Washington, D.C. Carter said he met with SpaceX CEO Elon Musk earlier in the week at the Pentagon to discuss innovation, and the two did not “talk business,” meaning the company’s push for more military space launch contracts. Carter this week announced multiple changes to improve the military’s personnel system to make it more innovative and friendly to career advancement, including an all-digital recruitment process, providing for more lenient career advancement to spur education and training outside the military, and improving the process of hiring civilian staff.