The Defense Department has unveiled a new Defense Innovation Unit Experimental office in Austin, Texas, that will work to connect the department with local innovators in an effort to acquire new technologies for warfighters and address national security challenges.
Christy Abizaid, former deputy assistant secretary of defense for Afghanistan, Pakistan and Central Asia and a National Security Council staff, will lead the third DIUx office and report to Raj Shah, DIUx managing partner, DoD said Wednesday.
“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 Defense Secretary Ashton 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.”
The Capitol Factory technology incubator will house the Austin DIUx staff, which will include local Reservists and National Guard members from the city’s technology community.
Abizaid said the new DIUx office will help local entrepreneurs and innovators do business with DoD.
DoD could also open a fourth DIUx office near Washington by the end of 2016 after the launch of the Austin office.
DIUx seeks to utilize commercial offerings to address national defense and technological challenges in areas such as autonomy, artificial intelligence and cybersecurity through its new Commercial Solutions Opening contracting mechanism.
The initiative has signed five agreements worth a total of $3.5 million since its establishment with 22 more projects planned that total $65 million in investment, DoD said.