DIU Head Michael Brown to Overview Defense R&D Initiatives During Potomac Officers Club Event Keynote

The top official in charge of the Department of Defense organization responsible for commercial technology deployments to the U.S. military will deliver a closing keynote address to the Potomac Officers Club’s 8th Annual Defense Research and Development Summit on Wednesday, Jan. 19.

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Michael Brown, a former Symantec CEO, assumed the director post at the Defense Innovation Unit in September 2018 and oversees national security innovation partnerships with the tech community through DIU offices in Silicon Valley, Boston, Austin and at the Pentagon.

According to DIU’s 2020 annual report, the agency increased the number of its new projects by 35 percent year-over-year to 95 and saw the number of industry proposal submissions per solicitation climb 52 percent compared with the offers received during 2019.

Brown told Defense News last year that DOD established the unit to reach out to the venture and innovation ecosystems that could help accelerate the availability of new capabilities to the department.

“The top five tech companies spent 10 times in research and development what the top five primes do, and if we want access to those bigger R&D pools, we’ve got to work the way they know how to work,” he said in the January interview.

DIU also backs startup companies working on dual-use technology with potential defense applications through the agency’s National Security Innovation Capital program.

The NSIC initiative applies the other transaction authority when issuing prototype development contracts.

“Funding innovative dual-use technology to improve national security is critical in our nation’s strategic competition with China and providing the best technology for our military,” Brown said in September.

The DIU chief will be the final and fourth keynote speaker at POC’s next virtual event.

Register now to join the half-day summit that will also feature keynote speeches from Heidi Shyu, undersecretary for research and engineering at the Department of Defense; Stefanie Tompkins, director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency; and Amanda Toman, acting principal director for 5G Initiative at DOD.

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