Michael Brown: DOD Should Rebuild Connection With Industry Amid Rising National Security Challenges

Michael Brown, director of the Defense Innovation Unit and a 2022 Wash100 Award winner, said the Department of Defense should work with industry and academia to address the increasing challenges posed by cyber and asymmetric warfare.

Brown wrote in a guest piece published Saturday on TechCrunch that DOD is advancing a technology modernization agenda that seeks to bring about a series of business process reforms, which he said are critical to improving the country’s defense posture.

He cited the creation of a global sensor network or an internet of things in space and how the industry could play a role in the development of such a platform to deliver situational awareness in real time and a resilient communications network.

“Commercial companies are developing these technologies today, and the DoD must increase its capacity to quickly assess and efficiently procure these solutions — enhancing our national security and driving commercial prosperity,” Brown wrote.

“Executing this vision means more companies than ever before can participate in a once-in-a-generation economic opportunity that likewise enhances national security in the 21st Century,” he added.

Brown said DIU is pursuing action in three areas to facilitate the integration of commercial technology to address defense problems. These areas are streamlining acquisitions, building flexibility into the budgeting process and directly addressing problems with available commercial platforms.

“We need all sides of the triangle of business, academia and government actively engaged, providing different ideas and approaches to accelerate our pace of modernization. Rebuilding the connection between DoD and commercial industry — from exchanging talent, acquiring products, having open communications on key issues — is critical,” Brown noted.

On Jan. 19, Brown discussed in his keynote speech at the Potomac Officers Club’s 8th Annual Defense Research and Development Summit how his organization employs commercial technology to accelerate innovation.

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