The Defense Department plans to open another tech outreach hub before the end of the year, adding a third innovation office to those established in California and Boston, according to the Pentagon’s chief weapon buyer.
Speaking at the Common Defense conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., Kendall said a third Defense Innovation Unit-Experimental (DIUx) will launch in coming months but did not specify where the office will be located.
“You can anticipate that there will be at least one more office open in the next few months,” Kendall said. “We’re iterating as we go,” Kendall said. “We’re having some great initial success, I think. It’s well off and running.”
Carter launched the first DIUx about a year ago in Silicon Valley to establish a permanent Defense Department presence within an easy commute of the epicenter of digital innovation. Then, in August, he cut the ribbon on a second Defense Innovation Unit-Experimental (DIUx) in Boston, aimed at tapping the bio-technology market and academia in that city.
“The idea … was to try to reconnect the department, or improve the connections of the department to the commercial technology workplace, the great incubator we have in this country for innovation from startups that have really fueled our economy but have become increasingly disconnected from the government and from the Department of Defense in particular,” Kendall said during an overview of investments the Defense Department has made in emerging technologies and private-sector outreach.
Austin, Texas, is widely considered a likely host city for the third DIUx. Carter visited Austin during a recent tour of technology hubs and the city is home to several big-name tech firms that Carter has openly courted for military work. Aside from the tech-focused University of Texas at Austin, the city is home to 3M [MMM], Apple [AAPL], Cisco Systems [CSCO], Dropbox, eBay [EBAY], PayPal [PYPL], Facebook [FB] and Google [GOOGL] and Hewlett-Packard [HPQ].
“The idea is to bring the technologies coming out of that world more quickly into the department,” Kendall added. “They come in anyway, through our defense primes, primarily, as part of the systems that we acquire. The idea was to make that happen faster and to find some things that we might not acquire through our normal system that could be very beneficial militarily.”