news | 29 April 2024

Defense Innovation Unit Announces New Deputy Director of Commercial Operations

WASHINGTON, D.C. - April 29, 2024 - Defense Innovation Unit welcomes Liz Young McNally, an accomplished senior executive and combat veteran, as the incoming Deputy Director, Commercial Operations. In this role she will bring her diverse experiences from the private sector, the military, and the not-for-profit sector to lead DIU’s collaboration with the commercial tech sector and investment community. This includes  enhanced portfolio company scaling support and related Department partnerships, as well as the defense innovation on-ramp, talent, and investment capabilities resident in National Security Innovation Network (NSIN) and National Security Innovation Capital (NSIC).  

Liz Young McNally

Liz is well positioned to bring the power of these teams together in support of DIU’s strategic mission, in close collaboration with our teammates across the Department, including the Office of Strategic Capital, Office of Industrial Base Policy and its Office of Small Business Programs, and partners across DoD’s Defense Innovation Community of Entities (DICE).

“Taking the partnership with the commercial tech sector to the next level is critically important to the Department of Defense (DoD),” said DIU Director Doug Beck. “Liz’s expertise and dual fluency across the commercial and military sectors, combining deep experience with both operating businesses and investors as well as downrange in uniform, and on top of her hands-on experience with inspiring service-and purpose-oriented talent, represent an incredible asset to our mission of delivering real change to the DoD at speed and scale.”

The addition of this new position, Deputy Director, Commercial Operations, is a key milestone in executing DIU’s 3.0 strategy of scaling commercial technology innovation across the U.S. Department and delivering maximum strategic impact to the warfighter. It also reinforces the focus for a coordinated demand signal from the DoD to the commercial technology sector and providing easier physical, digital and procedural on-ramps to the DoD.

“I am thrilled to join DIU at such a critical moment, not just to join such an innovative organization, but more importantly to help strengthen  our national security innovation ecosystem and our country’s national defense,” Liz Young McNally said. “I look forward to working across the commercial sector, the DoD, and our allies to bring critical solutions to our warfighters on a timescale that matters.”

Liz most recently served as co-CEO of Schmidt Futures, a philanthropic venture focused on projects and investments at the intersection of technology, innovation, and talent, in areas including AI, biotechnology, climate science, and the application of technology to address education, workforce and talent. Previously, she was a Partner at McKinsey & Company, where she served a broad variety of large and small corporate clients as well as investors and their portfolio companies, and also served as Global Lead for McKinsey Academy, the Firm’s tech-enabled capability building and leadership development offering. Earlier in her career, Liz was a Military Police officer in the US Army. Her service included two year-long tours in Iraq, where she served on the senior staff of General David Petraeus. A graduate of West Point and Oxford, Liz is both a Rhodes Scholar and Truman Scholar.  She was appointed twice by President Obama to the US Military Academy Board of Visitors.