news | 4 April 2023

DOD Announces Apple’s Doug Beck as New Defense Innovation Unit Director

Mountain View, Calif. (April 4, 2023) — Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, has named Doug Beck, Vice President (VP) at Apple and a Navy Reserve Captain, as the new director for the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) in a memorandum published on April 4. Secretary Austin’s announcement also unveils DIU’s realignment as a direct report to the Secretary of Defense. His start date at DIU will be May 1, 2023. 

Doug Beck

As DIU Director, Doug will oversee efforts to accelerate the Department's adoption of commercial technology throughout the military and also serve as a senior advisor to the Secretary and Deputy Secretary of Defense on technology innovation, competition, and strategic impact.

“These changes will further enable [DIU] to effectively execute this critical mission,” said Secretary Austin in the April 4 memo. “The DIU director will serve as a focal point for new and emerging commercial technology sectors to help identify dual-use pathways and adaptations that enable rapid transition and fielding of new technologies and as an advisor to me and to the Deputy Secretary of Defense on their potential strategic impact.”

As a VP at Apple, Doug reported directly to CEO Tim Cook since joining the company in 2009. During that time, he co-led Apple's global business development and sales functions, and led the company's business across Northeast Asia and the Americas, and most recently, several of the company's purpose-driven businesses worldwide, including in health, education, and other institutions of public impact. He has more than fifteen years of experience living and working across Asia, including in Japan, China, Hong Kong, Korea, Singapore, and Indonesia.

Doug is a Captain in the U.S. Navy Reserve and served from 2006 through 2007 in Iraq and Afghanistan with a joint special operations task force. He has also served extensively throughout the Asia Pacific region during his nearly 26 years of service, including command of a large joint reserve unit supporting U.S. Indo-Pacific Command in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Doug has previous experience working with DIU, as he founded and led its Joint Reserve Directorate (JRD) and was the first JRD Commander from 2015 to 2019. His personal and unit awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal (two awards), the Bronze Star Medal, the Combat Action Ribbon, and the Presidential Unit Citation. 

Doug previously served as a nonpartisan appointed member of the Secretary of State's Foreign Affairs Policy Board, an Executive Advisor to three Chiefs of Naval Operations and to Special Operations Community leadership, and an adjunct lecturer on strategy and innovation for Flag and General Officers at the Naval Postgraduate School. For more than 15 years, he has served as a formal and informal advisor to senior uniformed and civilian leadership across the Department. He also serves as a part of Secretary of Commerce Raimondo's mentorship program for Commerce leaders. Doug has also served for eight years as a member of the Board of Directors of the Center for a New American Security and of the Advisory Board for Yale's Jackson School of Global Affairs.

He holds a bachelor's degree summa cum laude from Yale and an M.Phil in International Relations from Oxford, where he was a Rhodes Scholar.

“Doug’s experience in the commercial world and with the joint force structure will help DIU get to a new level of scaling commercial technology to the men and women in uniform,” said Mike Madsen, Acting DIU Director. “His selection and DIU's elevation underscore the importance the Department places on DIU's, NSIC's, and NSIN's activities as well as delivering commercial technology to our service members.”