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Get an Inside Look at Defense Innovation at FedSuperNova

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On September 28th, the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) and our partners at Capital Factory and AWS hosted a seven-part track highlighting our efforts to strengthen the national security innovation base. The conversations detail how non-traditional and commercial companies can work with the Department of Defense (DoD) to bridge the Valley of Death between commercial technology and DoD programs.

In case you missed it, you can watch the entire event here or you can watch the individual panel discussions by clicking below!

Watch: Defense Innovation Unit Welcome Message and Overview

Speakers

Andrea Castillon

DIU, Austin City Lead

Summary

The Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) is the only Department of Defense organization focused exclusively on fielding and scaling commercial technology across the U.S. military. We're a fast-moving team that contracts with commercial companies to help solve critical national security problems — together. 

Watch the Fireside Chat: SECDEF Innovation Priorities

Speakers

Ms. Heidi Shyu

DoD, Under Secretary of Research and Engineering 

Mike Brown

DIU, Director

Summary

"Build Back Better" is President Biden’s three-part agenda to rescue, recover, and rebuild the economy. This agenda embraces a whole of government approach and the Department of Defense will play a significant role, not only in maintaining a strong national security but as an economic enabler. 

Watch this session to learn how the Department of Defense will defend the United States guided by three priorities;  defending the nation, taking care of people, and succeeding through teamwork. Creating opportunities for new-to-government companies to take advantage of its resources will play a major part in the Department’s plans and during this conversation you will receive behind-the-scenes insights from leadership within the Office of the Secretary of Defense as they discuss administration and defense priorities.

Watch Panel 1: DoDX Ecosystem Counter-Intelligence Brief: The Threat Walks Among Us

Speakers

David Rader

DoD, Deputy Director 

Katherine Koleski

DIU, Program Analyst 

Summary

Economic uncertainty doesn’t stop innovation, but it has made it more difficult for early-stage companies to secure the funding they need to grow. In response, some startups and entrepreneurs are turning to investments from foreign rivals, especially China, creating potential security problems for their businesses and for the United States as a whole.

In this session, DIU will examine critical points of entry for bad actors seeking to exploit your companies. You'll learn how to identify “adversarial capital” and protect your company from investors with malicious intent as well as how to stay alert and take proactive measures to secure trusted capital. 

Watch Panel 2: Powering Our Future: Our Greatest Challenge and Greatest Opportunity

Speakers

Jonathan Villasenor

US Army, Maneuver Chief, Maneuver, Aviation, Soldier, Lethality Robotics Division, FID, FCC, AFC

Doug French

DIU, Program Manager

Lee Robinson

DIU, Advanced Energy & Materials Portfolio 

Summary

Need Energy? Yep, that's what we thought. Hear from DIU's newest portfolio, Advanced Energy & Materials, which is dedicated to tackling the DoD's growing energy needs. Capital Factory invites you to learn how industry is integrating advancements in energy and materials technology into DoD installations and distributed operations. 

Watch Panel 3: National Security Innovation Capital: Get Hardware to Market Faster

Speakers 

Tex Schenkkan

NSIC, Director 

Abigail Desjardins

NSIN, Acceleration Portfolio Director

Rich Julien

Amazon Web Services, Public Startup and VC Leads

Summary

Next-gen hardware developers in high-growth industries are hustling to see who can get reliable products to market fast. But, unlike software, hardware has many moving parts that can make it tough to start and scale — especially when you’re also in a race for funding.

Software gets the attention but hardware is still key. Join NSIC, NSIN and AWS for a discussion on how hardware startups uniquely benefit from government funding. Don't miss out on understanding how non-dilutive capital can actually surpass the value of private investment when driving national security innovation.

Watch Panel 4: Artificial Intelligence: Innovation at the Speed of Trust

Speakers 

John Stockton

Quantifind, Co-founder

Carol Smith

Carnegie Mellon University, Senior Research Scientist

Bryce Goodman

Program Manager

Summary

Artificial intelligence pushes the limits of known possibility. Yet, AI creates unique challenges for public servants as much as philosophers. While countries like China push forward with AI in military applications, democracies like the U.S. are working to balance the game-changing capabilities that AI provides with public concerns about when, how, and why AI-enabled tools are used for the country’s defense.

U.S. leaders are taking these concerns seriously and working diligently to address them. Learn how DIU and others are helping apply the DoD's Ethical Principles for AI to accelerate the adoption of AI for national security while ensuring responsible, lawful use of this promising technology.

Watch Panel 5: Building a Capable and Trusted Drone Ecosystem for the US and Our Partners 

Speakers

Sean Anderson

DIU, Project Manager 

Joel Castillo

Office of Secretary of Defense (A&S), Unmanned Aircraft Systems/Robotic Autonomous Systems 

Andrew Musto

DIU, Deputy Director, Autonomy 

Jason Kirkpatrick

US Army Corps of Engineers, Program Manager 

Summary

We can promise you one thing: this session won't make you wonder for how long it'll drone on. Capital Factory invites you to learn how DIU facilitates the drone acquisition process. We'll dive into DIU's Blue UAS project, which established trusted small unmanned aerial systems (sUAS) for broader Department of Defense government partners. Don't miss out on this one!

Watch Panel 6: Scaling Success: Building The Future We Were Promised

Speakers

MG Tracy Norris

Texas National Guard, Adjutant General

Evan Loomis

ICON, Co-Founder

Brian Stevens

TMD CFMO, Director, Plans, Programs, and Innovation 

Alex Goldberg

DIU, DIU Southwest Region Engagement lead 

Summary

DIU's success goes hand-in-hand with startups' successes. By leveraging scaling opportunities from DIU, startups can gain massive payoffs and become the next big thing. Come hear from companies about how they leveraged DIU to go from early stage startup to Unicorn!