event | 21 February 2020

DIU Panel Series at SXSW 2020

Event Header - SXSW2020

Join DIU at this year's South by Southwest Interactive conference! We will be leading a series of panels exploring the intersection between technology and national security.

  • Time 13-19 March 2020

  • Location Austin, TX

DIU presents the following panels for SXSW-goers to connect with the Department of Defense as a customer, and around their roles in the advancement of cyber security, disaster response and relief and more. Panels will run from Friday, March 13 to Thursday, March 19. Details on each panel and locations can be found below:

Unlocking The World's Biggest Tech Customer: DoD

March 13 | 3:30pm - 4:30pm [Hilton]

The United States Department of Defense (DoD) spends billions of dollars every year on technology - far more than any Fortune 500 company. But before the Defense Innovation Unit, there was no easy way to work with the DoD on commercial terms. DIU has built a smooth, seamless procurement experience, akin to the private sector, to lower the barriers to entry for companies with the best commercial tech in the world.  This initiative empowers small and innovative tech companies to bid on government contracts efficiently and effectively and provides broad access to a $100+ billion market. Hear directly from DIU and the companies that have successfully shipped product through this channel and learn how to unlock the world's biggest tech customer: DoD.


How Defense Innovation in Austin was Pioneered

March 14 | 12:30pm - 1:30pm [Capital Factory, 5th Floor]

Austin has become the epicenter of defense innovation, sprouting a multi-billion-dollar defense industry in a place not known for its military presence. In 2014, Bunker Labs launched in Austin to help military-connected entrepreneurs start and scale businesses. Since then, Department of Defense organizations like the Defense Innovation Unit, AFWERX, Army Futures Command, Texas Military Department, and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency have chosen Austin for keeping defense innovation weird. This panel will feature some of the pioneers who laid the groundwork as government employees for what we see today. Attendees will learn (1) the origin story of defense innovation in Austin, (2) what these organizations accomplish together, and (3) how to keep defense innovation weird.


Defense and Industry in the Cyber War

March 14 | 3:30pm - 4:30pm [Capital Factory, 5th Floor]

Every minute of every day the networks of commercial and defense sector are being attacked. We have terms like "persistent engagement" and "defend forward" and we need to discover what those mean in how we protect the intellectual property that is being stolen and the attempt to diminish our national security. We'll explore the partnerships being created between industry and government to defend the Nation.


Inside Next Generation Disaster Response

March 16 | 11:00am - 12:00pm [Capital Factory, 5th Floor]

The magnitude and complexity of disasters and crises have changed the humanitarian landscape. There is a critical need to be able to more quickly and effectively respond to disasters. There have also been recent breakthroughs in technology that can help, such as Artificial Intelligence and Unmanned Aerial Systems. The Department of Defense (DoD) considers Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) to be a critical mission and is finding new ways to respond to disasters as they strike. The DoD also supports local, state, and federal partners to save lives, alleviate suffering and maintain human dignity during and in the aftermath of conflict, disasters and other humanitarian crises, as well as to prevent and strengthen preparedness for the occurrence of such situations.


The National Security Side Hustle

March 16 | 2:00pm - 3:00pm [Capital Factory, 5th Floor]

During the day, they are executives at large and influential corporations. But at night (or on the weekends), they have an important side hustle with the responsibility for protecting all of us from threats to national security. They are some of the Department of Defense’s 800,000 reservists, available for active duty in the armed forces in time of war or national emergency. Their unique experience as corporate executives and military reservists give them a unique and valuable perspective into the intersection of business and national security. Attendees will gain an appreciation for (1) how corporate America and the military intersect and differ; (2) how reservists play a critical but little known role in national defense, and (3) some exciting war stories.


Defense Innovation Needs Entrepreneurs

March 16 | 3:30pm - 4:30pm [Capital Factory, 5th Floor]

The 2020 Department of Defense budget for purchasing national-security boosting technology and services is a whopping $247.3 billion. For most entrepreneurs, this insanely lucrative market appears completely out of reach. But it's not! The military desperately needs what entrepreneurs can offer, and it has opened up a variety of innovative new programs in recent years to work with them. Learn the secrets of how entrepreneurs can make money working with the government from a group that knows how it all comes together.


Unmanned Aerial Systems Revolution

March 18 | 12:30pm - 1:30pm [Capital Factory, 8th Floor]

The United States domestic commercial drone industry is in a vulnerable state, feeling outside pressure from both superior foreign technology as well as domestic market and regulatory pressures.  The result is that few viable small tactical drone options are available for our service members in defense of our national security. The answer is to enable a commercial drone ecosystem in a manner that does not impede business success. Learn about how the Department of Defense (DoD) is giving commercial unmanned aerial system (UAS) / drone companies an unprecedented opportunity to participate in national security by working with the DoD and working together on open standards to bring interoperability to the small UAS commercial market as part of a reference architecture.


Leadership in the Low Earth Orbit Economy

March 19 | 12:30pm - 1:30pm [Capital Factory, 8th Floor]

Commercial investment in space is breaking records annually. Recent industry reports reflect that over $5 billion has been invested in new space this year alone (through Q3). That’s the largest investment since this new sector started a decade ago. These are topics for which the State of Texas has traditionally been at the forefront, and for which the Department of Defense (DoD) has been writing new contracts. These commercial space projects are equally relevant for America’s return to the Moon and it’s sustained leadership in the new space economy. We will discuss how the DoD can leverage the rapidly innovating and expanding commercial technologies developed for Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites and operations to enhance national security.