Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) Welcomes Michael Brown as its New Managing Director
September 24, 2018
Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) today welcomed Michael Brown as its new Managing Director. Brown’s leadership of DIU kicks off just weeks after Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan’s announcement of the redesignation of DIU (from DIUx to DIU), confirming the organization’s permanence and value to the Department on the cusp of the new fiscal year. DIU’s mandate is to accelerate the adoption of commercial innovation into DoD for national defense. DIU’s work with commercial leaders across the United States will continue to strengthen and enhance the national security innovation base (NSIB), identified by the 2018 National Defense Strategy as critical to our future security.

“There is no better person than Mike Brown to lead DIU into its next chapter. Mike’s extensive Silicon Valley career speaks for itself, as he has experience in both hardware from his time at Quantum, as well as software at Symantec. Mike’s notable academic contributions in both assessment of Chinese technological advances and CFIUS reform round out his unique background, and I am pleased that he chose to serve our nation as DIU director,” said Mike Griffin, Under Secretary of Defense for Research & Engineering 

“My background complements the strong team that has already accomplished great things in the last two years,” said Brown. “The organization is no longer a startup and is already speeding the adoption of leading commercial technology across the military. Given that the nation is in a technology race, growing and accessing the National Security Innovation Base is more important than ever before.” 

Initial goals for the new DIU leadership are two-fold: first, continue delivering advanced commercial technology to the military faster and cheaper than traditional acquisition methods; and second, focus on solving the most important national defense problems with technologies that yield transformational, strategic capabilities. 

Within each of the five portfolios, there will be at least one or two transformative projects that could make tremendous impact across the Department. Since launching its novel contracting process in 2016, DIU has awarded 81 prototype contracts injecting advanced capabilities and accelerating adoption of commercial methodologies within the Department across a variety of areas, including agile software development, artificial intelligence, and autonomy. To date, 13 of these projects have transitioned to our service members -- reducing costs, increasing efficiency, and improving force protection within the Department of Defense -- continuing DIU’s vital role of bringing new methodologies and operational concepts to the DoD. 

As the former Chairman/CEO of several technology companies of varying size and as a former White House Presidential Innovation Fellow, Brown brings experience inside the beltway, in Silicon Valley, and in Boston, making him ideally suited to lead and expand the diverse DIU team working across the country to tackle some of the DoD’s most critical problems.